Expectations vs. Reality: What an Internship in PR is Really Like

From the beginning, I knew my internship with Curator was far from what I expected. I didn’t spend my days running errands around the streets of Seattle or brewing endless pots of coffee. Spending my summer with Curator made waking up at 7 a.m. well worth my time. I was more than an intern, I was part of a creative and collaborative team.

As I say goodbye to Curator, I want to break down my initial expectations for my first PR internship and compare them to what I actually experienced. Hopefully, it'll encourage you to intern for a PR agency and, if you happen to live in the Seattle area, intern for Curator. I promise you'll gain a wealth of knowledge you may not get elsewhere!

Expectation: I'll be spending each day doing the same “busy-work.”

Reality: While I did spend time every day on simple tasks like tracking media coverage, I spent the bulk of my days tackling new projects and tasks that directly impacted and benefited our clients. The PR industry is ever-changing and that was reflected in my internship because no two days were the same. I had to be ready to embrace constant change and willing to take on high-level projects I had no prior experience doing. As a result, I was able to do so much more and touch numerous client accounts. I wrote press releases and media alerts, researched influencers, crafted social media recommendations and created editorial calendars--and I'm only scratching the surface here. I could list many more projects.

Expectation: My co-workers will be too busy to give feedback or answer my questions.

Reality: Just because you're an intern, doesn't mean you aren't important to the team or have a voice in the room. The office is incredibly collaborative. Everyone is constantly communicating and working with one another to get deliverables out the door, while investing time in each other's career growth--including mine. With every project or task I was given, I was able to openly ask questions and my co-workers happily answered. With every project I completed, I was given feedback and constructive criticism, which helped me better understand my weaknesses and how to turn them into strengths.

Keep in mind, the PR industry is extremely detail-oriented, so having a group of individuals willing to share recommendations and feedback on work is incredibly important and the best way to improve your skills. 

Expectation: I will be spending the entire day writing press releases.

Reality: While the PR industry is writing-heavy, I wasn't solely writing media materials. Now, don't get me wrong. I wrote my fair share of press releases and media alerts, but I spent the majority of my time completing other writing assignments. From crafting calendar listings to editorial calendars, I touched so many different projects, which taught me how to write professionally, craft creative content and change my voice to best reflect the client I'm writing for and better connect with the intended audience.

I’m so incredibly grateful to have spent my first internship with Curator. I've never been surrounded by a harder working group of individuals. At the end of the day, I'm glad this internship didn't meet my expectations because I wouldn't have gained the knowledge, experience or skills I'm now taking back with me to San Diego. I'm happy that I'm able to walk away with more real-world PR experience than I could have ever imagined. Thank you, Curator!

New Season, New Intern: Meet Tracy Monk

Hello, everyone! My name is Tracy Monk and I am joining the Curator team as an intern this summer. I will be starting my junior year at San Diego State University this fall, and am majoring in business with an emphasis in marketing. I'm extremely excited for the opportunity to work alongside the creative and unique members of the Curator team. I’m looking forward to being able to combine my real-world experience with the concepts I’ve learned in my college classes.

Although I spend most of my year in San Diego, I am a Seattleite at heart. I still live in my childhood home in Bellevue and love the Pacific Northwest, but I like to pretend that, after my two years in San Diego I’m quickly becoming a Southern California girl. I complain when it rains, I only drink my coffee iced and if it drops one degree below 65, you will find me wearing my warmest jacket.

When I’m not out pursuing my career dreams, you’ll probably find me exploring new cities with a coffee in one hand and a camera in the other, soaking up all the San Diego sun at the beach or eating at a trendy new brunch spot! When I’m back home and the Seattle weather doesn’t permit outdoor activities (which, as you know, is often), you’ll find me curled up on the couch watching a movie from my extensive collection of DVD’s. On the rare occasion that I’m feeling athletic, you might just find me on a mountain taking in the beautiful scenery that Washington has to offer.

Meet Our New Intern, Katrina Clements!

Hello! My name is Katrina Clements and I’m Curator’s newest intern. I am a senior at the University of Washington, double majoring in Communications and Sociology. I am so excited to join the Curator team and gain real-world industry and agency experience! I‘ve done a variety of work in the past, mainly event planning, which included designing weddings and developing CBS radio events. While interning at Curator will be different than what I’ve done in the past, I am eager and enthusiastic to try my talents out in the field of public relations.

Through my work in sociology I have become very passionate about human rights, injustice, diversity and equality. I hope to be able to use my interests and knowledge in these areas while interning here at Curator. I am also extremely passionate about puppies! If you have a dog or any adorable pet you’re dying to show someone a photo of, I’m your girl.

I also love getting outdoors. This past winter, I went skiing, and during the summer I often hike and swim. On days I’m forced to stay inside, I enjoy puzzling. I recently finished my first 1000-piece puzzle! I also love to travel. Last winter, I studied abroad in Rome, Vienna, Budapest and Prague. If you have the travel bug as well, talk to me! I love sharing about the places I’ve been and what’s on my list to visit, as well as hearing about your travel experiences. 

