Senior, Geneva Swanson spent the Fall '16 semester in the Spartan Newsroom, covering the presidential election. As a Journalism major, Swanson used to dream about a career in political journalism. That is until enrolling in the JRN 300 course. As part of the course, Swanson was assigned to the social media desk during the election coverage. It was because of this assignment that she found her passion for social media.
“I had my own social media channels and learned to love growing a social network for someone else,” Swanson said. “There is so much research behind social media. For a business or organization trying to gain followers, you have to know who your audience is. During the election, we were concentrating on college students as our audience. We tailored our election posts to be more interactive for a college student following.”
The Newsroom to an Accounting Firm
Post-election, Swanson searched for a social media internship in her hometown of Gainesville, Florida. Swanson ended up interning for James Moore and Co. The accounting firm opened 50 years ago and specializes in accounting, IT, human resources and auditing consulting.
“I had the opportunity to start two of their social platforms [Instagram and Twitter] from scratch,” Swanson said. “I planned their social media strategies for three months. Most of their clients are private, so we featured awards the firm would win. It was a great experience to start a company’s social media and see it grow over the summer. ”
Learning the Ropes
Swanson struggled being one of the youngest employees at the firm with little accounting experience. In order to be successful, she had to learn the ins and outs of the accounting industry.
“I was very nervous my first week,” Swanson said. “Accounting was something I had never done before. I was in the marketing division, but I had to learn the industry in order to successfully run their social media accounts. Other employees in the firm really took the time to train me and gave me smaller accounting projects to learn the industry.”
Swanson worked on the firm’s salary survey for the duration of her internship. She researched the state of Florida’s salaries and compared her findings to James Moore and Co. salaries. Swanson’s nerves kicked in, as she presented her findings to executives and employees at the firm.
“The highlight of my internship was finishing the salary survey,” Swanson said. “I presented it to an executive and felt so accomplished. It’s a great feeling to finish a big project for school, but as an intern, you feel like you have something to prove. Coworkers congratulated me on the survey, and I knew all my hard work had paid off.”
Swanson advises students to take an internship in an industry they are unfamiliar with, as internships are a great way to learn what you are passionate about. She suggests you reach out to family and friends for internship opportunities in different industries.
“I am so glad I challenged myself by entering a field I had no experience in,” Swanson said. “I pushed myself and I feel like I am more of a well-rounded employee because of it.”
By Brooke Segal