Perks of Interning at a Boutique Firm

When beginning my tireless search for internships as a junior Public Relations Major at the University of Texas in Austin, I came across internships of all kinds. There are the unpaid internships, the paid internships, the internships at large firms, the internships at small businesses, and of course, the occasional Craigslist creeper who needs a “personal assistant."

As soon as I walked in to Red Fan Communications for my interview, I felt inspired, comfortable and welcomed. The business felt like a family, a team. As soon as I was out of my interview, I realized I was dying to be a part of this environment where I could actually contribute, learn, and make a difference while still enjoying myself.

After working at Red Fan for about four months, I can assure you that working at a small firm certainly has its perks. Here are a few that I’ve appreciated thus far:

#1 Distinct personality

When initially searching for my internship, I had a list of about three other companies that were looking for an intern as well. As soon as I visited all of their websites, I knew I wanted to apply to Red Fan. The sophisticated design, friendly faces and exciting mission statement really spoke to me. I felt like it was a place I belonged before I even went into the interview.

I have had friends who interned at large PR firms, and they were ignored and shoved into a corner. They did not feel welcome or a part of the company whatsoever. That couldn’t be farther from the case here. Now that I’ve been a part of the team for a few months, I feel like I have the freedom to be myself and be creative—and I’m involved in so many aspects of the agency’s work.

#2 Personal attention

Within the first day, I got to sit down, one on one, and review the work I had done. I was taught what I did well and what needed improvement. People here take the time to do that. I feel like a part of something. It feels like a tight-knit family because you get to know everyone on a personal level.

As far as meetings go, I love being included in them and listening to everyone’s input. They even ask me for mine, and I love that feeling of teamwork. In a larger firm, I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to be included in so much.

#3 Diverse experience

Red Fan has an array of clients from all different fields versus a specialized area of focus. We have clients ranging from cosmetics brands to high-tech and finance. I usually get to take the first shot at writing parts of a press release or media alerts. Some of what I have drafted is actually used, so its cool to see my work implemented.

This makes me feel like a bigger part of the company instead of someone who would be simply making copies—plus, I’m learning so much more than I would just doing coffee runs and filing press clippings.

Long story short, it’s not always about the “big name” of the place you intern at that matters. Internships are for learning and experiencing as much as possible I have already expanded my skill set and understanding of public relations and strategic branding in the short time I have been here, and I know its because of the level of involvement I was provided through this internship. Red Fan is a truly unique and fun place to intern at, and I know there are many other small firms that would welcome an eager intern with open arms as well!

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