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A worthwhile summer internship

By Colleen Kennedy, PRSSA member

Finding a worthwhile internship can be challenging and nerve-wracking—you don’t want to waste your summer running errands instead of advancing your career. Thankfully for me, I was given the opportunity to actively participate as a 2011 summer intern in the Corporate Communications department of Tellabs.

Tellabs, a medium-sized corporation, is an international company headquartered in Naperville, Ill. Tellabs customers include 43 of the top 50 global telecom service providers, independent operating companies, MSO/cable companies, enterprises and government agencies. The company creates products and solutions that enable networks to handle the growth of the mobile Internet.

One of my challenges was learning how to understand and write about complex, high-level products. I immediately dove in, reading all the material on Tellabs’ website and asking questions. Thanks to the support and guidance of the Corporate Communications team, I felt confident and comfortable writing about Tellabs and the industry after just a few short weeks. My colleagues were willing to answer my questions about Tellabs products, which made it a smooth transition.

Tellabs uses external resources to reach their current and prospective customers. Projects I worked on for external audiences included:

  • Writing news release about new customers
  • Monitoring social media using programs such as HootSuite and Spiral16
  • Editing blog posts for the Tellabs website
  • Writing media pitches about Tellabs products
  • Editing contributed articles for industry publications
  • Creating a smart mobile Internet fact sheet for the Tellabs website

With employees around the globe, the Corporate Communications team focuses on communication within the company. Throughout the summer, I worked on the following internal communications projects:

  • Writing weekly “Wellness Wednesday” articles
  • Compiling news clips about Tellabs, customers, competitors and the industry for a daily email to employees
  • Writing intranet article on upcoming events and programs for employees

The variety of tasks and projects I was entrusted with helped me expand my Public Relations writing skills. I left with a better understanding of how a corporation functions internally. The skills and knowledge I gained during my three months at Tellabs will assist me when I begin my professional career in May.

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