Finding Your Fit: Benefits of Interning at Small vs. Large Firms
- Posted by Patricia Bacon
- On August 2, 2018
- career advice, career development, careers, careers in communications, college, communications, internship, media relations, PR, public relations, students, training
The search for the right PR internship can be daunting, tedious and stressful at times, especially when career advisers talk up the larger, well-known companies without opening the discussion to consider smaller firms. While students surely can appreciate the excitement of a well-known name, spots are limited. Confining oneself to strictly the larger businesses may be more detrimental than originally thought.
The bottom line, though, is that an internship is an internship, and it all depends on what you make of it. When looking for internships, consider the experiences and opportunities that may be available to you when working for a smaller agency, that are sometimes lost in larger agency settings. These can include:
- More one-on-one time. With fewer people in the office, you have a chance to foster closer and more meaningful relationships with the people you work with – your peers as well as your leaders. In a smaller work environment, it also is easier to get advice from your superiors, ask questions and learn from those in higher positions. You also have the chance to help more people with work and learn more through close interactions with your coworkers. For example, at Poston Communications, each intern is assigned to one team leader who serves as a mentor, teaching them the ropes of public relations and media relations at a hands-on level.
- Hands-on experience and independence. Working in a smaller environment allows interns to complete more hands-on and tailored work. This allows a stronger connection to day-to-day practices and a closer look at the operations of the firm, both internally and with clients. In addition, the bureaucratic nature of a larger firm sometimes can slow the process and make it harder to receive and complete significant assignments, while a smaller firm with fewer interns would allow for a variety of opportunities unencumbered by red tape.
- Personal growth. At larger companies, having more employees means more competition for career growth. A smaller firm has more room to grow, allowing employees to grow in tandem, catering their career path to accomplish personal and professional goals. Even as an intern, it is faster and easier to move up in a smaller company.
It is natural to immediately turn to the larger, well-known companies when internship hunting, but I encourage you to look past the sheer size and well-known name of a company and consider opportunities with smaller agencies and firms. The experience you can gain when working in a smaller setting is invaluable and well worth the extra research. Take a deep breath, do some searching and see what opportunities are available to you beyond the industry giants.
Patricia Bacon is a 2018 summer intern at Poston Communications, based in Orlando.