Welcome to part two of the Linhart Public Relations internship blog series, focusing on tips for learning and tackling new skills – a key to growing and succeeding, both as an intern and a communications professional. (Check out part one, “A Day in the Life: Success Tips & Expectations for Linhart PR’s Internship Program,” which offers perspectives about what it takes to succeed as an intern and the types of projects and tasks assigned on a day-to-day basis.)
Interns often encounter many ‘firsts.’ Whether it’s the uncertainty of experiencing a first day in a new environment or the first time learning a new and difficult task. The string of ‘firsts’ can be overwhelming for any intern. Based on my experience as a Linhart PR intern, here are three ways to combat the flood of information when learning and applying a new skill.
No one expects perfection
You are here to learn. No one expects you to be perfect. The internship is created to help entry-level candidates learn new skills, while supporting teams and clients in meaningful ways. Co-workers and supervisors are there to offer guidance on how things should be done and why, and what techniques and strategies work best in certain situations. When mastering a new skill, take plenty of notes, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. In the end, it’s always better to have asked questions and applied the answers than to turn in a piece of work that was not completed in the correct way.
When co-workers offer their assistance, take it! Not only is taking a co-workers’ help beneficial in improving the quality of work, but it also fosters professional relationships and two-way conversations. Many Linhart PR employees started as interns and appreciate the people that helped them. It’s a way to mentor and pay it forward to future interns.
Speak up and step up
Lastly, don’t be shy! Speak up about the skills you want to build and learn, and share relevant information or ideas about specific client situations or industries. This shows interest and initiative. In addition, volunteer to take on new projects that can help you grow and can help the team. Being proactive about your own learning will be a driving force in your success as you move through the program.
After all, the Linhart PR internship program is a mutually beneficial relationship. As interns learn new skills, the firm gains fresh perspectives and important support for both team members and clients (and potentially a future employee). And, as an intern, the opportunities to learn new things, contribute in significant ways, and build a PR portfolio are endless.