July 17, 2015

INTERN REPORT: Communication - It's Not What You Say...

Rachel Escobar, MBA candidate, holds an internship position in internal communications with Philips, located in Highland Heights, Ohio.

My boss and I connected from the very start. During the interview, he explained how he, too, had begun his career outside the corporate world. He recounted his gratitude for that first boss who gave him a shot and paid me the same favor. He could see that I was ready for something different, something bigger.

I was a communications manager for a small nonprofit in the mountains of North Carolina before I came to Weatherhead. Philips called the Weatherhead Career Management Office and asked if they had any students with a background in communications; they referred me. After a couple of phone screenings with Philips, I met my boss and sealed the deal. I started in January, before the spring semester started, and worked approximately 27 hours per week until May, when I switched to full-time.

I was able to survive the learning curve during those first few months on the job and once I became full-time, I was ready to go. I had to learn new systems, new mediums, new people and new information to communicate. Now, I am able to focus more on content and less on delivery. A typical day involves writing, compiling, organizing, and formatting content for some form of communication with Philips’ employees. That could be in the form of an email send out, website update, town hall meeting, or executive presentation.

One of our major projects has been the compilation of our site’s major news into a bi-weekly bulletin. Instead of inundating our audience with several one-off emails each week, we’re training them to expect the information every other week. Those who wish to communicate information are also learning to give us their story sooner rather than later so it can go out in the next bulletin.

Design is a huge part of communication. There’s an old adage that it’s not what you say, but how you say it that matters. When the communication is written, that adage could be adjusted to mean, it’s not what’s written, but how it looks that matters. We need to convey our content quickly, and design helps us do that well. Visuals, such as diagrams, graphs, photos, and videos, also assist in capturing the attention of our audience and ensuring retention of the information. It has been a pleasant surprise how much creativity has played a role in my day-to-day work.

My boss has called me a “super co-op.” Even though I’m not a full-time employee, he has given me the responsibility and autonomy any regular Philips’ employee would hope for. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to serve at Philips. My mission: To continually look for ways to improve how I provide employees with the information they want and need to do their best work.

If you are a Weatherhead student or alum seeking assistance in your job or internship search, visit the Career Management Office (CMO) for services including coaching, resume reviewing, mock interviews, workshops, career fairs and a variety of networking opportunities. Follow CMO on Twitter: @weatherheadcmo

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