PR Account Executive and Internship Supervisor
Great question! I’ve worked for a public relations agency for more than 2.5 years so I can provide some insight into what we do on a daily basis, and some of the major differences from an in-house team. Ultimately I think it depends on personal preference which one you want to pursue. Here are a few key differences:
You balance a lot of different clients, that may be in completely different industries. At my agency, our clients vary significantly in size, industry, and needs.
- Pros: This keeps it interesting, and you learn a little bit about a lot of different things. You’re exposed to companies and organizations that you may not look into otherwise. It’s also fun to switch voices depending on which client you’re serving. At an in-house agency, it’s going to be similar efforts and materials since you’re working for the same company.
- Cons: It’s challenging to balance many different accounts that all need different things, and it can get hard to keep track at times. Some clients demand more attention than others. You may not be totally interested in the subject matter surrounding one of your clients, but you still need to give it your all. If you work in-house and love the product/company, it’s going to be easy to keep it interesting.
An agency is always on the lookout for new clients to expand business.
- Pros: You can get sales experience by attending pitch meetings. You gain public speaking and presentation skills by presenting to potential new clients and communicating your value to them. You wouldn’t necessarily experience this as much at an in-house agency.
- Cons: It can be stressful, especially if you’re not interested in / inclined towards sales. Always needing to go out and build your client base can be challenging, and sometimes the number of clients the company has will fluctuate. You’ll be needing new business some months, and others you’ll be overwhelmed, depending on number of clients and how much they need.
My advice: Since you’re still in school, try to get 2 internships: one with an agency, and one with an in-house team. This is challenging, I know, but you’ll have both types of experience under your belt. If you had to choose just 1 internship, I’d recommend looking for a full-service agency because you’d be exposed to more clients, varied work, and different aspects of the communications industry. If there is a company you really love and dream of working for, get as much PR experience as you can and see if you can become a part of their in-house team! If you have any follow-up questions please let me know, I’d love to help.
Best of luck to you in this journey!
Last updated Nov 07 '17 at 21:01
This professional recommends the following next steps:
Look for an internship with an agency
Look for an internship with an in-house PR team
Think of your dream company / industry that you'd want to do PR for
Continue to reach out with any questions you have