Former Walden Intern: Alyson Weiss
“Former Walden Media Interns: Where Are They Now? ” is an ongoing series featuring dispatches from past interns.Today’s submission comes from Alyson Weiss, the Young Professional Outreach Coordinator & Social Media Specialist at Career Moves – a division of JVS. She offers tutorials on how to turn online procrastination into proactive professional engagement and blogs about it here. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, find her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/
When I interned at Walden Media, my capstone accomplishment was making a really great video parody of The Voyage of The Dawn Treader, the third installment of the multi-million dollar The Chronicles of Narnia franchise called “On a Boat”.
Not much has changed.
In my year as the Young Professional Outreach Coordinator & Social Media Specialist for a small career services nonprofit in downtown Boston, I have made Texts from Hillary memes to promote events, written a blog post about LinkedIn in the form of a West Wing script, and made references to “Aaron’s Party” during speaking engagements (how else would you explain Twitter?). And somehow I get paid for this.
As a Social Media Specialist, I manage my nonprofit’s social media presence across platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, and Blogger, using a social media management tool called Hootsuite. I then teach job seekers how to do the same—how to transform their online procrastination into proactive online engagement for the job search. (Hint: if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you don’t exist.) In my spare time, I run a Young Adult Task Force and plan quarterly networking events and the occasional job search strategies group for college seniors and young professionals.
The skill that has perhaps helped me the most professionally thus far is one that I started honing at Walden: identifying my team members’ skills and delegating tasks accordingly. I was the youngest intern my cycle at Walden, so I actually learned a lot of these tricks from my co-interns:
- No one wants extra work, but everyone is willing to help out a friend. Cheerily volunteer for menial tasks early on to create a bank of good will. Then be sure that every “ask” comes with a ‘sell,” a subtle 1-2 sentences explaining why this task is good for them and your company.
- Speak their language. When I give out blog assignments, I know the posts will be much higher quality if I sit down with one of my authors and discuss details while another one of my authors wants to be given a three word topic and left alone. Figure out how your coworkers/managers/clients think and translate the concepts into their languages. You’ll end up with a higher-quality product and a smoother overall experience.
- Figure out how your coworkers’ pre-existing skills/interests can be used in a different way to reach your goal. Recently, I realized that a work/study student that we use mostly for database administration had video editing skills that no one in my division has. I took over the database and had her create a video to market to potential clients in a new way.
I by no means have it all figured out. As a recent Tufts grad, there are still days I have no idea how I went from majoring in Women’s Studies to writing 5 LinkedIn Lessons We Can Learn From Animals. But during my freshman year of life, I have learned new skills, discovered new interests, explored new ways to be connected to ongoing interests, gone outside of my comfort zone, and made new friends.
And even Reepicheep, I think, could be proud of that adventure.