Special Edition incl. “Why it’s Fabulous” and “Lulu’s List of Lessons Learnt”
I’m Lulu, a 21-year-old Marketing with Advertising Management student. Over the summer I completed a 3-month internship with SiteVisibility, before going into my big bad third year. It was just enough time to fall fully in love with SiteVis, but short enough that it went by far too quickly.
Why Any Internships are a Good Idea
Even with a degree, graduate life is tough. A whole load of people will come onto the job market at the same time of you, having done the same course as you. What are you going to have that helps you stand out? 58% of employers agree that work experience is the most popular qualification (with personality coming in second interestingly, with 48%). They want to see that you have experience applying the theories that you’ve learnt in the real world.
Additionally, it’s so hard to know how much you’ll enjoy a profession until you’re there getting stuck in. Internships can be crucial when it comes to this with helping you to work out if you’ve chosen the right area to work in and where you may even want to specialise further. Alongside this, it helps you get an idea of the company and how you fit into it. It’s a brilliant entry point, with 85% of companies using internships to recruit for full-time roles.
Taking all of this into account, it’s no surprise that student interns are three times more likely to get top jobs.
So many joke about the struggle of finding a job when they ask for experience of the work previously. They feel this isn’t the case due to having not been awarded previous jobs due to lack of experience.
How my Internship at SiteVisibility came about
Jason (the companies CEO) and I both went to the same school, and so met at a Marketing Networking events held by them.
Everyone’s had a moment of feeling slightly judged or inferior to someone. As a student around a load of business owners and people at the top of their game it’s very easy to feel this, regardless of whether the other person you’re interacting with means for this to be the case.
Jason however was super approachable and easy to talk to; he was down to earth, had time for me and gave me some really sound, personalised advice that’s ended up shaping what I plan to go on to do.
I saw him the following year however he was surrounded by people the whole evening so I was only able to catch him on the way out. And, as it turned out, it was the most productive 2 minutes of the evening! (I know this only from asking him, whilst I was an intern, why he had agreed to look at my CV. To this, he told me how far a good handshake and remembering someone goes).
The points that made sure this happened were:
- Introducing myself to him (incl. handshake, eye contact and smile)
- Catching him when he was about to run off home to grab a business card
- Interrupting a conversation to quickly say hi before leaving (having remembered his name)
I still however had no clue I’d made a good impression, let alone remembered me until he mentioned having met me upon bumping into my dad (Pa) a month or so later at another event and was surprisingly positive. If it weren’t for Pa telling me about this, I wouldn’t have sent the email leading to the internship and would have missed out on this huge experience.
Therefore, I’m adding:
4. Actually send the email / LinkedIn message / make the call
With each of the steps you may feel like you’re being annoying, as I did, however if you’re polite on each encounter, they are going to put you in a much better position than if you wimp out and don’t do it at all.
One quote brilliant theory to live by is Mark Twain’s famous quote: “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” (He forgot about the stern lines, nonetheless these are very wise words.)
Go introduce yourself to that person or send that email rather than allowing yourself to only wonder what would’ve happened if you had.
My Role at SiteVisibility
Jason and Scott had been considering the role for a little while before I came onto the scene as Jason has a lot of networking, responding to day-to-day emails, meetings and looking communicating with prospects, alongside the actual running of the business. They wanted someone to help take a few of his tasks so he had more time to do his Mr-Boss-man stuff.
When I did get in contact, they said it all worked together perfectly and so offered this position (after a few emails back and forth, a chat with the Scottmeister/Scottdog both over the phone and in person).
My first day was basically back to back meetings which was awesome as I got to get an idea of the business.
My role was “supporting the Sales and Marketing function by learning about and then executing various lead generation and prospect nurturing activities designed to help grow the business.” My role was largely sending emails and carrying out various social media activities on behalf of the CEO and improving the sales process, coaxing prospects further along the pipeline. However, I had no clue just how much I would learn along the way.
I got to attend a whole load of events whether for educational reasons or to represent SiteVis and learnt how to use a whole load of programmes including Salesforce, SEMrush, Leadfeeder, Sales Navigator, Process Street, Hunter, Trello and more. My desk buddy, Peter, who was also my line manager was super duper clever and taught me loads of short cuts for tasks which I previously hadn’t thought could ever be automated, which I’ll use forever and ever. Mind blown.
Why it’s Fabulous.
- Monthly Team events; our specially elected Minister of Fun organises this. Each month we all vote what we fancy doing (meal, water sports, climbing, outdoor cinema, cocktails, paintballing, escape rooms, volleyball etc.) and when, which is then booked with the Minister of Fun’s allocated budget.
- Beer O’Clock; employees are given (optional) a beer or cider at 4pm on Fridays to get the weekend off to a “lubricated start”.
- Cheers for peers / Onboarding; Site Visibility uses a program which especially helps with the moving in process to keep a positive environment. You can send a “Cheers” any time you’ve appreciated something someone’s done and the person with the most each month gets a reward.
- They have spinny, wheely, height altering office chairs; I know everywhere has them however aren’t they just one of the most beautiful things invented?
