All recruiters claim that their interns will “do real, meaningful work.”
Spoiler Alert: Red Ventures recruiters weren’t kidding.
I thought I was prepared coming into the summer. I could make a mean cup of coffee and (generally) work a copier so I was totally ready for my summer internship, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, that feeling of preparation shattered before my first day at RV was over and was quickly replaced with questions. A lot of questions. Questions like “Wait, what is customer acquisition marketing?” and “Why does the acronym QA stand for so many different things?”
Needless to say, nine weeks into this internship, I still haven’t gotten anyone coffee or made even one copy for anyone (besides myself). Instead, I’ve taken ownership over some of the highest value campaigns on the business I’m working for at RV. I’ve presented my findings and experiences in front of 200 people, including the CEO (in my third week on the job, I might add). And I’ve gotten coffee with several of RV’s Senior Leaders to pick their brains. But most importantly, I can say with total confidence that I’ve learned more this summer than I have during any semester of school.
Here are the top 5 things I learned during my 9-weeks as a paid search intern at Red Ventures to back up this bold statement:
1. My RV teammates will answer all of my questions.
During my first few weeks, I had a long list of questions every single afternoon, mostly relating to obscure acronyms and the many names of Red Ventures proprietary technology platforms. My manager patiently answered every single question I had, and I was able to compile a long dictionary of RV vocabulary, which I will begin selling shortly. (Just kidding RV.)
2. Paid search marketing is really, really cool.
I took a digital marketing class at UNC’s Business School which gave me a sneak peek into paid search marketing, so I knew that AdWords was a thing and that the Second Price Auction existed, but not much beyond that. Fast forward to now, and I can’t make it through an entire sentence about paid search and not get excited. Think about it. We can use data to understand and influence customers and it’s. Just. So. Cool. (Nerd alert.)
3. People lie when they say that they don’t click ads.
You can’t argue with the data. Don’t try to tell me you “never click the ads on Google.” Either you’re lying, or you aren’t paying attention!
4. My team trusts me, even when I don’t.
On my second day at Red Ventures, my manager asked me if I wanted to change keyword bids. My internal reaction was something like this: “These are the keywords that make us money. I will ruin Red Ventures on my second day. Why are they letting me do this? Don’t they know I have no idea what I am doing?”
The following day, when I found out my responsibilities for the summer, I had a similar reaction. However, my manager and mentor’s faith in me allowed me succeed. I successfully completed the summer without running Red Ventures into the ground. They trusted me long before I trusted myself, and I am incredibly grateful for that.
5. I do “real, meaningful work.”
Here I am, 9 weeks after starting my summer internship – a full blown paid search nerd reading Search Engine Land for fun. I genuinely enjoyed the work I was able to do at Red Ventures, and a big reason for that is I was treated more like a new hire than an intern.
Here’s a huge thank you to everyone at RV who mentored me this summer. I’ve never been more excited about my future career in digital marketing!
Grace is a rising senior at UNC-Chapel Hill studying business and political science. As a North Carolina native, she enjoys arguing about barbecue (vinegar-based, hands down), listening to Eric Church, and weeping over the 18-hour drive to the NCAA National Championship where Villanova hit The Shot That Must Not Be Named.