How to be a Leading Intern: 9 Skills to Practice Today

Internships are often the gateway to junior positions in an organization. They allow both interns and employers an opportunity to determine if they are a culture and work style fit for one another before both commit to fully investing in their long-term relationship.

At Pierpont, we’ve had the opportunity to work with many great interns over the years and hire some of the best in our profession. While many entry-level candidates may begin with little professional experience on their resumes, it’s their work ethic and employee characteristics that often differentiate them from other interns and junior employees.

In addition to developing professional skills with experience, there are several actions interns can take right away that showcase their ability to perform at a high level and be a leading intern. Making the effort to think through these actions will not only be great for your personal professional development, they will give you the opportunity to leave a positive impression on your coworkers and employer.

Be on time.

Show your appreciation for whatever opportunity you’re given by being where you need to be before you need to be there. It shows your dedication and respect for the opportunity, your employer and coworkers.

Have a good work ethic.

Show your passion in what you do and give your best effort at each assignment, no matter how small you perceive it to be. Every piece of each project comes together to create something amazing at the end.

Go the extra mile.

Make anything you work on the best it can be and always client-ready. Check everything over twice to ensure no minor mistakes are peppered throughout the materials you submit to supervisors, so they can focus more on the content you have prepared.

Have a positive attitude.

Be someone who’s approachable and enjoyable to be around. Fitting in with the culture of a company, interacting with your coworkers and showing an interest in learning about who you work with are important aspects of succeeding in a new workplace.

Always be prepared.

Be ready to take notes, make calls or edit documents whenever called upon. It may be your one chance to work with someone you don’t often work with, so you’ll want to be prepared to seize the opportunity and make a great first impression.

Never give up.

A supervisor may return a press release covered in tracked changes or your proposed pitch may not be accepted immediately, but it’s important to note the changes and ways to improve in order to implement that feedback in the future.

Be a team player.

If you don’t care who gets credit, you will succeed. It’s important to stand up for yourself and garner credit where due, but it is just as important to be able to work with others, incorporate many concepts together and allow other ideas to flourish as well.

Give 110 percent, but find time to recharge.

To stay at your best means finding time to rest. Burnout can hinder your ability to think, lead and perform well. Don’t stress yourself out trying to work so hard that it is detrimental to your performance in the end.

Don’t be afraid of change.

Fearing change will hamper your ability to be better tomorrow than you were today. If it isn’t broken, you can still try to fix it. There will always be room for improvement. Being able to adapt and innovate, especially as each person and company does things differently, will help you stay ahead of the competition.

You should constantly be working to develop leadership and professional skills by exercising them in everyday situations. Emulating successful leaders and not forgetting the simple gestures can go a long way in becoming an effective leader and outstanding intern over time.

If you’re interested in interning at Pierpont Communications in Austin, Dallas or Houston this upcoming semester, submit your resume by August 1, 2018. Learn more about our internship program and how to apply online here.

Lauren Williams started at Pierpont as an intern before joining the team as an Assistant Account Executive. She supports clients in the healthcare, consumer and energy sectors.