This summer I had the opportunity to intern with the marketing department of Grounds For Sculpture, a nonprofit sculpture park and museum. The park is located in my hometown and I have visited it several times over the years. I was very excited to experience the park from a different perspective.
In addition to memorizing my boss’s coffee and bagel order, I worked on several summer-long projects as well as day-to-day tasks. This was my first internship and I learned a lot about nonprofit communication. I also got a look at what media relations for a nonprofit entails as the park garnered a lot of media attention for a special exhibition. Here are a few things I learned this summer that might help other interns.
Get to know the difference between in-house and agency communication. My previous public relations experience was in an agency setting. This summer I got a firsthand look at how in-house communication differs. Interning in-house emphasized how essential communication is for every level of an organization. In an agency, a public relations professional may have contact with a few point people while an in-house professional has more direct contact with all departments of an organization. It is too soon to tell which path I prefer, but knowing the differences between in-house and agency will definitely help me plan for my next internship.
Bring all your skills to the table (even the unconventional ones). I’ve never studied photography formally but I’ve been a hobby photographer for years. I mentioned this in passing to my boss and she saw a way to apply this to a project she had wanted to do for a while. If you think you have a hidden or unconventional skill that you could apply to your internship, mention it. Your boss might have a use for it.
Learn how to juggle multiple things at once. This summer put my multitasking and time management skills to the test. I had several projects that I was expected to make progress on throughout the summer as well as manage tasks that popped up periodically. I proved that I could handle several responsibilities at once, collecting interviews, entering event listings and editing press releases. While a polished finished product is essential, a project isn’t just about the outcome but also about how efficiently you complete it. Being able to manage time well is essential for a successful internship.
I was fortunate to spend my summer with a group of very nice people in a rather unconventional workplace. Not many interns had a chance to explore artwork in a beautiful setting and see peacocks while driving into work. I’ve always had a passion for art and I couldn’t be happier to have found an internship that combined this passion with practical communication experience.