Here at the America’s Test Kitchen New Media Department, we love working with our social media interns. Interns bring energy, creativity, hard work and fun to our department. In return, we try our hardest to provide the most rewarding internship experience possible.
Why would you want to intern with us? Social media interns learn to execute social media campaigns and build community at America’s Test Kitchen, a small company with a devoted following. Interns get the opportunity to work with different departments across the company, and sit in on a few brown bag training sessions on digital technologies, whether it’s social media best practices, SEO, Google Analytics or Photoshop.
Every social media intern must complete a “20 percent project.” This is a project that an intern “owns” from start to finish, from initially working on a concept, to executing the project, to tracking and analyzing its success. It’s the ultimate hands-on learning experience.
Also, going to taste tests is strongly encouraged.
So, come work with us! You can apply right here. And, rather than having me blather on about the internship, I’ve asked former interns to share their experiences with you.
John Sandala (@johnny_bones)
Project: Food And Friends Dinner Parties
Previous Experience: Martin/Williams Advertising, Social Media Strategist; Climate Solutions Revolution, Social Strategist; Target, Electronics Team Member; GMAC Home Services, SEO Intern.
What was your intern project? “America’s Test Kitchen Food & Friends Dinner Parties.” America’s Test Kitchen recently published their Menu Cookbook and I needed a way to show off what the book was capable of. We asked bloggers across North America to help us host an America’s Test Kitchen dinner party using the cookbook. After going through numerous applicants, I narrowed the field down to six lucky bloggers. Every week, a blogger shared their experience using the book and had their post featured on The Feed.
What was your favorite part of the internship? Besides living the dream in Boston and working for a brand I absolutely adore? Working with Steph and the rest of new media tree house. Every day I learned something new and was amazed by all of the hard work, passion and knowledge my co-workers bestowed upon me. The taste tests were cool too.
What advice would you give to applicants and future interns? If you have a passion for food and social media, you are going to love this experience. Take it all in because that three months goes by fast. Go to all of the taste tests and stick around for the discussions, you’re going to be blown away by the knowledge that gets passed around.
The Last Word: This was one of the best experiences of my life.
Johnisha Levi (@johnishalev)
Project: Diary of a Recipe
Previous experience: America’s Test Kitchen, Test Kitchen Intern; Food52, Food News Intern; Northern Virginia Magazine, Food Intern; Johnson & Wales University, A.A.S. in Baking & Pastry Arts.
What was your intern project? The Diary of a Recipe (to be published in the fall). The project documents the recipe development and testing process at Cook’s Illustrated, from the conception/proposal stage up through the reader survey stage. The project focuses on a single test cook working on a single recipe, and chronicles what it takes to bring that recipe to our readership. I was tasked with writing weekly Diary posts, taking photographs as well as coordinating with our professional photographer, and assisting with an infographic on the testing process. I was also responsible for attending editorial meetings.
What did you learn from the project? I had been in the Test Kitchen as an intern, so while I had a good grasp beforehand of the mechanics of day-to-day testing and the number of recipe trials a test cook goes through before he/she strikes gold, I did not know anything about the editorial process beforehand. This project gave me tremendous insight into how a Cook’s lllustrated story is crafted. Some considerations that have to be taken into account, for instance, are precedent (e.g., recipes and techniques developed previously by the magazine), expressed reader preferences, and reader limitations (e.g., what ingredients and/or equipment is a reader likely to have/use, how much time are they realistically going to want to spend on making X recipe).
What was your favorite part of the internship? My favorite part of the internship was my project, because it allowed me to give voice to the day-to-day of a kitchen in a new format. I also relished the opportunity to bridge the social media and culinary realms of the organization via shadowing one of the test cooks and assisting with props and mise en place for the Video Tips blog.
What advice would you give to applicants and future interns? This internship gives you the chance to be creative and to spread your wings. You can come in and do exactly what you are asked to do, and that is fine, but this is a team that allows you to take on additional responsibilities if you express the interest and show that you have the aptitude/competency to do them. For instance, I was able to take on additional editorial responsibilities like writing a Do It Yourself blog post and recipe as well as some of the Recipe Bootcamps and On Set Snippets. Also, ask and you shall receive in terms of training opportunities.
The Last Word: The highest praise I can give a job or an internship is to say that I looked forward to coming to work every single day, and that was definitely the case here.
Sacha Madadian (@eatinginorout)
Project: Dish It Your Way Blogger Challenge
Previous Experience: Congressman James P. McGovern, Legislative Intern; Staples, Sales Associate.
What was your intern project? The “Dish It Your Way” Blogger Challenge. I challenged food-blogging America’s Test Kitchen fans to take a classic American dish and tell a story about their own versions of the dish. They could have used recipes rich in family history or dishes dreamed up specifically for the contest. The author of the most memorable story won a 1-year subscription to CooksCountry.com. My goal was to host a food-writing project that encouraged home cooks to use our recipes playfully, and help build community among bloggers who are familiar with America’s Test Kitchen.
