Rising to new levels: Outside internship offers industry insight

By Gabriella Miller

In downtown Chico and up three flights of stairs sits Social High Rise, a restaurant-focused social media management company. The office is located in an old ballroom space of a 100-year-old building, where natural light floods in through large windows.

Killian Abuan, a Chico State senior, sits at a desk in front of a computer creating tips on best Snapchat practices for clients. She asks a coworker for assistance with Canva, the graphic design program she’s using, before finishing up and powering down for the day.

She’s one of three social media interns at Social High Rise and began the internship in the summer of 2016. During her few months of experience she has already learned valuable lessons.

“It’s taught me the importance of loving your work environment and finding a place that really fits you,” she said. “I think it promotes the most growth in the creative process.”

Abuan applied for the position at the end of spring semester and points to one class that especially prepared her.

“Job hunt definitely made me ready,” she said. “It taught me to highlight my strengths and how to best get them across.”

The class she’s referring to is JOUR 444, “Job Hunting & Professional Skills,” taught by Debra Johnson. Students look toward careers post-graduation by preparing cover letters, resumes and an online portfolio. Guest speakers, including many J&PR alumni, provide tips and tricks for entering the job force.

Day-to-day, Abuan completes a variety of tasks for the 12 clients she represents. A main focus is responding to Yelp reviews for each restaurant or bar—a task that she says may seem simple but is actually crucial to the client’s customer service.

“You want to seem as genuine as possible,” she said.

An aspect of crafting the responses is nailing down each client’s voice and style to reflect the company. With each client there’s a different formula that’s a best fit, and Abuan is learning that is a big part of working in an agency setting.

Killian Abuan at a computer Killian Abuan spends much of her time on the computer while working at Social High Rise.

This is in contrast to her previous in-house internship at Harlow & Heart, a clothing store in downtown Chico. There, Abuan was the store’s first social media intern and gained experience working with a professional Instagram account. She said the difference between the two is the structure, with Social High Rise having more planned daily tasks.

Abuan specifically points to the qualities that make agency versus in-house PR different and said that having both experiences helps prepare her for a post-college career.

“I like having multiple clients,” she said. “It’s really fun, and it keeps you moving.”

Abuan had doubts about working for an agency at first, but after starting she quickly changed her mind.

“I love working here because I love the environment and I feel like I’m constantly pushed to do better,” she said.

Other tasks Abuan has at Social High Rise include writing blog pieces that are used as instructional tools for clients. She shadows account managers to see what their daily tasks are like, which offers more insight to what future jobs resemble.

Abuan’s main takeaway is an experience in both writing and editing, as well as creative aspects.

“I’m exploring my creative side even more and growing by bouncing ideas off the people around me that are just trying to work their hardest and do the same thing I’m doing,” she said. “I think that’s the coolest part about it.”