I mentioned while back, and I apologize for not spilling all the exciting details, but I didn’t want to appear ungrateful or quick to brag about my new position as a Corporate Communications Intern. With ten weeks under my belt I’d like to share a little on life as an intern at a certain CPG company in San Francisco in upcoming posts.
Corp comm surprisingly lends itself to lots of creative outlets; you get to write, plan events, work on branded materials, etc. So far the writing load has been heavy, but necessary as I’m still learning the company culture and environment inside and out. Something that makes me almost wish I had considered a communications or writing minor in undergrad, but it’s not anything a little more daily reading won’t help with.
More important you is not what I do but is how I earned the position. First, I’ll explain why I’m choosing to intern as opposed to taking a “real job”, and next I’ll share how I know I landed this opportunity.
Top three reasons I’m interning
- Gain more experience to build my “tool kit”
- Have experience that merits a fair pay
- Find the right environment for me
Individuals as a commodity on the job market, especially communications, marketing, and PR pros, are expected to easily adapt to any industry they find themselves in. Something in my mind classifies this as a soft skill, something that gives us a lot more flexibility in our job search than say a professional in accounting or engineering. Note, this is an over-generalization from a very high level. Positions for accounting and finance roles, from what I’ve seen, have more specific job requirements specified in their listings, whereas communications seems pretty broad, where a there probably isn’t a typical applicant profile. While roles aren’t mutually exclusive, I think as a marketing person I would have a hard time getting into engineering, but an engineering person might have an easier time getting into marketing. I am trying to build my toolkit so that as a marketing professional, I have a more diverse array of positions, proving that I am entirely adaptable and willing to learn new things.
Self explanatory. I want to be the total package, learning as much as possible as an intern in order become a more productive and valuable asset to my employer, so I can in turn make more income.
Whether it’s a startup, small business, agency, non-profit, corporate, or even freelancing on my own terms, I feel that this might not be something college prepares you enough to decide on when starting your job search. Many don’t have a preference at all — they’ll take anything — but let’s face it: environment, and your comfortably in it, is crucial to your performance and satisfaction.
Top three reasons I landed this particular internship
- The prior internships I committed to
- The connections I earned
While the prior companies I interned at didn’t have any available permanent position openings, they provided me with experience, drive and know how on where to look next. They gave me the encouragement to move forward and always offered resources and suggestions along the way.
You really never know how connected you really are, and interning for a startup I was subsequently linked into (no pun intended) a very tightly knit yet broadly networked community over the past year and a half. It turns out someone on my current Corp Comm team knows two of my prior bosses at a startup real well. Also, at my most recent internship I earned a recommendation. Just a reminder, never burn any bridges because you never know who or where your connections could lead to. Also, always ask for permission in advance when you’re listing someone as a reference so they have a heads up. Thank you Eve, Diana, & Mary.
Though I found the position through the company’s own careers site, I found the position additionally listed on the PRSA website, along with the starting pay, and the appropriate contact person. The elements were out there for the clever job seeker looking for how to gain an upperhand. Professional association job boards are an underutilized resource new grads and employers should look to, as I’m sure they’re either free or a lot cheaper than listing on Craigslist, and the quality of applicants will be higher.
I’m looking forward to the following months of my internship term to see how such a corporate headquarters functions and how central corporate communications is to HR and marketing, as well as operations.