One might beg the question… “What could a Chicago native that goes to Mizzou possibly be doing in Des Moines, Iowa?” After my roomies car was broken into this weekend, I’m asking the same thing! Seriously. And now, work seriously…
Finding my summer internship came to fruition all through the power of social media.
First I should mention, I don’t just live in Des Moines; we actually have a love affair. One that has been in the making for quite a while. I fell in love with Des Moines a few years ago…what with the big city feel of downtown and the warm, congenial feel, idiosyncratic stores and restaurants that dominate the city. I knew I wanted to be here, but needed to find an internship or job that made it somewhat logical to the parents to cross state lines. So thus ensued my copious amounts of research where I stumbled a placed that seemed to suit me in Lessing- Flynn.
A journalism major with an emphasis in Strategic Communications from the University of Missouri, I was thrilled by the possibility of working at Lessing-Flynn. They had everything I was looking for in an agency, they were innovative, fun and had this ‘push the envelope’ mentality that I was drawn towards. A place that would let me dress like a banana.
However, internships are hard to come by and they are rarely given to sophomores. So, I attempted to apply to other openings across the country and in the area. Notice how I said “attempted.” I had no idea where to start! I had been to Des Moines many times but I never had any reason to retain information about the various businesses in the area and my mind literally drew a blank.
In an effort to be resourceful, I contacted a friend who attends Drake University and sought out her advice. She directed me to the Drake University Career Center who (like all smart people should) recently adopted a twitter handle, @drakecareercntr. My friend mentioned that they constantly post about job openings in the area as well as across the country. Intrigued, I decided to log on and find out what they had to offer. That night, I applied to about a hundred places, okay, maybe not a hundred, but a lot. I boldly decided to tweet to @drakecareercnter, with a “Hey, what more do I have to lose?” type of attitude.
With a warm sense of accomplishment, I went to bed and hoped for the best. The next day, I had a direct message waiting from a Drake advisor recommending that I contact her to set up an appointment. Though overwhelmed with excitement at my first ‘bite’, I had to send an uncomfortable email explaining that I am actually a Mizzou student shamelessly using the resources meant for Drake students and hoped she still might help me.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to provide much advice seeing as how five hours, rows of corn fields and Amish country separated us, but she did leave me with some final counsel; a contact that was a Mizzou alum and a Drake Communications employee, Brianne Sanchez, @Brianne_Sanchez.
In my eagerness to have some plan for my future, I immediately sent off an email her way, leaving my contact information and hoping she would deign to answer my pathetic plea for help. Luckily, Brianne is somewhat of a saint, (seriously, I’m ready to call up my boy, Pope B and canonize this woman) and called me within minutes of receiving my email. We talked for about 20 minutes as she asked about my interests, involvement, experience and like a lioness looking out for her cub, she declared she was going to work the ‘Mizzou Mafia’ and help me find an internship.
The next morning, I had an email waiting with a slew of people to contact, one including our very own Josh Fleming from Lessing-Flynn.
A personal contact- except one problem, NO contact information!! I just stared at my screen at disbelief; what was this nonsense!? As if a lack of information was going to stop me from contacting him, so accessing another social medium, LinkedIn, I found Josh and a picture of a friendly looking ginger that I thought I could manage a conversation with. Once again, accessing my tenacious qualities, I called Lessing-Flynn and asked to speak with J-Flem (okay I wasn’t that confident, I acted professional). After a reassuring conversation with Josh, I sent a prayer off to the man upstairs and hoped I would hear from them in the future.
To spare you from having to read more of my pathetic story, you can guess what happened in the subsequent months. Lessing-Flynn did indeed call me, interviewed me and obviously saw something in me, (otherwise they just wanted to play a sick joke on a struggling college student) and decided to take me on for the summer. So here I am, absorbing every bit of knowledge, seeking out any opportunity for experience and eager to embark on a great summer adventure at Lessing-Flynn.
And dressing as a banana has its perks…
Editors Note: We received a ridiculous number of awesome resumes for this internship and while Kara found us through social media, it was her take charge attitude and phone call that pushed her resume to the top. Her involvement with various associations, non-profits and programs certainly helped as well!