When Opportunity Presents Itself

By: Cailyn McCutcheon
The road to finding an internship is not easy. For me, I spent the greater part of my spring semester slaving over applications and cover letters, checking my email constantly, all to be denied by several internships that I am more than qualified for. Finally, I had an offer, but for a job I wasn’t thrilled to be accepting. So I kept going, telling myself that the more interviews I had, regardless if any offers came out of them, would only benefit me in the long run.
Mid-May – that’s when my offer for my current internship came in. I saw a forwarded email from our career advisor Bob Martin about a job outside of Philadelphia. The woman who sent the job listing was a Penn State advertising graduate herself. I applied, interviewed and was offered the position of Communications Intern with SUEZ – Water Technologies & Solutions.
I hate anything technical. I don’t like to know how things work, I just like for them to work without question. But within a few weeks of the offer, I would be set to start a job with a billion dollar company rooted in engineering systems manufacturing and chemical sales. I was terrified. But soon I learned that the communications strategy we’re taught in our classes or in our organizations doesn’t change with the subject matter. I use the same skills whether I’m creating a campaign for a small business downtown in State College or products for sludge processing, advanced anaerobic digestion and bio-gas plant technology at SUEZ.
My internship is broken into three parts I collaborate on: digital strategy, internal communications, and external communications.
Digital Strategy
I work on the website whenever I can, optimizing content with the help of a company that specializes in search engine optimization. This is completely new territory to me. I also work with stakeholders as we make the move to combine 12 less content-rich websites into the all-encompassing SUEZ WTS site.
I write from the Intranet whenever I can. This is an online service that is only accessible to SUEZ employees and frequently releases news stories and company updates, and I write those stories. I work on my writing skills all the while having the freedom to be creative wherever I can.
I help with social media content when I can, drafting posts and creating case study thumbnails. I work with a social media agency to schedule posts. Drafting content for social media isn’t new territory, but working alongside an agency is, and I’m grateful for the exposure.
The road ahead and my career path is uncertain, but I’m thankful that I didn’t settle this summer and found SUEZ. I think my biggest piece of advice is that communications jobs are always hiring; it might just require some extra patience and perseverance on your part before you find your fit. I waited, and I’m so thankful that I did.

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