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Harlee Bigelow: Internship Journal

Week 1: 8/29-9/2, 2022

I was introduced to Kuzneski Insurance Group through an Instagram post that my college, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, made, stating that KIG was looking for interns. The opportunity first caught my attention because it was a short commute and it was a paid internship. This prompted me to reach out and start the interviewing process. I was nervous leading up to my first interview, but Laurie Kuzneski’s friendly personality put me at ease. I had two more interviews that were quick and easy going. During those interviews, I realized an internship would offer me a lot of opportunities.

Toward the end of summer, I was offered the position as a human resources intern for the fall semester! I am excited to start this journey of getting hands-on experience in the human resources field because it will help me see what my future career could look like.

My first week at KIG has been exciting and new. I am learning about multiple HR systems, such as Ease, Mineral, and JazzHR, and how to navigate them. Each day is something new, which is one reason why I chose to major in human resources management. It can be boring sitting in an office all day, but with all the twists and turns that come with HR, it makes it a little more exciting.

I have also gotten the chance to attend a few different meetings. One of them was about putting a proposal together for a possible client. It is so interesting to see the steps that lead up to the final project. I guess it should come as no surprise, given where I work, that we deal a lot with health insurance as an HR team. While I am still learning some of the jargon that goes along with both health insurance and HR, I am sure I will catch on soon!

Week 2: 9/5-9/9

This week was busy, and I learned a lot – mainly about the human resources systems that we use on a daily basis. One of them is Ease and how we start a profile for a new client. There are numerous steps to go through, and it can be confusing doing it for the first time. However, I think with a little practice, I will learn the process without any issues.

I also learned how we process the good old U.S. mail that comes to the office each day. While some may look at this as more of a mundane task, it is an important one. Why? It has helped me start to get familiar with who is on the team and the different things they are responsible for, and which insurance carriers and partners we deal with. It really gives you a sense of what is going on in the company.

Week 3: 9/12-16

I spent this week primarily learning how to use an applicant tracking program that we use here at KIG called JazzHR. I was a little nervous to learn about another software program because I am still trying to get the hang of some of our other software (the aforementioned Ease and Mineral). However, once I did the training in JazzHR, I realized my fears were somewhat overblown: It isn’t that difficult of a program to learn!

My responsibility is to do job applicant screenings for one of our clients. An applicant screening involves going through the resumes of applicants and determining if they fulfill the necessary requirements of the job they are applying for. This is important because it helps to filter out applicants that might not be the best fit for the company. This can save a lot of time and resources. If someone is applying for a job in western Pennsylvania but they’re from India (not Indiana!), chances are they are going to be disqualified. After I filter out the applicants, I forward them on to the company for possible interviews.

I personally really like doing this process because it is straightforward, and I find it interesting. I learned about job screenings in my general HR class at IUP, and it was nice to be able to connect what I learned in class to how it works in the real world.

Week 4: 9/19-23

I'd have to say that this week was a little bit tamer. I am really starting to get into the groove of things! I spent some time this week doing applicant screenings, and that is something I will be doing twice a week from here on out. I have also been helping with making comparisons of insurance plans. We do these so it is easier for us, and our clients, to compare the different insurance plans that are available. This way, all of the information is in one place.

They can be a bit tricky to compare at first because I am still trying to understand what some of the language means. For example, I had heard of a deductible, but had no clue what it actually was. But the great thing is that everyone here is more than happy to help with any questions I have. Google has also become a pretty good friend of mine!

On a side note, one of the perks about working at KIG is the free snacks! I tried some snacks that I didn't think I would like, but I was pleasantly surprised. Moral of the story is: Don't be scared to try new things or ask for help!

Week 5: 9/26-30

It might have taken a few weeks, but I feel like I am getting pretty good at this whole intern thing! While I have not necessarily done anything new, I feel like I have expanded my knowledge on some of the things that I have been working on in these past few weeks. For example, I feel much more confident in my job screening abilities. I don’t second guess myself as much when I am deciding whether the applicant should move to the next part of the hiring process.

Another thing that I have been doing is working on more insurance plan comparisons for clients. The first comparison I did was rough to say the least. There were a lot of mistakes and I needed to pay better attention to details (which is Fundamental 15 of The Kuzneski Way). However, on the most recent one I did, I felt much more confident. Of course, there were still a few minor things that needed to be tweaked, but it was significantly better than the first.

What did I learn from this experience? That practice does, in fact, make perfect. Don’t get too discouraged if the first time you do something it does not turn out all that great. Learn from your mistakes, and do better the next time.

Harlee Bigelow

Harlee Bigelow was born and raised in Pittsburgh. She is in her senior year at Indiana University of Pennsylvania as a double major in Human Resources Management and General Management. She is also the current president of the Women in Business (WIB) organization on campus. When she is not in the office, class, or a WIB meeting, you can find her hanging out with her friends or binge-watching "Criminal Minds."

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