Dee Matteson built communication, adaptability, and public speaking skills at her internship with Aflac.
How did you get your internship and why did you choose it?
I learned about the Aflac internship opportunity from a classmate in one of my classes. After she told me a little bit about it, I went to Handshake (the university database for internships and jobs) in search of this same internship for the summer semester. I applied for the internship and heard back and interviewed with the regional supervisor. By the end of the following week, I was offered a position as a summer sales intern. At first, I didn’t know what I wanted out of my internship other than I wanted it to be during the summer term. I didn’t apply to many internships, so when I was offered this one I took it because this was the perfect timing to complete this portion of my degree requirement.
What is unique about your situation that influenced your internship selection or experience?
I think it’s important for everyone to know how to sell something and to build the skills needed to do sales: communication, active listening, and adaptability. I used to work in the food industry so I felt like I had a little bit of an advantage in that aspect. I was also the oldest intern at Aflac which was not something I was used to. A history in sales influenced me to choose this internship. I didn’t know my experience was going to play a part in my internship until I saw it start to pay off.
What was your favorite part of your internship?
The most satisfying part of this internship was seeing success in the work that I was doing. We would have some very long and hard days without having much success when calling businesses. The most satisfying days would be when I got to make a connection with businesses and see them become clients. My favorite day was when one of the mentors that wasn’t directly assigned to me complimented me on the amount of success I had been having. This was meaningful because it showed me that other employees were seeing the interns succeed and wanted to watch us grow and continue to do great things.
What did you find challenging about your internship?
I found cold calling the most challenging part of the internship. When I would call business, they weren’t expecting my call or for me to ask for their time, so it was a challenge to quickly introduce myself and present the products to each business. I am still building confidence in my public speaking skills so explaining products was very hard for me at first. I learned to be adaptable and persevere through the discomfort of some calls because you never know who is going to answer or how they will receive our conversation. While I did expand on my public speaking skills, I learned that it’s not something that I want to be the center of my responsibilities in the future.
How has your internship experience influenced your plans for your future?
I appreciated what I learned from my internship. One of the important things that I learned is that I don’t want a job where my primary role is in sales. Before my summer internship, I had a general idea that I would prefer working in a position where I could build more of a rapport with clients or customers, but this really solidified my decision. I want to be in an office and helping people in some way versus in the field doing sales.