What I Learned During My AARP Internship

Posted on 07/29/2013 by | AARP North Caroliina | Comments

By Andrew Behm, senior, Appalachian State University

My Summer at AARPAndrew

When I started my hunt for communications internships last spring, everybody told me the same thing, “You’re just going to be put in charge of somebody’s Twitter account and make coffee runs for the office.”  Needless to say, that was not what I wanted.  I was seeking the opportunity to write news articles, conduct interviews, and really get hands-on experience.  I wanted to learn what being a communications professional was about.  I found that at AARP North Carolina I was able to work in all aspects of the communications field — public relations, journalism, advertising, and marketing.  I’ve been able to start building a strong job hunting portfolio as well.

I started the internship with a very limited knowledge of how the communications field really operated.  I’ve taken classes in school where we learned about different theories, about what communications meant, and how communications is constantly changing in today’s society.  What I needed and eventually gained through the internship was experience.  I greatly improved my writing skills.  I’m much better now at tailoring messages for target audiences and constructing an article in a way that encourages the reader to continue beyond the headline or lead sentence.  I’ve learned how to use Twitter and Facebook as tools for engagement and to prove relevance to the audience rather than strictly as social networking platforms.  I’ve learned how to spread messages through media outlets using press releases.  I’ve also learned how to use images to create appeal for a story, as well as learning to take the pictures where angles and lighting produce the best images for an article.

In summary, I think that this internship really prepared me for the next step.  I’ve learned a lot about this field and about working in an office.  I can honestly say my internship experience has left me feeling much more confident about what I want to do with my degree, and more comfortable with the idea of joining the working world (even though it is still somewhat daunting).

Let me finish by saying that AARP is an awesome organization.  They work tirelessly to support their community and are extremely passionate about what they do.  That passion makes working a lot more exciting and really inspires you want to do the best job you can.  That’s one thing I’ve always wanted in a job. I’ve never wanted one where it’s just step-by-step busy work.  I want a tangible purpose to what I’m doing, to be able to see where I’m making a difference and AARP was able to provide me with that.

Interested in an internship at AARP? Send e-mail inquiries to shahn@aarp.org for more details.