Over at the PRSSA blog they summarized the newly released PRSA Internship Guidelines. I can't wait to read through the complete report. (How dorky is that?)
Based on the summary PRSSA provided, it looks like really good stuff. From my own personal experience, I think these are some of the most important things to get from an internship. We'll see if my thoughts line up with the PRSA report.
1. Build a mentoring relationship. You should leave an internship with at least one relationship that will continue to foster your professional development after the internship is over. This means you have someone you can call for advice as well as a reference.
2. Do real work. I hear what I consider horror stories about interns doing noting but fetching coffee and filing. An internship is certainly going to be a time to pay some dues, but you should be doing professional-level work as well. Yes, you'll run errands and wash some dishes, but you'll also participate in planning meetings and write stories for the annual report.
3. Be treated like a professional to learn how to be a professional. When you are held to professional standards, you learn to meet those standards. So even though you probably are the lowest paid employee in the office, you should be treated like everyone else. This can mean you get some pretty critical feedback. You'll prove you're a professional, if you learn from it.