Communications majors are highly sought-after job candidates in many career fields because of their ability to communicate effectively in a variety of situations.
So it’s only natural that communications interns are also in high demand.
“All fields are constantly looking for talented, communication-oriented college students to mentor and hire,” said Kristin Dybvig-Pawelko, internship director at Arizona State University’s Hugh Downs School of Human Communication.
“Internship opportunities allow our students a broad exploration of the communications field because there are so many factors to consider, process and understand.”
Dybvig-Pawelko tells her students that internships offer unique skills and opportunities that they would not otherwise get.
In the best case, an internship can lead to a full-time position after (or even before) graduation.
This is how communications major Madelaine Beitzel got her current job.
In the summer of 2018, Beitzel completed an internship as a marketing coordinator at Kimley-Horn, a planning and design consultancy. At the end of the year, the company offered her a full-time position after her spring graduation.
“In the beginning I only had an internship for the summer, but I asked if I could extend it,” said Beitzel. “I was immediately told ‘no’ because it wasn’t in their business plan. But I think they quickly saw how the support I was able to provide helped the team. They offered to extend my internship part-time and were very accommodating and accommodating my schedule, which helped them understand my potential as a team member after graduation.”
Beitzel earned six credits in Dybvig-Pawelko’s COM 484 internship course while working at Kimley-Horn. All those hours counted toward her degree in Communications.
Interns not only gain technical knowledge in their industry of choice, but also learn how to interact with professionals in the workplace. In addition, they develop fundamental skills such as time management, organization, adaptability, problem solving and teamwork, many of the same skills they learned in their communication courses.
Beitzel recalls being surprised at how much responsibility she was given so quickly during her internship.
“I was trained, on the job, and then given the freedom to move forward with the process and get it done,” she said.
When asked which communication courses would be helpful for this internship, she named Interpersonal Communication, Advanced Research Methods in Communication and Public Speaking.
“These courses have helped me strengthen my critical thinking skills, improve my research and writing skills, and become more comfortable working and presenting in large teams full of people with different personalities,” said Beitzel.
Communications Major Zach Rangel is a marketing intern at Versant Capital Management Inc., an asset management and investment firm.
Rangel, who is from Austin, Texas, says he’s always had an interest in marketing, sales and public relations.
“For me, studying communication sciences is a great basis for a career in these areas,” he says.
Rangel found this paid summer internship by applying for every communications-related internship he could find, both through ASU and online.
Rangel said he was interested in the internship because he wanted to focus on marketing and expand his social media marketing experience.
“Versant has given me the opportunity to achieve those goals,” he said. “When I interviewed Versant Capital, it just seemed like a perfect fit. My boss and mentor Lisa Greve has a degree in communications and was looking for an intern for a communications course. I felt I could learn a lot from her.
“I was asked to stay after my summer internship and have been doing part-time internships all year.”
Greve, Versant’s director of marketing and administration, says they had many interns from ASU, some of whom went full-time with the company after graduation.
“Because Versant is an asset management and investment firm, finance or business graduates usually apply for internships. Zach thought outside the box and asked if he could do a marketing internship to gain hands-on business experience,” Greve said.
She says Rangel is thoughtful and hardworking and involved in many areas of her marketing endeavors.
“Recently he helped create a series of 16 short videos on ‘Financial Tips for Young Adults’. The project required multiple skills, such as strategic planning, research, writing, graphic design, and video editing. After launching the videos, he helped track and interpret data and analytics,” said Greve.
As advice for current students considering an internship, Beitzel says: “Before you even apply, I advise you to think carefully about your wishes for an internship.”
She adds, “By identifying your must-haves, you can narrow your search and find an internship that will offer you real value, not just a job to put on your resume. Ask yourself questions like “What skills would you like to develop or add?”. ‘Which sectors are you interested in?’ “Do you have any specific values that your future business needs to align with?” “What kind of people do you enjoy working with?” It’s also helpful to think about what you’re doing Not want. Take the opportunity to ask questions in your interviews to get clarity on what might be fun for you in the long run.”