Lessons Learned as an Intern

February 13, 2019
We have been lucky to have Derek Baker as our LCWA intern this winter. Here, Derek outlines some of the things he has learned from the experience. 

Over the last few months, I have had the opportunity to work as an intern at LCWA.  I learned valuable lessons regarding public relations and what it means to be part of a working environment. As a member of the LCWA team, I’ve worked with people who have different personalities, approaches, and skill sets that all contribute to the success of the firm. Over time, I have come to recognize how I fit into the culture and how to use this experience to best benefit my professional development as well as the success of the firm. 

Here are some tips:

Ask questions and know your clients. Questions are essential in developing your understanding of the business as well as demonstrating to your team that you can think critically. Ask supervisors for background on assignments. Knowing the context of a project can give you valuable insight and make you more efficient at your job. Additionally, understanding the client, their industry and the media landscape will give a better perspective of your team’s plan, which can improve the way you approach tasks in the future.

Being an enthusiastic employee is key to being a team player. This is easy when you receive fun projects that complement your natural skill set, but is more difficult when you enter unfamiliar territory that may not come as easily. Nonetheless, it is important to persevere and earnestly approach projects with an open mind. Understanding that you are part of a bigger picture is crucial, and demonstrating an eagerness to learn and lend a helping hand will label you as an asset to any team.

Value your work. When you are a small part of a big picture it can be difficult to see the importance in the small tasks that you are contributing. It might be easy to rush work along or not give 100 percent because you don’t see how your work contributes to the bottom line. It is important to remember that everything you do counts. From the smallest of tasks to the biggest of projects, your co-workers are depending on you to get the job done so they can do their jobs, as well.

Confidence is the most valuable lesson an internship will teach you. Entering a new work environment will no doubt offer challenging experiences. From simply answering the phone, to client requests on deadline, every task at the beginning of a work experience may seem daunting. There is the potential for failure and more horrifying…embarrassment. However, by the end of an internship, daily tasks become like second nature. Suddenly, the things you feared doing in the beginning become part of a norm and you approach them with a new outlook. You have the skills and knowledge to complete what is being asked of you and you will have identified your strengths and weaknesses as well as ways to leverage both. The confidence created as a result is invaluable. As you enter the workforce, you will have the confidence knowing that you have an expertise that will benefit you and any team that you join.