Three Skills I've Learned | The Washington Center

Three Skills I've Learned

A few days ago, I was asked about the main skills I've developed since starting my internship at NLGJA - The Association of LGBTQ Journalists. Without even thinking about it too long, the three skills that came to mind were social-media strategy, efficient writing and nonprofit development, something I knew absolutely nothing about before starting my internship.


In the field of media and communications, especially today, the first two skills are important. For any kind of career in the nonprofit world, the third is essential.



1. Social Media

Social media is the newest and most dynamic frontier of communication. The rules are constantly evolving, and trends (as well as trendy new social platforms) die out as quickly as they come. What I learned after starting at NLGJA is that thinking strategically about social media from an organizational standpoint is completely different from thinking about it as an individual.


Over the past year (yes, I've only been on Twitter for that long…) I've struggled with consistency and intentionality on my personal Twitter. These are perhaps the two most important things from an organizational standpoint. Messaging must be clear, targeted and regular. You must know your audience and know what you are trying to say to them. This has been extremely enlightening, and I have been trying to take the lessons I learn at work and apply them to my personal social media. For one thing, it feels good to have more people interact with your online content. But for those interested in pursuing a career in communications or media, it is also a vital skill.


2. Writing Quickly and Efficiently

Writing quickly and efficiently is another thing I've been working on at my internship. As someone who has been writing term papers for the past four years, I had developed writing habits that were helpful in academic writing, but not so much for journalism and communications.


It is not so important how eloquently you state a thought, but rather, how easily the reader is able to understand it. Sentences should be short and should serve a distinctive purpose. Keeping this in mind has allowed me to write more quickly and in a clearer, more intentional way.

3. Development

For people interested in nonprofits (and there are a lot of them in D.C.), development is one of the most crucial jobs at the organization. Development, or outreach to corporate sponsors and other supporters, is what allows nonprofits to thrive.


Through my internship at NLGJA, I am learning how to incorporate communications skills into development efforts. I am learning about the strategic thinking that goes into pitch letters to sponsors and messaging to supporters. This type of marketing is something I had not been exposed to at all before the start of my internship, but after the past few weeks, I find it fascinating. I love the idea of incorporating the communications skills I'm developing into other vital areas. And best of all, it's really fun!

Until next week,

Read Thom's previous blog posts

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