4 lessons that helped me grow as a student, employee and person.
Like many university students in the midst of covid, I was in the unfortunate position of my regular summer work being cancelled. At the time, this was super stressful and left me worrying about how I’d be able to fund my final year of studying, but little did I know summer work being cancelled would turn out to be the best thing that could have happened…
My University partnered with a bunch of SME’s based in and around Bristol to offer fully-funded internship programs. I applied to a few that stood out to me, and after a successful interview, I was given the opportunity to join the Roqqett crew as one of four Digital Marketing interns. Fast forward a year, and I’m lucky enough to be still working with Roqqett and continue to love every single minute of it! I’ve grown so much on my Roqqett journey so far. So, I want to take the opportunity to reflect on some of my most significant learning points in the hope of inspiring and giving confidence to other students who are maybe thinking about applying for, or starting, an internship this summer!
As a History student, I had absolutely no faith in myself to secure an internship in the marketing industry. Why would somebody pick me when they could hire someone who has done a degree in marketing? The truth is that when a company is hiring someone, they are not simply looking at what you’ve learnt in the lecture theatre. Your personality, practical experiences and willingness to get stuck in and learn on the job are equally, if not more, integral to their decision.
I’ll admit after I received the call from one of the Roqqett Crew letting me know I had been successful, imposter syndrome really began to set in. However, soon enough, thanks to Roqqett’s supportive working environment and agile working practices, I quickly found my feet and grew the confidence to try things out without the fear of failure holding me back from taking creative risks!
Start-up life is certainly busy! Roqqett has a pretty small team, and with this comes several pros and cons. One of the best bits about working in a small team is that no matter what side of the business you work in, you genuinely get to know everybody super well, which creates a really fun and enjoyable working environment.
However, a smaller team means fewer people to divvy up jobs between. As an intern, this meant that managers sometimes did not have time to clearly define my tasks or show me the ropes of something I hadn’t done before. Instead, I learnt to adapt and fill my own time by identifying areas I identified as needing improvement or taking the opportunity to mock up and pitch a new idea for consideration. Not only does this initiative reflect well on your character by showing you to be a hard-working and dedicated employee; from a personal standpoint, it also keeps you engaged and excited about the product your working with.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still very much intend to pursue a career in marketing! However, the opportunities Roqqett has given me in exploring so many different aspects of marketing, from competitor analysis to SEO, has helped me uncover the bits of marketing I love and those I’d prefer not to focus on. From an experience perspective, the opportunity to have dabbled in different marketing tasks is extremely valuable. As a concept, marketing is obviously a huge umbrella term encompassing lots of individual tasks. I think my experience of trying out lots of different tasks gives me a competitive edge over individuals who may have only ever worked on one aspect of marketing, such as social media management or influencer engagement. Instead, I now have a much clearer idea about the sorts of areas I’d like to focus on as I progress in my career. As a student, who had absolutely no idea what life after university would entail this time last year, this is testament to the wealth of development opportunities I’d be granted working with Roqqett. As our product continues to grow every day, I only see these opportunities continue to present themselves!
I’m ending with what is probably my most important message. You’ve probably heard that age-old saying that interns are only good for making cups of tea and photocopying, but my experience working with Roqqett has taught me that’s far from the truth - and that’s not just because we work remotely! From the get-go, I was always included in calls with our wider team, outside agencies and our founder and CEO, Glenn Smith. As a student, this felt like a real privilege and allowed me to learn from the experiences of some of the most successful individuals in the industry. However, it also highlighted to me how valued I was as an intern. I think this is a real benefit of interning with a start-up as the smaller team means you don’t get swallowed up by the substantial hierarchical system commonplace in larger, multinational corporations.
Every day, I was always encouraged by everyone to share my ideas and give my feedback on other’s, even if that was to be constructive. As young people, just because we have more limited experience than those who’ve been in the industry for 30 years or so, this does not mean our ideas are any less valuable. In fact, I’d argue young people are often the source of the freshest and most exciting ideas of anyone! Let’s remember that our generation is at the heart of social media and its viral trends, and if we managed to get ‘showing random things in my student house that just make sense’ viral on TikTok, we can make just about anything a global success…
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