Reasons why you should have a wide range of experience in communications

By Lexi Turner

As communications professionals, we write, proofread, post to social media, edit photos, edit videos, send emails… and that’s only the start. The responsibilities may seem daunting at first, but the variation in tasks are what initially drew me to the field three years ago. Typically, a student asks themselves which of those tasks they like the most and then begin to specialize. I knew I didn’t want to tie myself down to one industry, so I do it all! My wide variety of skills help me to land internships and here’s why:

If you want to build confidence in yourself and your interpersonal skils… work in sports.

According an article from Best Colleges, three of the top six fields extroverts excel in are public relations, social media and event planning. I’ve always been an extrovert so public speaking isn’t an issue, but my extroversion faced the ultimate test when I worked for the Toledo Mud Hens, a Triple-A minor league baseball team. When you’re constantly on the big screen, asking fans to participate in between-inning games and protecting the mascots, it’s just not possible to be an introvert and still provide a great game day experience. Now, I make it a point to mention in interviews that I have no issues speaking to or interviewing customers, employees or featured individuals for social media. 

If you want to learn the ins and outs of social media and all things creative… work for your university.

As a junior, I was a social media marketing intern with the Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences Career and Professional Success Center. My time with Career Success emphasized the skills that employers seek out in potential employees. Over the course of the year, I learned about taking and editing photos and videos, creating social media posts and writing mass emails. I became a daily Hootsuite and MailChimp user and now I can’t imagine what people do without them.

In October, I was even able to go on a career trek to New York City where, as a student, we were able to meet with corporations like Sony Entertainment and Ogilvy. As a Career Success intern, I refined my videography skills and used my creative freedom to make a trip video. Now, when I interview for internships, interviewers are amazed that I already know how to use Adobe Premiere, Hootsuite and MailChimp. 

If you want to learn about working with a team or working alone… work in the public sector.

I’ve had two internships in the public sector. My first, with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, used a communications and engagement team to create content and marketing strategies. Each individual had their own responsibilities rather than one person who did it all. However, I currently work for Pickerington Local Schools, and my supervisor is a one-woman public relations superstar. I don’t have a preference for solo work versus a team, but the experience in both situations has been extremely beneficial.

If you want to experience the closest thing to having an internship… join a student organization’s executive board

If you can’t seem to find an internship, join a student organization and work your way up to an executive board position. I am currently the Communications Director for The PRactice, a student run public relations firm. As the Communications Director, I am in charge of creating the content calendar and posting content. Then, I manage our website using WordPress and The PRactice blog. This has been such a valuable experience. In an interview I can say, “Look at @osuthepractice Instagram, that is how I run a business account”. I can also mention that I know how to use WordPress. It shows that I already have experience working on my own. Who really gets to say they ran an entire business’ social media before graduating? 

I’ve been asked a million times what my specialty in the communications field is. At this point, I’ve had six internships and served on three executive boards, all before graduating college, so I really don’t have a “specialty.” If you’re looking to do it all, don’t be afraid to ask for assignments in areas you’re not as skilled in. That’s what internships are meant to provide! If you’re like me, by the end you’ll be able to say “Yes, I can do that”, to almost anything. 

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