Sarah Guinn enhanced her communication skills and earned a human resources certification in her internship at Golden1 Credit Union.
How did you get your internship and why did you choose this opportunity?
Towards the end of my Junior year, I knew that I really wanted an internship for the summer. I had developed transferable skills during an internship in the spring semester, and I wanted to continue to gain experience in a different setting. I looked on pretty much every job site: LinkedIn, Handshake, and Indeed. After applying almost every day and getting let down by a lot of companies, Golden1 Credit Union reached out to me for a screening interview. I was so excited because the Credit Union was located near me, and I was familiar with the company. After the first interview, I got asked by the Enterprise Communications team to attend a panel interview. I had never done a panel interview before, but the team was so welcoming and easy to talk to that I felt comfortable right away. That same day I got called for a final interview with the Director of Enterprise Communications that same week, and got the internship a week later. Applying for internships feels like taking a chance, but this experience really taught me that you will end up where you are meant to be.
There were a lot of different aspects that went into choosing this internship. I knew I wanted a paid internship and corporate level experience, and Golden1 offered those things. I also knew that based on my particular job description, I was going to be getting a position that would really boost my career path.
What kind of work did you do throughout your internship experience?
Enterprise Communications (or Internal Communications) is mainly responsible for communicating all kinds of information to all the employees across California, including branch employees. The team has people that deal with human resources related information, and others that deal with media or financial information. It was interesting to be able to sit in and see what kinds of information was being sent out, and the different kinds of platforms they created to get that information out. Golden1 has internal platforms like G1 Insiders, and Inside G1 that are available to employees to view these communications that the EDC department needs to get to them. I also was really pushed in my internship to think outside of the box. Golden1 wants to embrace digital change, and not rely on just sending out mass emails everyday.
They really work on making the information that needs to be sent out fun to receive, and that was the majority of the work that I did. Almost daily I was sent draft blurbs and paragraphs for posts that I needed to mend to the Golden1 standard. I also worked a lot with Canva on making digital creatives for these communications, as well as getting experience with videography. The Internal Communications team will sometimes send out a video as a form of communication, and I was very lucky to be in charge of making a communication video for the internship program for the team. Along with working on communication plans and drafting them, I also attended meetings daily with other departments on what they were working on and what they needed from my team to be sent out to employees.
What was a big project that you worked on?
During the pandemic, Golden1 had to hire individuals virtually because of updated hiring regulations. The hiring process included these employees showing their I-9 documentation virtually to the Human Resources department. In California, HireRight said that whoever showed their documentation virtually, needs to Re-Verify those documents with the company by the end of August. I had already started working on sending out communications for this to the employees, but when the Director of Human Resources asked if anyone wanted to be a part of the Re-Verifying process, I immediately offered.
I first had to get certified by E-Verify, and once I did that I started shadowing the process of taking employee documentation. For the final week of my internship, I helped on this big project by sending emails to a list of employees and scheduling meetings to show me their documentation. It was not an easy process because these employees were not only in HeadQuarters, they were also branch employees and I had to accommodate their busy schedules. Once I had a meeting set up, I verified their I-9 data and updated changes to their forms. This experience was intimidating, but knowing that I want to go into Human Resources this was an amazing opportunity.
What knowledge and skills did you develop in your internship?
During this internship I enhanced my skills in communication and collaboration, but one special thing about the internship was taking the Clifton Strengths test, and having a whole meeting with a Strengths Specialist to go over my top 5 strengths. My top 5 strengths are Discipline, Input, Woo, Communication, and Relator. My Specialist went into depth about these strengths individually, and I was able to talk about them and relate them to my life. I was excited that I would be able to add these to my resume because although I didn’t develop them during the internship, I was able to give them a name and understand my top strengths better. One thing that was particularly interesting, was that normally people do not have Woo and Relator within their top 5. For me, my Specialist described this to me as being able to have relationships with everyone, and make connections everywhere I go but I also value closer relationships.
How was the internship related to your Applied Humanities degree?
Applied Humanities stood out to me as a major because it involved people. When looking at all of the majors I might want to get my degree in, I knew that I was most passionate about the Humanities. Communication in regards to my internship is all about people. We have to make sure that the information is getting out to all of our employees, but also make sure that it is easily accessible for everyone. Communicating to these employees about events and HR related issues, I learned that you need to be ready for questions as well as needing to be accommodating to all. This internship really helped me solidify that I want to go into a field that communicates and helps people and I am so excited to see where that takes me after this opportunity.
What advice do you have for other students as they search for and begin their internship?
My biggest advice for a student searching for an internship is just trust the process. The searching and interviewing process is draining and hard, but I promise that everything works out. Being discouraged is normal, but an opportunity will always arise. Don’t be scared to reach out and network for opportunities as well.
When you are involved in an internship, make sure you are making the most of whatever the opportunity is. Ask questions, make connections, and form the internship to what you want your experience to be.