- Buddy system; you’re allocated a buddy who will take you out for lunch on your first day, take you around the office and be there for any questions you may have. This can be the same or separate to your line manager.
- Flexible Working Hours; you can come in whenever you fancy from 7:30am to 10am (subject to meetings). You can then leave earlier or later according to this, just making sure you’ve worked your 7.5 hours at some point that day.
- Bagel Mondays; free bagels on a Monday – I never had Sunday Blues (that feeling when you remember you have work tomorrow) in the whole three months I was there. I adore my job; however, I think SiteVis are onto something with this.
- Office Atmosphere; everyone is just brilliant. I always get nervous around office environments, however it’s very relaxed (we get work done, but can have a laugh too), it’s such a perfect size and your colleagues make you feel right at home early on.
Lulu’s list of lessons learnt:
- You’ve got this
It’s okay to be nervous – I thought I was the only one until I discussed it with a few chums the other day. You’ve sold yourself and it worked. Now what? What if you’ve sold more than you can deliver? What if you’ve set yourself up to fail and can’t do everything the job requires?
My 56-year-old Aunty explained to me the other day “Absolutely everyone, probably even the queen, has those thoughts every now and then; the oh no, what if they find me out? What if they realise I can’t properly adult?”. It turns out this is called imposter syndrome, and there’s a lot written on it.
Our minds make us think of all the things that could go wrong. That’s how we’ve managed to stay alive for so long, both you and humankind. It’s good to be prepared, however sometimes this part of our mind goes into overdrive. There will always be a voice that tells you that you can’t do things you want to do (and sometimes even things you need to do). Experience in environments that are new, and challenging can make you nervous and therefore give you the experience to distinguish between rational and irrational anxieties. The most important thing to remember is that you aren’t alone in these thoughts and your new bosses want you to succeed too.
- Take notes on EVERYTHING / take it all in
Even if you think someone else is taking notes – take better notes. This works when on your own, in a meeting or at your desk.
It’s always great to share anything you’ve written down as different people will have picked up certain things from the meeting which you may have missed. Comparing different summaries not only allows you to pick up what you may have missed, but also make sure you’re all clear on the actions to be carried out following the meeting.
It avoids the classic feeling of knowing you had a really good thought on something or something really important to do but not being able to remember it.
Additionally, the process with which you carry out an activity can be super useful to someone else carrying out that activity, or even yourself when coming back to it.
There are so many new things you’ll come across as an intern, however, the quicker you learn it, the easier it all becomes.
The more you learn, the easier it becomes and the better you feel about your job.
- Get excited about it / give it 100%
I was lucky enough to be interning in a new city (big up Brighton🙌) which allowed me to be antisocial for a couple of weeks when getting started – I’d forgotten how tiring it can be when you’re new!
So many words which I’d learnt at university with the sole purpose of regurgitating them for assessments and now had to remember what they ACTUALLY meant. It sounded so much like a foreign language at some points that I felt I was back in my GCSE French listening exams and similarly I was frantically writing down words I was hearing in order to go away and Google them at my first opportunity.
And I loved it. It was so exciting finding out about all these different programs, writing lists of everything, meeting everyone and seeing how I could make an impact. I found this really pushed me to learn more and do a better job.
- Make friends.
Get involved with everything (out of the office too). I understand not everything is in your control and it’s hard to get the right balance of being friendly without looking overly confident, but the more you get involved and get to know everyone, the less you will worry about this balance and the more fun it will be. Every single person in the office made my experience that little bit better.
- Take every opportunity you’re given
Be a “yes” person.
Be sure in yourself; the only feedback I had for my boss was to spartan kick me out of my comfort zone.
Even if you feel you’re not ready for it, you can make yourself ready for it. Stop waiting for the perfect moment when you feel 100% ready. I was really lucky with all the opportunities offered at SiteVisibility not only with educational / entertaining events going on, but also the responsibility they were willing to give me if they felt I deserved it which was sometimes more work but super rewarding.
- Nothing like a bit of DIY
If there’s a task which you find yourself waiting on input from others in order to complete, don’t be afraid of finding a way to do it yourself. This may involve getting a colleague to train you up on it or checking out a load of YouTube videos.
There may also be things you think could work better. Feel free to create a plan for this or create a draft to show your boss just how possible it is and how well it could work / good it would look.
- Record all your successes
This is something I didn’t think of until half way through, unfortunately; however I highly recommend as it helps in a surprisingly large number of areas.
Even the most ambitious, motivated people find themselves feeling a little lost and losing the will to keep going with their tasks with out
Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a term frequently used in the marketing world especially, however, it’s also incredibly important when doing personal evaluations.
- Get help if you need it
You’re there to learn and help them out. You won’t be able to learn everything by yourself. They’ll want to make sure that you’re benefitting fully and learning what’s needed, in terms of what they’re getting in return, the more you know about what to do, the more productive you’ll be for them. So, don’t be afraid to ask for a hand in working something out if you find yourself stuck at any point.
- Be prepped to get addicted to coffee
…or just any kind of caffeine