Last spring, as a junior English major who had freshly changed her plan of study, I was searching for an experience that would be versatile enough to apply to whatever field I entered into after graduation as well as a position that I would enjoy and flourish in.
Making the Connection
I found myself talking to a recruiter from Hy-Vee, Inc. who saw me as a person who had a passion for people instead of what my degree and GPA were. Shortly after, I was included in a group of seven retail management interns at one of the largest retail stores the company has. It made sense for me to find this company because our values aligned so much—helpful, friendly, honest, dedicated, and respectful.
A Valuable Experience
During our week of training, we were taught what those five words meant in regards to customer service and management. Throughout the course of a summer, I worked in every department of the store. I also operated a food truck at the Minnesota Vikings Training Camp. As an English major, I’ve learned not only how to communicate effectively on and off paper, but also how things fit together in different ways. This opportunity opened my eyes to problem solving in new and fresh ways.
The experience made me a valued worker for the store and company as a whole. Not only did I receive insight on how different departments manage their services, but I also learned how to run a store staffed with hundreds of employees.
The internship was also a lot of fun. I learned how to make bread, frost and write on a cake, build huge, beautiful displays, and handle a real store evacuation on one of the busiest days of the year.
What I Learned
One of the biggest takeaways from the summer is the amount of customer service that every employee deals with on a daily basis, no matter the department. As a company that stresses top-notch customer service, I made it my goal to do whatever was necessary to make and keep customers happy while in the store. Customer service is a skill that will be used no matter where I end up in the world. So, I find myself very fortunate to have gained so much training and application on the skill itself. I made friends and professional connections that will continue long past last summer. My direct supervisor also helped me build a professional network that has already helped me as I reach out to them for potential job opportunities.
Overall, I’m so grateful for the time spent in the store and the relationships I developed. I know I grew a lot and absorbed so much information in retail and business management. I look forward to how my skills will be used next.