Hundreds of students across BU will secure placements, internships and graduate jobs in 2018.
To assist students prepare for this we have been given access to a Q&A session between a Manager of leading London Marketing Agency and a university student who completed a very successful internship.
Student:Aran Sembhi, BSCH Computer Forensics and Security from Leeds Beckett University, looking to work in cyber security for a multinational organisation.
“Aran was a great addition to our team. Not only did he bring hard work and dedication to our small office, but he was a genuine joy to have around. We hope all interns turn out to be as good as Aran.”
Chris Taylor / PR Manager
SALT.agency is a bespoke digital marketing company, in London and Leeds, founded by three senior digital marketers from some of the UK’s leading SEO companies.
Internship Exit Interview
Q – Your CV was chosen from over 200 applicants, and you also had a successful interview. What tips can you pass on to other BU students?
The interview is a two way conversation, so make sure to prepare fully and be ready to ask the interviewers questions. Make eye contact with all the interviewers, not just the one who is asking the questions. Also research the company, learn what the company is about and why you would be a good fit and be clear about your interest in working for them.
Have a copy of your CV printed out, just in case the interview panel doesn’t have it. Also, make sure that you know the CV inside out and don’t have anything on it you can’t explain further. For example, if they ask you a question from your own CV and you can’t answer it in detail, it’s not going to sit well with them. When I spoke to the directors, I wasn’t stuttering or mumbling because I was confident in what I was saying.
If you are unsuccessful ask for feedback on what you can do to iron out any mistakes you may have made.
Q – What have you enjoyed most about your internship with us?
Learning a bit more about the organisation was the main thing I enjoyed. I thought with it being a marketing company, it would be more chasing people up and not as technical focussed.
There were two roles that I actually undertook, one being in the technical SEO team and the other in the offsite team. I’ve learnt how the technical SEO team undertakes its analysis and recommendations, and how the offsite team gets creative with their campaigns. It’s nice to see how the two interlink.
Obviously, with me being a computer student, it’s nice to see how there’s more to just marketing, that there is actually a technical side to it as well. I enjoyed tasks such as the keyword mapping, the meta analysis and the research tasks.
Q – What will you take away from this experience and what skills have you learnt that will be beneficial for your career after university?
Skills wise, I’ve learned how to use many different web applications, that I’ve never heard of before – such as Ahrefs, Majestic SEO, SEMRush.
I’ve been using a project management system called Buzzstream, and I’ve been learning how to use marketing and research tools effectively.
I would say I’ve also learnt how to be professional and how to contact people professionally.
One thing that I will take away with me is what company director John Ward told me on the second day “If you’re in a work place situation and you don’t know something, don’t just agree with what they are saying, stop the person politely and ask them to explain it a bit more.”
Q – Has your internship been what you expected it to be?
No, not at all actually. Initially I wasn’t expecting it to be so technically focussed. I didn’t know much about SEO in general, so it’s actually good to come in and learn something completely new.
Also, I wasn’t expecting it to be so relaxed, given the nature of the work.
Because it’s so fast paced, I assumed that everything would be really hectic and everybody would be smashing their keyboards but, actually, it’s the complete opposite. It’s still really relaxed, whilst everyone maintaining the high level of work.
To be honest, I am actually really enjoying it. The two directors, Martin Woods and John Ward, talk to you on a personal level. That makes working life much easier and a lot more enjoyable. Everybody is actually really welcoming.
Q – Have you enjoyed agency life?
Yes and No.
Yes, because the work has been really good. As a technical student, anything like this is something you should get your teeth into, because that’s what you want to do in the future.
In other ways I would say no, because it is actually really stressful at times, for example when you chase a company and they don’t get back to you.
Also it is easy to beat yourself up about not getting results, but when you do get results, it kind of wipes away that negativity and shows you how many positives there are.
Overall, I would say that I have enjoyed the agency life, and that’s mainly because of the people I’ve been working with.
If you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, somebody in this office will be able to help. That’s what makes it so much more enjoyable, that somebody can sit there, and take you under their metaphorical wing and guide you through the task, so you know what you’re doing in the future.
Q – you have worked across both local SME’s and international brands during your internship, completing a multitude of tasks. What has been your biggest challenge at SALT.agency?
It doesn’t matter if it’s a small business or a large business; you’re still responsible for the outcome.
I would say the most significant challenge is just being accurate in what you’re writing and being precise. When I’ve worked with the technical SEO team to see how companies could improve their websites and how they could improve their meta descriptions, it’s hard to get everything down in so many characters.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a small business or a large business, you still apply the same theory and care about the outcome as you feel responsible for their future success.
Q – What tips do you have for other students considering an internship?
If an internship or a placement comes up in the future, and you’re thinking about applying for it, I would definitely apply.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a large company or a small company, it still looks good on future applications. It shows that you’re willing to go out and work in your spare time.
Also, if you get offered an opportunity to work for a company for a short time that you may want to work with in the future, just go for it 100%.
Don’t be scared of being rejected by a company either. By applying you’re proving your interest and willingness to work for them. That might still leave a good impression, even if you’re not successful at the first attempt. I was reluctant to apply for this role, because I felt I didn’t have the relevant background, and I didn’t want to be unsuccessful, but it worked out incredibly well.
You might be reluctant to apply at first, but what is the actually harm in trying if it looks interesting?