5 Things I've Learned at Curator

My time here has come to an end and this experience has taught me so much more than any class could ever teach me. Here are five things I've learned during my time interning at Curator:

1. What I want

After being here for three months, I've gained a better understanding of what PR work entails and what it's like to work at a small agency. Curator has an open and collaborative culture, which has made me realize that work environment is an important factor to consider when searching for potential jobs.

2. Become a time master

While working on multiple tasks and clients, you learn to manage your time well and prioritize work. Interning during one of the busiest times of the year for Curator also taught me that going with the flow is a must. If you're someone like me who likes to list their to-dos and check things off in an orderly fashion, be sure to remain flexible -- you never know when other, more high-priority tasks will come up and need to be completed first.

3. Just do it

SAY YES TO EVERYTHING. At Curator, you won't have to do coffee runs, although sometimes you'll be asked to go to the post office and run into Marshawn Lynch on the way (true story). There were multiple times I took on assignments and had no idea where to begin, but the team was always so helpful in making sure I had the right resources in order to succeed. My willingness to accept new tasks led to more responsibility, which resulted in greater knowledge learned!

4. Teamwork makes the dream work

Right away, Curator makes you feel appreciated and part of the team. Some tasks may seem tedious, but it's all a team effort. The more assignments I was able to pick up from one person, the more they could pick up from the next and so on and so forth. There were never times where I felt like my work didn't matter, as everyone always made sure to say, "I appreciate you" or "I appreciate your work."

5. Track your projects

This was a personal preference, but throughout my time, I kept track of what projects and tasks I contributed to. This was beneficial because I learned about my skills and accomplishments and it helped me realize what I was good at, as well as what I could work on in the future. Plus, it's nice to know you contributed to a project when you see your work show up in an article, blog post or broadcast segment!

Overall, I've had such a blast interning this fall. Thanks so much, Curator, for allowing me to learn and gain such valuable internship experience!

Your fall intern,

Kia Vang



What to Expect as a PR Intern at Curator (From a Departing Intern)

When I started at Curator I was 19 years old, coming out of my sophomore year of college, excited and very nervous to tackle my first internship. It honestly feels like yesterday, but now I’m starting my senior year of college and my days of being an intern are coming to an end.

As I look back on my experience, I can definitely say I’ve learned a lot. I’ve been asked about this internship program more times than I can count and I'm always happy to share my experiences. If you are thinking about applying for an internship with Curator, or are scheduled to be their next superstar intern, here’s what you can expect:

You will be a part of the team:

We’ve all seen the movies where interns are basically glorified personal assistants--getting the morning coffee, cleaning the office, scanning papers. This internship is nothing like that. Interns are valued members of the team, given real projects and deliverables. This doesn’t mean you get huge projects right away but once you dive into the smaller tasks and projects, there will be opportunities for bigger responsibilities. 

You won't have to worry about this (yay)!

You won't have to worry about this (yay)!

You will be surrounded by very talented & hardworking people:

These people know what they’re talking about. They are experienced, they work hard, AND they are great company. Each Curator has a diverse background with years of experience, so soak in as much knowledge and advice from them as you can. Ask questions, listen, take notes, and ask for feedback. 

You will learn more than any class will teach you:

A class will never provide you with the knowledge or skills that an internship will. I don’t think schools put enough emphasis on having internships before graduation, but they are so important to building your career. You'll get an inside look into the industry and build a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, which will help when applying for jobs. I couldn’t imagine graduating college without this experience--it’s a scary thought.

You will have fun: 

My experience here has taught me so much, and I wouldn’t change one second of it. If you are the new intern at Curator, know that you are about to start a great internship with some outstanding people.  

Big thank you to the whole Curator team; it’s been a pleasure! –Audrey 

How to Use Your Internship to Develop Your Skills as a Young Professional

I’m not going to lie, being an unpaid intern can be tough, but it’s also the most rewarding part of an education in public relations. It can be difficult on the days where your boss points out a mistake that you’ve made or when you don’t do as great as you had hoped. With that being said, I’ve compiled a list of ways to improve as an intern and maintain confidence on the days where you feel like the worst.  


Mistakes will happen. Own up and learn.

Remember, you’re an intern – your coworkers know you’re new at this. You’re not going to be perfect and you will certainly make mistakes. If there’s any one thing I’ve learned from my internship, being detail-oriented is everything, which means there’s also a lot of room for error. When your boss points out a mistake, don’t respond with an excuse. Instead, apologize, fix them and work to ensure that they won’t happen again. Your boss would much rather you take your time to avoid mistakes than turn in sloppy work. Not to mention, when you catch those mistakes early, you’re less likely to do them again and you won’t feel like you’re struggling down the road.


Ask for criticism.  

Don’t feel like your boss is giving you enough feedback? Ask for some! You should want feedback on all projects during your internship. Constructive criticism helps you grow and better develop the skills needed to excel in your career and, occasionally, life in general. Part of being a good intern is taking initiative and that means knowing what you need to improve on. There is always room for improvement, so figure out where that is. If you want to be the best you can be in your position, then you should constantly be searching for ways to boost your skills.


