Do what you love and love what you do!

It’s your first day at your dream internship and besides drowning in a mixture of excitement and overwhelm, you can’t help but feel completely clueless. I know because just six weeks ago I felt the same concoction of fear, hope and confusion as I sat at my desk on the first day at Shank Public Relations Counselors.

The feeling does go away, I promise, however, your attitude for the duration of the semester is determined by your outlook. Don’t expect to gain respect and a fabulous recommendation if you aren’t willing to try hard and put in the necessary work. 

After a month at Shank Public Relations Counselors, I’ve learned that key to success is passion. If you want to make your internship the best and are having trouble developing a passion for your assignments, my suggestion is to treat it like your favorite hobby. If that means you’ll be comparing your internship to exercising, reading or even playing an instrument, then so be it! After all, you should enjoy your work!

With any hobby, and also in your internship, make sure you apply these three habits to reach your fullest potential:

  •  Practice, practice, practice: As with anything, if you want to further develop your skills, practice is the best solution. In an internship, you’ll be introduced to a ton of different projects and be asked to use programs that you may have never even heard of.  Don’t fear.  Stay calm and Google. Utilize your resources to learn that new skill or program, and then continue to experiment until you’ve mastered it. Malcolm Gladwell, author of the “Outliers,” professes that in order to be an expert at anything you must repeat it 10,000 times in your lifetime so it’s best to get started now!
  •  Network: You never hesitate to chat up people who share your other passions, so why not connect with those in your field of study?! Don’t be afraid to approach peers who are doing internships similar to yours and ask them about what they’ve got going on. You may even learn something you never knew before and could incorporate into your own internship.
  •  Keep it fresh: When you first develop a hobby, you start at a beginner’s level then move up to moderate and soon you’re on expert! As you become more skilled, you try new things to challenge yourself within your hobby. The same applies to your internship. Always try new things and ask for new projects.

So, it may take more work than riding a bike, but as long as you keep a positive attitude and open mind, your internship will be just as fun.


Your Future in Journalism

Last month David and Marilyn made a visit to IUPUI to lead a panel discussion focusing on the future of journalism and public relations.  As a student approaching graduation, I’m extremely disappointed that I couldn’t attend, because like many, I get shaky and anxious just thinking about the job hunt. I think I speak for most when I say I know what my dream job is, I just need to know how to get there.

IUPUI students felt the same way as the most popular topic of the night was the journalism job track.  David and Marilyn addressed all the questions that soon-to-be-graduates are dying to know from “what should I include on a resume?” to “how can I stand out in an interview?”

For those of you who find yourself wishing on stars for a tell-all guide to the future, don’t fret. While I don’t have all the answers, David did share with me what he says to be the biggest key to success when applying for jobs: BE ADAPTABLE.

Remember that you can accomplish your dreams, but don’t hesitate to work toward those dreams by starting out in an entry-level position in your hometown.  Graduates need to mold themselves to fit the job before they can select a job that fits them. Besides, the best part of reaching your destination is the journey that got you there, right?

If you still find yourself hoping for another chance to hear Shank Public Relations Counselors share some knowledge, there is a solution.  Marilyn will be speaking to two classes at the University of Indianapolis this Friday, September 21, on the topic of what it’s like to own and manage a public relations firm.

Also, below are some helpful links for those PR and journalism students who are preparing for the next few months of applications and job hunting and want a little assistance. Good luck!

What Makes a Good PR Person:


Journalism Jobs:

Job Bank:


Build a relationship in a tube

It was a classic small town groundbreaking of a major new development for our client. The Mayor was there with two or three town council members, the Chamber president and his entourage of five or six people. The client’s associates were exuberant in their excitement for the new project.

The ground was soggy but not really muddy, the sun was out but it was still early-Spring chilly, and the 8’x8’ pop-up tent, furnished by the local rental center, stayed up.

The economic development guy welcomed the new project, the Mayor talked about the new jobs, the client representative talked about the company. The newspaper reporter and the radio reporter were reporting.

It was a great event.


The newspaper reporter came over to me and said (and I hate it when they open with this), “I have a bone to pick with you.”  Uh oh, here we go, I thought.  The news story had been misleading, something was misspelled, the information was outdated, I had the wrong street name, the not-for-profit organization name was wrong.  Whatever the problem, I was dreading to hear it.

“I can’t find tomato sauce in a tube in your store!  They used to have it. The store down the road doesn’t have it, either,” said the reporter.

“Have you asked the manager?  They are usually pretty good about customer requests,” I advised.  She hadn’t. I half-promised to look for tomato sauce in a tube to send her way. She walked away unconvinced.

Fast forward three months.  We found a store that carried tomato sauce in a tube.  In a light-hearted manner, I sent the tomato sauce in a tube to the reporter: “I bet you thought I’d forget about getting you the tomato sauce in a tube,” I said.  “I always keep my promises to reporters,” I concluded.

A week later I received a sincere hand written thank you note from the reporter.

Fast forward a year, to now.  Our company vice president is working with the same reporter for a different client. The reporter finishes an email with “Thank David for the tomato sauce in a tube.”

I made a friend…a relationship with a reporter.  A relationship not built on Twitter, or Facebook, or Pinterest but a relationship built on converting a little “bone to pick” into a low-cost action step and sensitivity to hearing what the reporter was asking.

There is a certain element of real human interaction, of listening and hearing real words and feelings coming from real people that leads to real relationships. And real relationships are what the public relations business is all about.