Victoria is a 2017 Law graduate from Keele University. Her blog discusses the lessons gained from an eight week graduate e-commerce internship that she has recently completed. Victoria’s account is a great example of the varied lessons that internships can provide.
An internship is a great way of testing out a company or role before you jump into a permanent position. While many internships prove instantly successful for both sides (80% of Step internship turn into permanent positions upon completion) for some, their first taste of graduate employment can turn out differently than they might have expected and that in itself is a useful learning experience, demonstrating why the flexibility of an internship can be so valuable.
This was the case for Victoria. Ultimately, her internship demonstrated that her long-term career wasn’t in e-commerce marketing. At the same time, the experience gained was instrumental in her developing a deeper understanding of her skills, specifically in a working environment, and it was this newfound knowledge that proved vital in pinpointing where she wanted to take her career.
In May 2017, I was sitting the final exam of my Law degree with absolutely no idea about what I wanted to do after I’d finished. Three months on, I have completed an E-Commerce Marketing Internship and started a new job within the Pharmaceutical Industry. Here’s what happened:
Having completed my final exams, I began applying for anything and everything that sounded vaguely interesting as a job, and after a couple of days, I started to evaluate what I was actually applying for. I realised that many of the positions were Marketing related, so I began tailoring my search for jobs in this area and this is when I found Step’s E-Commerce Marketing Internship.
Matthew, the Step Account Manager for the role, was really helpful throughout the whole application and interview process and explained everything thoroughly. I had some initial worries about the internship as it was only for eight weeks, and I was looking for a permanent position, however looking back I believe that an internship is equally as valuable, if not more so, than a permanent job as it provides a way of testing an industry and testing a role.
Within three weeks of first applying to Step, I had attended an interview, which was successful, and started the position. While I am sure many people will tell you that they loved it from day one and it was brilliant the entire time, I cannot. In truth, I spent the first three days thinking what a terrible mistake I had made – I had focused entirely on the internship title (specifically marketing), and overlooked some of the details of the job description (website admin), and so it was somewhat unexpected when I spent the first few days solely doing admin work.
However, determined to make the most of the opportunity I decided to embrace both the website administration and of course the e-commerce marketing sides of the role and amazingly, from then on, I enjoyed almost all of the internship and learnt a great deal more than I initially thought I would. For me, it was a pleasant, easy transition into working life from university.
During the internship, I completed a great deal of tasks in a variety of areas. I updated and redesigned every product listed on the website, and worked alongside an out-sourced web team to improve the website’s appearance and functionality. Alongside this, I created various social media pages and began marketing via social media. I learnt how to analyse website traffic and data, which enabled me to see how successful my marketing was at drawing people to the website and I am pleased to say that traffic did start to come through via social media.
One of the main things that I shall be taking away from my internship is the realisation that, while I do not want to pursue a career in e-commerce marketing, I have learnt that I definitely want a role in which I can put my organisational and analytical skills to good use. Since completing my internship, I am happy to say that I have started in a new permanent position as a Project Co-ordinator within the Pharmaceutical Industry and I love both the job role and the industry.
In summary, my advice to anyone embarking on an internship is: Don’t worry if you aren’t sure, or if you think you have made a mistake. It is a learning experience that will enhance your CV, give you an insight into an industry, and at the end of the day, even if you hated the whole thing – at least you know not to pursue it further… and you got paid to figure that out!
While I may or may not have secured the new job without my Step Internship, I do know that it provided me with significantly more confidence, going into this new position, having already done the whole ‘starting-a-new-job-thing’ with Step guiding me through it.
Thank you to the team at Step.