Landing a Job: Getting the Most Out of an Internship

Landing a Job: Getting the Most Out of an Internship

January 22, 2014 by

The new year might be time for a new job or a first job in church communication. Our new series focuses on that journey—landing a job. We’ll talk about the process of finding work in a church, what to expect and more. Earlier this week talked about how to get an internship and today we talk about getting the most out of that internship.

I spent two summers during college interning for the communication team at The Chapel in suburban Chicago. Being a pioneer of multi-campus development, The Chapel was an incredible place to absorb almost every aspect of the church communication world. Being in that atmosphere there are definitely things I wish I would have taken even more advantage of, but hindsight is 20/20.

Here are a few ways to get the most out of any internship or job experience:

Learn to Be a Jack-of-All-Trades
By widening the range of your skills, you expand the field of positions you qualify for and become more appealing to potential employers. So experiment and have fun. Ask for projects outside your comfort zone. Don’t just stick with Photoshop because it’s comfortable. Try something new. Try coding, try video, try writing. Not sure how to do it? Google it. Ask somebody. Learn.

The finished product may rock and it may not. Don’t worry about it. Focus on learning and being willing to adapt. “I can do that,” is what employers want to hear.

Own It
Julia Child used to say, “You just have to have the courage of your convictions.” Of course she was talking about flipping a crepe, but I think it applies here. Be confident. See it through. Make the experience yours. Internships are not glamorous. I spent most of my time archiving hard copies or using the paper cutter. But no matter how menial the job, do it the best you can with a smile on your face and a lot of attention to detail. It won’t go unnoticed.

Use Your Spare Time Wisely
Read, read, read. On the rare occasion I didn’t have anything to do, I read books and blogs on marketing, social media, communications, design tutorials, etc. Not only will this help in widening your skill set, you’ll be able to speak with knowledge and confidence (just don’t get cocky).

Start a List of Resources
Save the websites, blogs, stock images, tutorials, free stuff and more that you find. Put them in a file, start an Evernote collection—whatever, just organize it. This collection will become a lifesaver.

Start a List of People
People are also great resources. Find people whose work you admire. Follow them. Read their blogs. Introduce yourself and don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is the beginning of the network that one day might land you a job. But don’t treat people like a stepping stone—remember to focus on relationship and what you can give back. You’ll be learning a ton from these people, so find ways to return the favor.

Start a Portfolio
Remember that an internship is an especially good time to pad your portfolio with new and real world examples. Don’t be so focused on the work at hand that you forget about your goal of finding a job when your internship is over.

These are just a few things that I did, or even wished I did better, as a church communication intern. I hope it’s a helpful place to start for those who are considering a job in church communication. Be sure to check our Job Board for any internship positions that might be available in your area.


Post By:

Laura Bennett

Laura is a Georgia girl living in Chapel Hill, N.C., as a freelance graphic designer and communications consultant. She has served as communications director at The Fellowship (formerly Two Rivers Baptist Church) and is a Creative Missions alum.
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