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This is the final post of #PRIBS 2011, our intern blog series aimed at helping young professionals land and make the most of their PR agency internships. We appreciate you tuning in over the past few months and thank you for all of your feedback, comments, tweets, updates and posts!

Welcome the Wild West.

That’s right folks, we live in a time where normalcy is defined as a constant state of flux. Look around – uncertainty and change are commonplace, especially for rapidly evolving communications industries like PR and marketing.

This Wild West isn’t just about uncertainty either. It’s about new players. Baby Boomers, the largest generation of workers in the US, have powered the economy for the better part of recent history. But many are hitting their sixties and approaching retirement, meaning they can no longer carry the full load. Moreso than ever, society needs exceptional leaders from the young, up and coming millennial generation to make their mark.

Fortunately, this new movement has already started. Look no further than the leaders of some of today’s hottest and most disruptive companies. Mashable founder Pete Cashmore is 26. Foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai is 29. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is 27.

Sure, Zucks and company might be extreme examples, but they represent a change in what we’ve come to accept as leadership in the modern age. A CEO or startup entrepreneur in his or her twenties is no longer a stretch in today’s workplace. In fact, as the world continues to digitize itself on a mass, mainstream-scale, the generation that grew up as the world’s first digital natives is finding itself as the perfect steward of change.

The opportunity is here. All the young guns need to do is step up and take the reins.

So to wrap up this year’s PR Intern Blog Series, I want to share with you four tips on how you, the millennial, can begin to assume the role of new-age leader:

1. Embrace your age.

Being young is not a handicap. Lack of experience is not a handicap. I argue this because succeeding in the Wild West isn’t about going with ideas from those with the highest seniority; it’s about having the smartest, most innovative ideas. I understand that it’s easy to dismiss yourself from important conversations or decision-making processes based on the premise that you don’t know enough to make a worthwhile contribution. I say scrap that, and think of those critical scenarios as opportunities to leverage exactly what makes you valuable to your company: your fresh perspective. Treat opportunities to contribute as chances to help your team come up with industry-best ideas, not to hold them back.

2. Constantly improve yourself.

In order to keep up with how fast everything moves in the Wild West, you must constantly maintain and update every tool in your toolbox. Luckily, you have an advantage here. Being digital natives, learning online via platforms like YouTube or blogs is second nature to you. Take advantage of this strength and tap into the endless number of free, real-time learning resources on the Internet. Also, don’t wait to be asked to use learning resources offered internally by your company – seek them out. Staying on the leading-edge will ensure that you’re ready to step up at any time and show your worth.

3. Lead at every opportunity.

Most of the time, no one is going to hand you opportunities to lead. You have to take the initiative. Volunteer to spearhead existing initiatives for your company, or create new ones to take ownership of.  Evaluate your strengths and experience and figure out how you can leverage them to your team’s advantage. Discover the pain-points of your office and raise your hand as the person that will focus on finding solutions. In order to develop yourself as a leader, it’s critical to exercise and hone your leadership skills, and the best way to do that is to jump at any opportunity you can get your hands on (both existing and ones that you forge for yourself).

4. Be a visionary and a storyteller.

In my opinion, a large part of what separates great leaders from good leaders are clarity of vision and storytelling. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to be able to rally troops and execute on deliverables, but having the abilities to see the big picture and tell compelling stories are mandatory leadership traits. I urge you to keep this in mind whenever you’re at the office. You can do this by tailoring your work to the greater goals of your department, and ultimately your company – not just to whatever assignment you happen to be working on. This will show that you can rise above the grass-level of your day-to-day work. Establish yourself as a storyteller by mining and developing unique narratives related to your company or product and weaving them into your communications; be it writing, conversations or presentations.

Thanks again to everyone for tuning in over the past few months. We hope that you’ve enjoyed reading the posts as much as we’ve enjoyed writing them. Lastly, for those of you that might’ve missed a post or two from this year’s series, I’ve included all 14 of them below!

2011 #PRIBS Posts

Image courtesy of Kevin Zollman.

By Justin Tsang.

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