Internships: the gateway to your career

We’re all aware of the benefits of internships; that’s why you’re here after all. I’ve been interning at Inspiring for nine weeks now and feel virtually fluent in the language of graduate internships. There’s one aspect of the whole equation which I feel can sometimes be over-looked by graduates when job hunting – this opportunity is yours for the taking, so make the most of it! It’s all down to you, after all – your internship is your chance to shine. To prove to an employer what you are capable of, to make yourself indispensible, to establish yourself within the company so that when it comes to the end of your internship, they can’t imagine working life without you.

Last year we advertised two enterprise business representative (EBR) internships at a software provider firm that helps businesses such as Net-A-Porter and River Island to deliver better customer service through Facebook and Twitter. The positions were filled by two lovely candidates: Rachel Tran and Hannah Gilbert. We caught up with them this week to get feedback on what they gained from their internship and where they are in their careers now.

Rachel: “As an EBR intern my role entailed learning how to research, create and build relationships and leads through social media for the company. We spent a lot of our time researching to build a database of prospects, using tools like Salesforce.com for example, and worked closely with the sales team to set up meetings for them. We also spent a lot of time on social networks building relationships (blogs, twitter, LinkedIn etc.) with people in our industry, prospects and generally keeping the conversation about social customer service and the company going.”

We asked them about the highlights of their internships…

Hannah: “How open they were for me to progress through the company and make sure I was reaching my full potential.”

Rachel: “The highlight of my internship was most definitely working with my team! We may be a young bunch but everyone is so friendly and helpful, eager and willing to teach the new interns everything they need to know about their role and the company. I know how nerve-wrecking it can be starting in a new company, and the importance of feeling comfortable and at ease with your team is vital!”

It’s clear to see that both candidates not only gained extensive work experience but really got involved in the business. We talked to them about how they felt the internship benefited their careers and what they’ve been up to since…

Hannah: “Stepping into this internship was a bit of a career change for me (after graduating I spent my winters doing ski seasons) so I came to this with no real experience. I learnt the ropes quickly and made myself invaluable so was moved to account management. I earnt myself a full-time role and am now responsible for managing our customers post-sale to ensure they have everything they need, full knowledge of the product, updated on all new advancements and increasing contract length and user numbers. Some of my clients include River Island, Flybe, Coral and the Football Association! If new people push themselves and work really hard there’s scope for advancement – which is great!”

Rachel: Since beginning as an intern my role has changed from being a part of the sales EBR team to now being the company’s community manager in a full-time role. The time I spent building relationships with prospects and industry leaders on social media is what I enjoyed the most, and led me onto my current role, as social was where my passions and interest lie. I got to showcase my social media and blogging skills briefly during my internship so as soon as the community manager role opened up, I snapped it up! I’m the face behind our company’s social networks and I write their blog (and any other material that needs to be written up for the company).

And finally their advice to all you graduates considering an internship…

Rachel: Do it! The prospect of interning can be daunting, but I wasn’t treated like an intern – I got stuck in! Making yourself heard and always being forward-thinking and voicing your ideas is a must for career-advancement and knowing all new industry advances and where social media is headed is invaluable.

Hannah: Advice? Just go for it and enjoy it!

If Rachel and Hannah have inspired you to apply for an internship, send us your CV today!

Hannah is a Digital Marketing Intern at Inspiring. She tweets about all things golden here: @hlcroberts and pins all things pretty here: gildthelilly.

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