Earlier this week we had the opportunity to interview a current employee of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Charlee Beasor is the Communications and PR Manager for the Chamber. We asked her about her internship experience and what’s important in the early stages of professional development.
Indiana INTERNnet: What is your current position and what do you do?
Charlee Beasor: I’m the Communications and PR manager of the Chamber. I perform a wide range of tasks, from handling social media accounts to writing for BizVoice(R) magazine, as well as Indiana Chamber press releases. Also, I talk with members of the Chamber and see what visibility and communications resources we can offer them. I also work with the media and our spokespeople in my current role.
IIN: When did you decide to start applying for internships and why?
CB: I started searching for internship opportunities around my junior year of college, but if could go back to my freshmen year and begin my search then, it would have been better. It is better to start searching early on to get experience and know whether you will enjoy the work. My first internship was with the Hoosier State Press Association as a reporter and I worked with the New Albany News and Tribune. After I graduated, I worked with the Evansville Courier and Press on the copy editing and design desk. I wish someone would have told me to start sooner, even in high school, and to do internships every summer. You don’t get hands-on experience in college like in an actual work environment. But through my internships, I was able to get exposure to a professional setting.
IIN: What advice would you recommend to students searching for an internship?
CB:Do as much as you can and learn every skill you can early on in school or at work. Be open to different opportunities even though you don’t know what road it will take you down. Being open to different opportunities will help you acquire different skills you might have not picked up at your jobs related to your career. Develop yourself and find something you are passionate about. You can reflect on this and it helps shape you as you grow by learning.
IIN: What would you say was the most valuable thing you gained from your internship experience?
CB: Learn how to ask for help when needed. I was not always good at this. When I was working for the Evansville newspaper my internship supervisor gave me the opportunity to do the layout for a whole section of the newspaper. This was a big project because I was putting together the content for section and there were several things that went into account. And I failed. I didn’t get the section done on time and ended up in tears in my supervisor’s office, knowing that I had failed. But it was good learning experience because my supervisor told me if I would have asked for help, she could have guided me in the right direction. Sometimes being able to ask for help is skill that is overlooked.
IIN: How did you separate yourself from other candidates when applying for internships?
CB: I studied journalism and what helped me stand out was that I wrote a lot for the school paper. I had experience writing but also went to a good journalism school with good connections. I went to Franklin College and attended a career fair, where I met the managing editor of the Evansville newspaper. I was able to talk with her and related with her on a personable level. Because of that connection, later I reached out to her and learned about a position opening and applied for and got it. You have to make connections and be memorable with people on a personable level!
IIN: How did your previous internships prepare you for your professional career?
CB: Being able to learn what the career path will look like was very beneficial because you know if you’re going to be able to do the work or not. My first job wasn’t a huge shock because I knew the hustle involved and about newspapers and newsrooms. Do as much as you can to separate yourself from others. Take on more tasks at work and do it with a positive attitude.
IIN: What’s one thing you wish somebody would’ve have told you before going into this field?
CB: Be willing to learn as much as you possibly can and be optimistic about it. You never know when things can change in your job or your current role. So, having a wide range of skills is very helpful. But also, be flexible because things are constantly changing, and you need to adapt when that happens.
IIN: What did you learn through the internship process?
CB: Just try to work as hard as you can because you will benefit from it in the long run. You must like what you are doing or plan on doing or else it will suck the life out of you! By being able to complete an internship I realized what I liked to do early on.
IIN: Any other tips or recommendations you would like to suggest?
CB: Find people that can help you by networking and don’t be afraid to reach out to them. Also, be open to learning things you might not know how to do. This will change your perspective on jobs and what is possible for you to learn. And it will differentiate you in the interview process and in the workplace!