The College of Humanities and Social Sciences encourages students to participate in internships that help them explore career options and gain real-world experiences. In this Q & A, a student shares how she is taking what she learns in the classroom and applying it in professional settings.
Kirsten Henning is a junior who is majoring in Communication.
How did you locate your internships?
I found my current internship in the promotions and marketing department of Clear Channel Communications, Inc, (a mass media company) through a friend. She had interned for Clear Channel last semester as a “Bob and the Showgram” radio program intern. I emailed my resume to the head of the marketing department and about a week later I was asked to come in for an interview.
I began interning for Valentine Commons, a private student housing company, after hearing about it from a friend as well.
As for College Lifestyles, which is an online magazine, I found that internship on Ed2010.com, which is a great resource if you are interested in working for a magazine or doing editorial work.
What do you do in your internships?
For Clear Channel, I have office hours twice a week, from 10:00 – 2:00. My usual office work consists of creating and filing prize sheets, calling contest winners, creating spreadsheets for upcoming events and promotions, finding blog content, and managing social media accounts. In addition to my work in the office, I attend remote and promotional events such as the Krispy Kreme Challenge and Triangle Beach Music Festival that Clear Channel is hired to promote or oversee.
At Valentine Commons, my primary duties included managing the front desk, making calls to prospective tenants, updating social media platforms, strategizing ideas for special offers and promotions, and creating leasing contracts with new residents.
At College Lifestyles, I was responsible for creating original content for the fashion and lifestyles sections of the magazine. I was expected to market my work as well as the work of my colleagues on social media accounts, and to design layouts for my articles.
How do your internships relate to your major, career goals and personal interests?
All my internships have been different, yet they all relate to communication. Though I’m unsure of exactly what career path I want to take after graduation, I have dreamed of working for a fashion magazine. My internship with College Lifestyles gave me a sneak peek into the work of editorials, which was an awesome first step towards achieving my goal of working for a magazine. With Clear Channel, I have learned a lot about the ins and outs of radio, something I was pretty unfamiliar with before I started interning there. For my Media concentration, I wanted to get my feet wet in an area of entertainment and Clear Channel was my outlet of opportunity. I feel as though all of my intern experience will make me a more well-rounded candidate when I enter the job market next year. At least that’s my hope!
What are some things you have learned so far in your internships?
The most important lesson is to ask a lot of questions. The people I work with have always been eager to help and to further educate me about their responsibilities. I have found it extremely beneficial to pick the brains of my supervisors because they have years of experience and they can guide me in my future endeavors. I have also learned a number of marketable skills, such as planning events, reaching out to the community, copy-editing, creating marketing ideas and managing office work. Of all of these useful skills, communication is a key factor. If you are a successful communicator, you are golden.
What have some of the challenges been?
The greatest challenge of my internship experiences has been finding a healthy balance between interning, school and my part-time job. My plate is definitely full, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Interning gives me the opportunity to gain real work experience while building valuable connections with business professionals.
I have also found it challenging at times to work as an unpaid intern. Without monetary incentive it can be difficult to motivate myself. However, since my experiences have been so rewarding in many other ways, I consider that my compensation for a hard day’s work.
What have some of the rewards been?
My internship experiences have been filled with rewards! With Clear Channel, I get to attend fun events, like concerts, Listener Lounges, festivals, etc. This past weekend, I met American Authors at a Listener Lounge, which was so exciting! Working for the radio gives me the opportunity to do a lot of cool things that I wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. At College Lifestyles, I always found it extremely rewarding to be acknowledged by my boss, my colleagues and the readers when I wrote something that was highly acclaimed. It was gratifying to be praised for my hard work and efforts.
It’s also rewarding to work with well-established professionals because I have learned a lot from their experiences. I have definitely built upon my knowledge of journalism, marketing and sales during my time as an intern. It’s been beneficial to intern for a number of different companies because it allows me to try new things and gives me the chance to find something that I really enjoy.