Hi there, I suppose I should make some kind of an introduction. My name is Paula and I’m a Croatian studying at the Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Venlo, the Netherlands. The programme I chose is business related, called International Business and Management Studies. I chose it not just because it contains a ton of projects and teamwork but also because I have this mandatory study abroad semester and two internships with each lasting for at least three and a half months.
The story of how I landed an internship at Inchoo and the story of study abroad are connected, but I’m going to cut to the case, for your sake.
How it all started
A friend of mine saw I came to study abroad to Osijek and he also knew I was looking for an internship. He contacted me regarding the eCommerce sales manager position opening. The conversation went something like this:
V: “Hey! You should def apply for the eCommerce sales manager position at Inchoo!”
Me: “Huh? What? Why? You know I would want an internship somewhere outside of Croatia?”
V: “Don’t be stupid. Google them and you’ll see it’s a great opportunity.”
Me: “Okay. Okay. I will do some research, see if I would be a good fit for them and maybe even apply. But, FYI, I do not believe I will even be considered.”
V: “We’ll see.”
So I did a lot of reading, about the company, about the industry and about the solutions to the tasks they posted. After a while, I decided to actually apply for the job. I had nothing to lose, and everything to gain. The worst thing that could have happened would have been receiving a rejection email or not receiving an email at all, which is usually the case with most of the companies.
I noticed that the company is putting a lot of effort into their content marketing in which they are not exactly formal. Because of this, I decided to not go with the most formal of the CV formats I am using. Instead, I went with the fun one, which definitely does not include a pie chart showing how my regular day looks like ;). In my opinion, the company showed promise because they posted tasks which an applicant was supposed to solve successfully in order to land a job interview. This was kind of new for me and it intrigued me. Now, the tasks weren’t easy, however, we did similar exercises during the classes at Fontys where we learned how to effectively problem solve.
Within a week, I received an answer along the lines of “Hey Paula! We like your answers and we would like to meet with you to do an interview. When are you free?”
I did not expect this at all.
Next thing I know I’m having an interview with four other people in their incredibly modern meeting room. I straight forward told them I can’t actually work as an eCommerce sales manager. The next thing I remember is them asking me if I would be interested in an internship. That was totally unexpected.
Two months later, I started my first day at Inchoo as a Marketing intern, where I would spend my next 3.5 months.
What I learned from an internship
I learned quite a lot, but that’s not really a surprise since I’ve spent a lot of time with these wonderful people who call themselves Inchooers. For the sake of keeping this as short and easy to read, I will now make a list of top 7 things that internship has taught me.
- You’re not expected to know everything on your first day
- You’re there to learn
- Don’t take criticism personally
- Putting yourself in other people’s shoes
- Analytics and research are your friends
- Mastering grammar and vocabulary is important
- Learning never stops
It’s not like I have a lot of experience with internships. I’ve had a couple of jobs before, but in those cases, I knew what was expected of me beforehand. The only thing I knew about the internship was that I would be a marketing intern. Somewhere I read that one of the biggest fears is the fear of the unknown. The first day it was explained what Inchoo expects of me and how they will help me help them help me. This sounds like too much helping, but helping is caring. 🙂
If you land an internship at a company which values its employees and interns, they will do their best to help you grow. This may include introducing you to some tools you never had a chance of learning about on your own or simply take the time to explain how some things in the company work. For an example, when I first started I had no idea how to start a Facebook ads campaign. My supervisor sat next to me and explained everything there was to explain about it while letting me create my first ever Facebook ad.
The chances are you’re not going to be right all of the time. I read somewhere that life is 1% what happens to you and 99% how you react to it. Criticism is meant to help you improve in the future, and not a personal attack on you because you ended up being wrong about something. Take any opportunity you can to get feedback (which may include criticism) and use it to learn from it, to become better and to one day be the best.
While working in marketing I learned that sometimes the best thing you can do is to get a new and fresh view on things. Imagine who your customers are, what do they want, what do they need and try to find a way to deliver it to them. This is not the easiest of tasks, but learning how to see from other people’s perspectives will also help you grow as a person and become more empathic.
There was one moment I wasn’t so proud of during the internship. I was asked to make the decision and it ended up being a wrong one. I learned that you should not follow your gut feeling all of the time, especially if you do not have a lot of experience in the field. If that is the case, the best thing you can do is rely on research and analytics.
It is similar to the proverb “clothes don’t make a man”, but we all know that we cannot stop ourselves from making first impressions based on the physical appearance. You can be an expert in your field, but if you do not send a message using good grammar and decent vocabulary, it will not be taken well by the rest of the world. So, work on expanding your vocabulary and practising your grammar in order to be able to convey the right message.
“Once you stop learning, you stop growing.”- Albert Einstein
You’re never too smart to seek out information. What you learn today may help you in the future and what you have previously learned can be upgraded to a next level with further information.
Why is Inchoo great?
Because it is a company full of bright individuals who have an incredible culture of sharing knowledge and helping each other grow.
- Inchoo as a company has a really nice feel to it.
- You will be taught things you need to know
- Inchoo makes you feel appreciated
Everyone at Inchoo is good at what they do, whether it is design, front-end, back-end development, consulting or communication with the clients. You can notice this by how serious they are about their jobs, also, if you have any questions for anyone there, they will be more than happy to help you out.
Each new employee has an adjustment period. For developers that means they go through training with the educator. For project managers it means they get familiar with the projects, and for marketing interns like myself, it means you learn everyone’s names, go through the client list, learn the basics of Google Analytics, get familiar with other tools Inchoo uses, etc.
Maybe I was lucky and landed in a great team, but I would like to think that at Inchoo every team is special. During the short time I worked for Inchoo, I did some tasks that required coordinating with other teams. Everyone was patient and kind, they took the time to explain even the simplest of the tasks that they do on the day-to-day basis. Not to mention that at Inchoo, every idea is welcome. Even if something does not seem like a good idea at first, it can be talked about and learned from.
The point of the story is…
The opportunities are all around us, you just need to have your eyes open and be ready to sprint in order to chase your dreams. No one else is going to do it for you. Any opportunity can be awesome, but they can also turn into utter nightmares. If you’re looking for an internship, it is up to you to find a company which is going to be a good fit, but also on the company to see a potential in you. I was lucky enough to get an internship at Inchoo where I was treated like a human being with a lot of potential. I would definitely recommend Inchoo for an internship for anyone that wants to get first-hand industry experience and learn a lot.