The Role of Business – An Intern’s Perspective

By Lauren Xie, 2018 Silicon Valley CareerPath Internship Program – SVO Communications Intern

People tend to see businesses as an outlier to the community instead of a part of it but through this blog post, I hope it will become apparent that businesses are anything but.

JOB CREATORS

One way businesses impact the community is that they create jobs for the people in the community, like you and me.

In 2013, 39% of the people living in San Jose, CA, were employed at a major high tech company, according to the San Jose Fact Sheet.

San Jose Top Employers

That may not seem like a lot until you remember that in 2013, San Jose just hit the 1 million citizen mark, meaning that about 39,000 people from San Jose worked at a major high-tech company.

With more jobs, there are more opportunities for you to earn money, and with money, you can pay for your necessities and desires, like delicious food, fun games, or those tickets to the upcoming music festival.

Now even though you bought your tickets, it doesn’t mean the event will happen.

COMMUNITY SUPPORTERS

That’s another thing businesses do: support the local events so you can have fun. Take the Music in the Park event in Downtown San Jose. There are various ways they do this - financially, in-kind donations, time, connections, etc. Financially, you can see the sponsors listed on their page here. But businesses not only give money, they also help spread the word.

The SVO, for instance, as a partner is helping spread the word on the event. It does so across its social media channels and website. By spreading the word, more people know about the event.

Actually, did you know that 30% of people would buy tickets to a live event in their area if they had known about it, according to a study done by Google and Ipsos MediaCT in 2014.

A popular method to increase awareness is social media. In the US, 69% of adults or about 225,469,056 people use social media and about 74% of them use Facebook daily according to Pew Research Center. By making use of this tool, businesses like The SVO can advertise events for a higher event success, resulting in more events and overall enjoyment.

CREATORS OF OPPORTUNITY

There is another thing that businesses affect in the community. It is also a great resource for students and young adults. You may be wondering, “What can businesses do for me other than provide money?”  

One great thing businesses offer is internships. Internships are great because they not only allow you to improve on your skills, but they also give you a space to grow and learn about yourself.

When you read the word “skills” you probably though hard skills, like technical skills you will need to complete your work, right? While that’s important, internships teach you more than that. They teach you soft skills like communication and collaboration, which may be more important to learn than hard skills.

According to a survey done by the Workforce Solutions Group at St. Louis Community College found that more than 60% of employers think that applicants lack communication and social skills, and 86% of employers in a different study done by Salesforce believe that the absence of these skills are what causes failure in the workplace.

This means that these skills are crucial for success. The internship list of benefits, however, doesn’t end there.

Internships also provide a very important opportunity that will take you far, no matter what it is - internships give you the chance to network.

Now why is it important to have a well-established network? Well, with a well-established network, you can connect to people easily.

Think of it like this: You are on a quiz show and you don’t know the answer. You use the pone a friend chance, but you only have one or two friends, so the chances of one of you knowing the answer is lower than if you had fifty or one-hundred friends you could call.

In this scenario, your friends are your network. This works the same in the workplace. If you are looking for a job, but only have a network of one that you can ask for available positions, then the probability of finding a position is lower compared to a network of 50, or 100.

According to a survey done by LinkedIn, 62% of passive job hunters (job hunters that are currently employed and actively looking for a new opportunity that makes up about 70% of the work force) use networking as their means to find jobs. In fact, all types of job hunting candidates (under/unemployed, active employed, tiptoers, and passive employed) all use networking as their primary means for finding a job.

Networking is VERY important. Network! Network! Network!

Now internships are great and all, but it seems like they are focused towards the older kids, like high school and college, which they are. Internships are geared towards those that will be moving into the working world soon. No need to fear though!

Even though smaller kids don’t get the benefits of internships, businesses help them in other ways.

Box Tops

You remember these, right?

Whether you remember them because of your children or even your own childhood, the Box tops program is a great example of a business that gives back to education. When students buy a box of cereal from General Mills, they can give their school 10 cents with these box tops. Even after 20 years, box tops are raising money for schools.

According to NBC news article “20 Years On, Box Tops Are Still Raising Thousands of Dollars for Schools”, a former board member at Myers Corners Elementary School in Wappingers Falls, New York says the school has earned more than $23,000 from redeemed Box Tops, allowing them to buy iPads for the students.

This is only one of the many businesses that give back to the children. Other businesses doing similar work include Disney, Coca Cola, Verizon, Facebook, Apple, and many, many more.

By now, I hope you realize that businesses are not outsiders in your community, but engaged organizations doing their part for their communities, because, like you, they are part of it too.

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