By Maaiza Dahir

The most important skills I’ve learned in my Genesys Works experience are all of my professional skills. Throughout the summer and internship year, I’ve gotten more preparation for becoming a young professional, and my program coordinators have helped me a lot. For example, I’ve learned how to dress in a professional setting, send out professional emails, and code switch.Three skills I'm building for my future 1

A time that I felt very professional was when I led my first big meeting with my co-intern. Although we are able to wear business casual attire at Optum, we decided to dress professionally for this specific meeting since it was also our first time getting introduced to most of our team members. I remembered from summer to always dress my best and that first impressions do make a difference. We came out of the meeting with a good attitude and positive feedback, which made us feel very accomplished.

Another professional skill I’ve learned that has really impacted me is sending out professional emails. I’ve worked in an office setting in the past and only had an idea of how to write professional emails. But, during summer training, I learned important details that I didn’t previously know. For example, we learned about how to use Outlook, what an email signature is and the appropriate time to use it, what types of phrases to use in closing out an email, etc. This helped me majorly because now I know what a professional email should look like and how to respond back to one.

Another thing I learned to make into a habit is code switching. Learning how to code switch wasn’t as hard as knowing when to do so. Throughout my summer training and Optum internship, I learned from my supervisors and program coordinators the appropriate times to talk about certain conversations or act a certain way. Code switching is very valuable when I take my breaks at work. I usually hang out with the other interns, and we try to be mindful of the other employees around us who are also sharing the space with us.

Professional dress, professional emails, and code switching are just some of the many skills I learned at Genesys Works throughout summer training and my year-long internship. I appreciate gaining these skills because I think they would help anyone, no matter what career path they decide to take. Learning these skills in a real work environment has helped me get better at them and has also helped me implement them into my daily life, like at school. It’s always good to have many skills, and I think Genesys Works is a great program that helps students gain skills through meaningful training and internships.

About the Writer

My name is Maaiza Dahir. I am a senior at Southwest High School in Minneapolis interning at Optum. My passions include giving back to my community and helping others. I’m currently deciding on a major, but I am interested in health work and IT. I plan to attend a two-year college and then transfer to a university. 

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