Susan G. Komen Iowa

I first began interning with the Susan G. Komen Iowa affiliate when I was still a freshman in college, afraid to approach an interview and intimidated by the idea of a real job in my professional field. IMG_6719 (1)

Two years later, even after my internship ended, I was offered opportunities to volunteer my time with this great organization. Photographing events, helping events staff, and assisting social media efforts.

Life gets busy and with more work experience and jobs filling my time, I have not been able to spend as much time with this organization. However, I am so thankful for the opportunities and connections the organization has brought me.

When I first interviewed, I pointed out that I had little prior experience. My strongest points were my willingness to work hard, learn, and my interest in the organizations mission and interest in volunteering my time and skills towards the cause. My resume was loaded with high school activities, because I was simply a freshman emerging from her first semester of college, watching seemingly all the students around me somehow nab these amazing internships.

Yes, I felt pressured to get an internship, because all my peers at Drake University were doing the same. Yet I am so thankful for the pressure. I’m thankful for the Drake culture of excellence, of pursuing field experience at a young age, even as an underclassman, growing in a genuine, professional environment.

So back to the interview. At first, I did not receive the job. It was handed to someone more experienced and older.

However, I received a call a week or so later with a job offer. I was next in line, apparently. So I said yes.

The internship I received was essentially split into two parts, the spring “events” internship, and the summer “social media” internship. They decided to keep me around through the fall to help with the Race for the Cure 2016, and then a bit of winter, all the way up to my study abroad in January.

I still returned home that summer to lifeguard and make some money as I geared up to study abroad, but this small, unpaid internship made a world of difference as I pursued more jobs into the future.

Takeaways:

Working Remote

This internship was not out of the office in Merle Hay, but rather a remote internship. This pushed me to excel in terms of internal communication, prepared me well for future jobs, and helped me forge strong professional relationships despite working from my dorm room or the library on campus. I learned how to network throughout the city even as a freshman without a car, simply relying on email, phone calls, and the occasional Des Moines transit to get me where I needed to be from time to time. (Shoutout to you, DART bus.)

Content Calendars

My primary responsibility in the summer was maintaining a schedule of social media posts to Facebook. I learned how to use Facebook’s publishing platform to draft and schedule posts. In terms of content, I followed a pretty straightforward pattern where each day of the week followed a particular theme. I think this idea of day-by-day themes is useful and worth considering as a tactic in future jobs. I know that there is some research out there that suggests companies do not need to post every day, some no more than a few leveraged posts a month.

Blink

This summer, I interned with Blink, a local marketing agency. While small, Blink has great capacity to drive results, results marked by healthy and successful clients.

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As an intern, my professional skills and vocational knowledge truly flourished. After the experience, it is safe to say I am more confident as a marketable professional.

Photography

This was by far my favorite and most prominent area of growth over the summer.

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Event photography was essential to our clients at the agency, and this really gave me the opportunity to grow professionally. Rather than just shooting for fun, I was shooting for our clients.

I invested in a 50mm, f/1.8 lens. The lower aperture really allowed me to step up my level of photography from where I was while abroad.

My coworker Lianna owned her own photography business. She gave me some really great advice about knowing your worth and charging accordingly. She also offered keen insight on preparation prior to photoshoots and knowing how to use light. I learned a lot even just tagging along on a mock-senior session with our boss’s daughter, Alli.

Social Media

Content Calendars. These babies are awesome when planning posts for multiple businesses. I learned how to use Hootsuite and developed a spreadsheet design for planning that worked well for me. In my past internship with Susan G. Komen, I had a rough idea of the general topics I wanted to cover, but this my content calendars spelled out the topics day by day and really allowed me to think more strategically about the type of content I was going to share on behalf of the businesses.

Personality. Social media, even for a business, must radiate personality. Truly the best way to do this is incorporate people in your pictures. I grew the Northwest Ag Supply Instagram greatly, simply through engaging followers with direct quotes and personable portrait photography.

Connections

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Jill was not only a strong marketing professional, but a great mentor and human being. She thrived in all aspects of her life, as a community member, wife, mother, coach, the list goes on.

She was extremely supportive of me and made sure I had the opportunity to grow as a professional.

Learning by way of trial & error.

Low aperture in group pictures. This is dangerous territory. I can still picture the shots my coworkers and I nervously scrolled through as we realized that many faces were not in focus at the meet-n-greet with the country artists we brought to Okoboji.

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Interviews. I learned that often, men in agricultural practices don’t like to be interviewed. But they’re sharp and know what they’re talking about, especially the ones who may not pipe up and chat up a storm with you right off the bat.

Vacuums. In really old, hunky vacuums, there is a “driving” function. Even in an air conditioned office, one can work up a sweat trying to push those things around without the drive function. This is what I call intern grunt work.