From Intern to Coordinator
A few weeks ago, the unthinkable happened: A just-turned-23 year-old journalism graduate got hired into a full-time job. I know: it’s madness.
When you’re fresh out of your undergrad program, everyone tells you that your world is going to feel like a blank canvas. An oyster. What they forget to mention is that most jobs need a minimum of five years’ experience, several degrees, and a superpower that eradicates all need to sleep. So, more accurately, a big, jobless oyster, inundated with cover letters.
Coming into an agency as someone who didn’t get an education in public relations, I was prepared for the worst. TV shows, dramatized articles, and an extreme case of broken telephone left me with this misconception that PR was filled with sharp-elbowed, self-encompassed people, which turned out to be the farthest thing from the truth. Since beginning at Veritas, my image of what PR is as a whole has been drastically altered—no word of a lie. It’s much more inclusive than I initially thought, and it stretches beyond traditional job descriptions. Whether you’re monitoring, developing campaigns, managing events or tracking down a monkey (yes, that happened), it’s all covered.
When I first came in for my interview at Veritas, I remember sitting in a room with about 14 people, most of whom were being interviewed for the same position as me. It should have been intimidating. It should have felt more stressful. Instead, it felt natural, in a weird kind of way. The team didn’t talk down or act above us—they just talked. They made it explicitly clear that there wasn’t room for hostility, and while you’d expect companies to boost their image in that kind of environment, they really meant it.
Not that there haven’t been frustrations along the way. Have I cried late at night when my computer froze and didn’t save my work? Sure. More than once? Very possible.
The biggest change for me coming into an agency was seeing how quickly your work can come to life. Between ideas for Tweets, wording in a presentation, or suggested items to include in media packages, it all becomes realized and is valued. I expected to be ignored and told to get coffee (thank you, Netflix, for my jaded views), but along with the five other interns who got brought on as Account Coordinators, I think they would agree when I say there is an undeniable feeling of excitement and relief when you officially join the team.
Hearing my story, I’m hoping that the next phase of new grads or interns looking into PR as a career path takes my experiences into consideration. PR should be accepted for the multi-faceted field it is: a digitally and emotionally connected, never-ending learning curve.
Veronica Sheppard is an Account Coordinator at Veritas Communications. Reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.