“Nothing can substitute experience; Mainly because experience is invaluable, it is what you make it.” – Anonymous
This past summer I worked as a corporate communications intern with Hormel Foods. Based in Austin, MN, also known as Spamtown, USA, aka my hometown. Hormel Foods has been a part of my life since I was brought into existence. This Fortune 500 company is known as one of the most trusted and highly respected companies in the food and meat product industry.
After working for Hormel Foods, I can now say that I have: created and published content for a Fortune 500 company’s website, constructed daily news briefings for over 600 employees, dressed as Spammy for the Spam Museum grand opening, designed and implemented a unique and proactive career pamphlet for the company’s national recruiting team, and engaged in cross-functional efforts to execute Hormel’s 125th Anniversary celebration.
While these specific tasks allowed me to expand upon my skills and stretched me as an employee, there are three major takeaways I would like to share from my summer internship:
#1. You need to be “in the know.”
Communications is an art. As a communication department you are the first place people go; whether it be other departments, the press, Hormel executives, etc. How will you respond to product recalls, press releases, natural disasters? How will you get your message across? It is vital YOU understand the company you are working for and what is going on in the industry overall. It is important YOU have the knowledge necessary to craft emails, corporate intranet content, and daily news briefings that reflect what your company stands for.
#2. People are Power. And so is your Culture.
Inspired people. Inspired food. Inspired intern.
After spending 10 weeks with Hormel Foods, I understand why they continue to be so successful; their culture. They are an innovative, promote from within, company who genuinely cares about their people and consumers. When you think about a corporate environment you envision: suits, ties, blazers, coffee, computers, and serious conversation. But after working at Hormel Foods I envision: professional, friendly, open, respectful, caring, coffee, coffee, and more coffee (I don’t think I’ve had so much coffee before). The connections you gain from collaborating with employees and creating a culture that builds others up, here in the United States and across the world, are truly amazing.
Below is a video on the culture of Hormel Foods.
#3. Take advantage of what they offer.
Although I am a Human Resource Management major, I gained a great deal of insight by interning in communications. Often students don’t take advantage of the opportunities offered because they are too scared to ask or feel they will be a burden. Asking for more opportunities, serious projects, and a diverse workload will help you stand out as an intern. A few ways I took advantage of Hormel Foods and what they have to offer was by: shadowing Consumer Engagement, visiting Studio H, going on a plant tour, meeting with managers for coffee, creating plant video scripts, attending department meetings, and sharing a cubicle wall with recruiters.
These are simple, yet immensely valuable opportunities that are so often overlooked. By taking advantage of all Hormel Foods had to offer, I learned just how passionate I am about helping other people reach their goals. This was a direct result from sitting near recruiters and hearing them give interviews over the phone all summer.
I was able to network, build relationships, stretch my knowledge, and visualize my future with this company by taking these steps and spending my summer celebrating among them.