Take pride in your work.

When your boss tells you that you did a good job, be proud of yourself – even if it’s something small. Just as you should be aware of your weaknesses, you should acknowledge what you do well. Use positive feedback as an opportunity to figure out your strengths and own them!


Treat every project the same.

Every project you touch is a reflection of your work, so do the best you can on everything sent your way. Whether it’s your favorite thing to do or your least favorite, it’s always important. Your team depends upon you and the work you deliver. The media lists I’ve developed during my internship directly affect the team members using those lists to pitch. Everything you do in PR is a piece of a larger puzzle and a puzzle isn’t complete without the missing piece. Don’t let your work be the missing piece.


When all else fails…

I’ll admit it, there will probably be a day where you make a monstrous mistake or, perhaps, a string of mistakes you wouldn’t normally make. Instead of getting down, take a deep breath, drink some coffee and remind yourself of what you’re capable of doing. There’s always another project for you to turn your day around, so focus your mind on delivering great work on a fresh task at hand. Remember, learning through your mistakes is why you’re here.

#ProTips for a Meaningful Internship

Image courtesy of Lauren Mancke, Unsplash

Image courtesy of Lauren Mancke, Unsplash

The last three months have whizzed by and it’s unbelievable that my time at Curator is coming to an end. During my stint as a PR intern, I’ve had the privilege of learning from these great professionals and I hope to emulate their work as I graduate from Seattle University and continue on in my career.

I learned a ton at Curator and, not only did I develop some great PR skills, I also gained confidence in my work and learned a lot about what life after college will look like. With that said, I want to share my top five #ProTips for future interns. These are all skills I'll be taking with me on my professional journey. 


Master #KeyboardShortcuts

Learning and using keyboard shortcuts will increase your productivity exponentially. Memorize these shortcuts for Mac users and PC users to make all your copying, pasting and multitasking needs a breeze.

Find the Right Organization and #TimeManagement Practices For You

As an intern you’ll most likely have a lot on your plate between juggling school, work and extracurricular activities. Therefore, it's essential to find what organization tactics work for you. Personally, I need to write everything down by hand because it helps me remember better. Plus, it always feels so good to cross items off of my to do list. However, everyone is different and it’s important to find what tricks work best for you. Check out these ten time management tips from Entrepreneur that will help maximize your productivity.

#TopKnotch Work. Always. 

It’s never enough to just double check your work. Always go through everything you've completed with a fine-tooth comb before you hit the send button. If time allows, once I think I'm finished with a project, I go on to another project before sending it. After some time away, I can always spot mistakes and edits since my brain took a break from it.

Be #Informed

Pay attention to the news and stay informed on a variety of topics like current events, hard news and pop-culture. Not only will you have some great water cooler topics to discuss, you will be a more well-rounded human. I get my news from Twitter and use their handy dandy lists function to easily navigate between Seattle, Portland, national and global news, as well as industry, celebrity and sports news. 

Keep in mind the #BiggerPicture

I believe it’s crucial to remember the bigger picture in just about any aspect of life. In regards to public relations, it’s important to keep your clients in mind and do everything you can to boost and support them, remembering that smaller tasks truly do add up to the bigger picture. In terms of life and motivation, every thought, word and action adds up and can make a big difference.




Curator Newsfeed: February 5, 2016

Super Bowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day are just around the corner and we’re digging up some stories to get excited about. Whether you’re looking for game-day snack ideas or a romantic date with your sweetheart, we’ve got you covered. Oh, and did I mention we've gotten a look at this year’s Super Bowl commercials?

Super Bowl Ads:

A Sneak Peak At This Year’s Super Bowl Ads, NBC

Super Bowl Ad Tracker: Everything We Know About 2016's Commercials, AdWeek

Super Bowl Ads Already Generating Buzz, NPR

Watch out for Scott Batishill on Q13 Fox Monday morning, where he will discuss this year’s ads.

Client Coverage:

Chambers Bay Whole Foods donates $8,000 to Emergency Food Network, Tacoma Weekly

Best Big Game Snacks With The Best Ingredients (Presented by Whole Foods Market), Fresh Jess

Retail Roundup: Poke At Mainplace, Aussie Bean Coffee In Orange, Fancy Ice Cream At Union Market, New Stores At Outlets, Shops At Mission Viejo, Orange County Register

Rich, Cakey Paleo Beet Brownies, Create/Enjoy

Surprise Your Special Someone In SLU, Discover South Lake Union

Paint The Town Red With High-End February Looks For Less, KRON4

Your Plant-Based Grocery Guide, Obsessed By Portia

Seasonal Produce: Winter, All Things Potato, Running With Tongs

How My Internship Was Much More Than “Just Getting Coffee”

How My Internship Was Much More Than “Just Getting Coffee”

When I arrived in the office on the first day of my internship with Curator, I was ready to embrace the industry I was passionate about, but I also felt nervous. About to begin my junior year at the University of Washington, I had reached the point in my collegiate career where things tend to get a bit more “serious.”