August 18, 2015
That’s right, they even let the intern write a blog post! The following is partially a recap of my seven month internship at Aria and partially a thank you note to the company, as I really couldn’t write one without the other. Since I joined Aria in January 2015 as part of the Northeastern University co-op program, I’ve learned a lot, made good friends and (hopefully) set myself up to succeed in the ‘real world’ when I graduate in December. So, while I could have written a much longer list, the following summarizes the top five things I’ve learned during my internship tenure at Aria:
1. What PR Really Is
In terms of practical PR skills, I was severely lacking when I started at Aria in January (read: I had never worked in PR and my knowledge of the field was limited to a few classroom lessons). Over the past seven months, I’ve learned how to write proper press releases, develop compelling blog posts and draft informative, strategic executive summaries for clients. I’ve also had the opportunity to help coordinate event logistics, track and analyze company news, and I even got to directly interact with reporters on behalf of our clients.
2. Change Happens - Learn to Adapt
Working at a small company that is experiencing the kind of growth that Aria has seen has definitely been a bit of a wakeup call. I’ve had the opportunity to work on six different accounts, with several different supervisors and various levels of responsibility. Additionally, few things compare to the shock of your first round of feedback on a writing project. Writing may be easy, but writing professionally with the correct tone, message and focus, is far more difficult. Changing your voice and adapting your writing style to mirror your clients’ is the key to successful PR writing.
3. The Healthcare IT ABCs
Before I started at Aria, I had never spent much timing thinking about the healthcare IT industry and I definitely had not heard of most (if not any) of the clients Aria works with. I was exposed to an entirely new industry and I had to quickly pick up the language of health IT. Most notably, acronyms seem to be the major form of communication, including (but not limited to): HIE, ICD-10, ACA, CIO, ASC, HIT, RCM, ONC, HHS, AMA, etc. It took a while, but after a lot of research and questions, I actually know what most of these letters mean now!
4. How to Work on a Team
Something that really took me out of my comfort zone during my time at Aria was learning to function as a part of a team and, on occasion, how to “manage up” and keep my superiors on task. I’ve been able to work with a great group of people who allowed me to function autonomously while ensuring me that they would have my back, and the trust that resulted from that mentality allowed me to participate in some really cool projects that I don’t think most interns would be allowed to work on.
5. Enjoy Your Job
Finally, the most important thing I’ve learned at Aria is how important it is to enjoy coming to work. I’ve had internships and part-time jobs, but this was the first job where I felt like I was a part of a team and not an undertrained/underqualified intern. For giving me the opportunity to grow and develop as both a PR professional and as a person, I can’t thank the Aria family enough. From the account executives who trained me and worked every day to help me perform better, to the senior team who spent time teaching me about PR and healthcare, and made me feel welcome and valued, you’re the best, and I look forward to being in touch for many years to come.