Internship  /  8.19.19  / 2-min read

5 Traits of a Successful Communications Intern

For many, completing an internship is the first rung to climb on the career ladder. But if you’re going to make the most of your internship, you should demonstrate drive, a willingness to learn, meeting preparedness, communication skills, and the ability to adapt.

Internships offer valuable skills and tools to take your qualifications to the next level and make you more appealing to potential employers. Since its inception, Calypso’s internship program has afforded more than 200 young professionals with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in an agency setting and practical knowledge in the communications industry.

Trust us when we say we’ve seen it all over the years: the good, the bad, and even the ugly. Through it all, we have learned that, without a doubt, the most successful career-climbers demonstrate these five characteristics.


First and foremost, the best interns take initiative. They demonstrate a level of resourcefulness and work without being told what to do. A person with initiative is motivated to act. Great interns ask questions, share opinions, are responsive, and seek out assignments.


Appetite for Learning


Another important intern characteristic is a desire to learn. Your main goal should be to get everything you possibly can from the stint—be excited about taking on new challenges and acquiring new knowledge. Get uncomfortable. Ask for advice. We’ve all been in your shoes at one point or another and are here to help!


Effective Note-taking


Don’t be the one who walks into a meeting without a pen and paper. Taking notes will help you recall information that would otherwise be lost.

Effective note-taking in an important transferable skill. There are several common note-taking methods, but whatever your style, be sure to review and reflect. This helps you identify opportunities to apply observations to the next project and proves your willingness to learn from others.

Better yet, you may even catch a crucial piece of information that can help expedite a project and avoid having to idle, ask questions, and wait for a response.


Solid Written Communication Skills


Good written communication skills are a must, particularly in the public relations and marketing arena. To write well means you check your spelling, use proper grammar, and avoid jargon when it’s not appropriate. Again, we cannot stress this enough: proofread everything—emails, presentations, memos, notes, and really any form of written work.


A strong attention to detail goes a long way in this trade.




Lastly, be flexible. You never know what is going to be thrown at you on any given day so it’s important you learn how to adapt. Understand how to prioritize your to-do list and complete urgent assignments in a timely fashion. Be ready to show a strong work ethic and prove you’re willing to go above and beyond by meeting more than the minimum asked.


Let’s face it. Employers are more likely to hire someone with internship experience rather than someone without industry practice.


Completing an internship is an amazing opportunity. In addition to gaining new and improved skills in your field of study, internship success means you’ll grow your communication skills, widen your professional network, gain applied knowledge of classroom theory, and learn how to take feedback.


Remember, you only have a short time to make a lasting impression, so get to work!

Angela Carter

Senior Vice President, COO

Angela is Calypso's senior VP and COO, and handles client billing and consults on PR projects. She’s an expert in corporate communications, talent recruitment, and non-profit relations.

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