What did you learn from the project? I learned the importance of being direct, clear, and specific in communicating and promoting new ideas. Although this may seem obvious, it proved to be a crucial part of running this contest, as it was necessary for receiving the types of entries for which I was looking and for keeping the bloggers interested. Additionally, I really appreciated being able to see what I liked and didn’t like about the entries submitted and apply these findings to my own food writing.
What was your favorite part of the internship? I loved being able to learn about and have access to all departments at America’s Test Kitchen through our work in social media, and I gained so much in such a short period of time. It was also incredibly rewarding to be involved in the launch of The Feed and to contribute to it daily.
What advice would you give to applicants and future interns? Instead of offering something constructive (sorry), I am going to give the same advice I gave to the interns who followed me: Enjoy and take advantage of every day, every opportunity, every task, every taste test if you become a social media intern. The three month internship will fly by, and there is so much you can learn during that time period, so many great people you can meet, and so many really practical skills you can gain for your own social media ventures.
Jill Fisher (@jilldanielle)
Project: The Pinterest Project
Previous experience: Yelp Inc., Marketing Intern; List Visual Arts Center, Curatorial Internship.
What was your intern project? The Pinterest Project. I developed new Pinterest boards while simultaneously executing a Pinterest Scavenger Hunt. Every day I spent 1-2 hours analyzing the success and productivity of our presence on this new social media platform while contributing to the Pinboards. I also informed myself with social media news and the latest buzz around Pinterest.
What did you learn from the project? Learning who and what our readers are and are expecting. How to engage audiences with interesting content and what interesting content specifically is.
What was your favorite part of the internship? EVERYTHING. I loved every day. I learned and enjoyed posting content, learning social media writing skills and how companies manage multiple platforms. Do I really have to ever leave? ;-)
What advice would you give to applicants and future interns? Be ready for anything! Work quickly, thoroughly, and be ready to fail in order to succeed. Learning how to write for our specific audience was initially challenging and over time you will learn how to specifically engage with them, but being willing to learn is a good initial step. Also, informing yourself daily with social media news and development helps you keep an edge on the industry’s progression.
The Last Word: This internship was the best internship I have ever done, and I’ve done a lot.
Lena Hanson (@lenahanson)
Project: Confessions of a Cooking School Student
Previous Experience: Westfield Capital Management Company, Marketing & Client Service Associate; Steinberg Asset Management, Associate, Client Service/Marketing.
What was your intern project? “Confessions of a Cooking School Student.“ I was responsible for blogging my way through the new America’s Test Kitchen Online Cooking School to help promote the school to our social media audience. This included two reader giveaways on The Feed, organizing a live Twitter chat with Bridget Lancaster, and hosting a 7-course skillet skills supper to showcase my skills to a select group of friends. This also led to the chance to participate in some of the brainstorming behind the relaunch of the cooking school.
What did you learn from the project? Aside from how to make the best steak ever, I was able to write (and rewrite) a specific project proposal, create and organize a content calendar, how to draft a readable and effective blog post, and work across the available social media networks to promote readership.
What was your favorite part of the internship? Aside from access to the “Take Home Fridge,” the opportunity to brainstorm ideas for new content for The Feed and how to work with different social media networks (ohhhh, Pinterest — you fickle fiend) with such a supportive team was one of the best parts of coming in to work. There really were no stupid ideas, and sometimes with appropriate vetting you get a chance to actually see your ideas come to life.
What advice would you give to applicants and future interns? Suck up every single second of your time. Get to know as many people as you can — from editorial to the Test Kitchen to the Treehouse, you are working with some extremely cool people. Go out for lunch, drinks after work (hello — free oysters?), or a breakfast run to Cutty’s — whatever works. And don’t let the social media grumps get you down.
The Last Word: The best opportunity that I almost turned down in fear of being “fiscally irresponsible” — I learned more in my time at America’s Test Kitchen than I did in 4-ish years of college.
Veronica Thompson (@veronicathomp)
Project: The Tumblr Project
Previous Experience: Powers Distributing, Blog and Web Designer/ Digital Content Editor; MPublishing, Digital Publishing Assistant; Wolverine CuiZine, Founder, Editor-In-Chief; Food Network Magazine, Editorial Intern
What was your intern project? Blast from the Past Tumblr reblog contest. I engaged the Tumblr audience in a reblog contest where they reblogged our post and recipe with an answer to a simple question. The winner received a cookbook. I also worked on creating unique content to engage with the Tumblr community.
What did you learn from the project? I learned that the Tumblr audience is very unique. They respond incredibly well to gallery type postings and unique “artsy ideas.” It is also highly color based. The richer a photos color and clarity, the more people seem to like it.
What was your favorite part of the internship? I’ve loved everything! I’d say my favorites are the people I work with and the food I get to try. I also like how much I learned about distinguishing certain audiences interests.
What advice would you give to applicants and future interns? I would tell future interns to be sure they double check links we share and to keep an eye on Hootsuite. I’d also say have fun and ask a lot of questions!
The Last Word: Making people happy while eating great food and hanging out with good friends.