Every semester The PRIME Factory hosts two to four interns in roles of public relations, social media, digital marketing and account management. Eager and competitive students apply each semester and one guaranteed question we receive from candidates is what we look for in interns. So, two of our partners are sharing their thoughts on what makes an intern successful at The PRIME Factory.

When applying for an internship at The PRIME Factory we really look for people who adhere to best practices when applying for jobs. This includes making your cover letter the body of the email and attaching a resume and applicable portfolio items. “When I receive a student’s resume I immediately look at it to see the creativity in it,” said Justin Ashwell, Managing Partner. “We are in a creative industry, so I don’t like to see black and white Microsoft Word template resumes—I want to see color and clever typography and a personal brand.”

Although we aren’t necessarily looking for prior internship experience, we do look for in-class portfolio items that can show us your ability to think creatively and strategically; whether this is press releases, pitches, promotional plans or mock-up advertisements. For candidates that don’t have prior internship experience, having on-campus extracurricular activities that are directly related to your career goals boost you above the competition. Participation in professional organizations with student chapters such as the Public Relations Student Society of America and the American Marketing Association are examples of what we look for. Typically, sorority/fraternity involvement is not enough experience for one of our internships, nor is involvement in other social clubs.

Once our new interns have arrived at the office for the semester our expectation for their skills development, work ethic and learning are pretty standard. “I always tell our new interns that being successful in this industry really requires three things: common sense, intuition, and drive. Ninety percent of what we do is common sense, intuition helps with decision-making with critical thinking, and a successful intern has to be willing to try their hardest, produce work with on-time delivery, and work as if they’re fighting for a position here after their internship—that’s where drive comes in,” Justin Ashwell said.

Stephanie Smith, another agency partner, agrees drive is essential, as well as being a team player to being a successful intern at The PRIME Factory. “A good intern is someone who genuinely wants to be a part of the business. There is no perfect job for anyone, at any stage of their career. We all do things we don’t enjoy or that we aren’t the greatest at because we see how it all fits together in a bigger way. The best interns share that point of view and show up ready to work, with proactive attitudes, and go the extra mile.”

As a leading public relations and digital marketing agency, our work requires expert verbal and written communication skills. Our interns need to have solid communication skills which includes the confidence to work independently without the need for much guidance. Interns must also have knowledge about industry leaders, know relevant media outlets for our clients, and understand the fundamentals of public relations, digital marketing. Interns who understand the integration of the two will be able to build upon those skills, develop new ones, and make them ready for their first post-undergraduate job.

Professionally, we expect our interns to treat this as if it were regular employment. We rarely ask interns to work outside of the office when they’re not scheduled, unless they are unable to complete their work in the office, in accordance with deadlines. We also expect interns to be punctual and in the office as requested. At The PRIME Factory, we have several means of communication and project management and expect and encourage interns to learn the platforms and use them as needed, just like our employees and partners.

We realize that many students do internships to fulfill a curriculum requirement, but those are not the best interns for our work environment. However, we also realize that internships are valuable and necessary ways to gain relevant experience. A career-minded person moves up the ladder through hard work and taking extra initiatives when it comes to volunteering to do extra work outside of your scope.