By: Dakota Allen Wright Williams
I recently wrapped up my legal marketing internship as the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) intern at Postali, and was one of eight interns in the company’s first ever internship class!
To give some background on how I lucked into this opportunity, I’ll say that I stumbled across the internship on LinkedIn on the last day that the company was accepting applications. No joke. I almost didn’t even apply because I was just browsing for jobs between my afternoon classes and my serving job, but let me tell you that I couldn’t be happier that I took the time to apply and set up an interview.
At the time that I interviewed with Postali, I was getting ready to graduate from THE Ohio State University ????♂️ ???? ???? ????♂️ and was considering full-time job opportunities against internships that would allow me to be more specialized in a field. Truth be told I had never done anything SEO related, so going into the interview I was nervous that my surface-level knowledge of what an SEO position would entail would leave me looking unqualified.
My interview with my soon-to-be mentor, Julie Howell, was more casual and conversational than it was based on technical knowledge. It became apparent that the company knows that you can always teach someone a skill, and that they were more looking for candidates who fit the company culture, or someone who is “so Postali” as I’ve heard mentioned around the office. After telling me about how she ended up at Postali, which consisted of SEO positions for some larger corporations before being offered a position at the company, and giving me an idea of what the company culture is like – I was sold. To give you an idea of just how friendly and caring of an environment was portrayed to me in this hour-long “interview,” consider this: I felt comfortable enough to ask Julie for career advice within the duration of our first conversation with each other. The advice that she gave me was in-line with what my friends, family, and advisors told me as well, and so the decision to accept Postali’s offer for the SEO internship position became a no-brainer.
On the first day of the internship, I walked into the office conference room with the other five interns that were starting that day, and we began our orientation with everyone’s favorite activity – icebreakers.
After that we were given a tour of the office, introduced to everyone, and shown all of the tools that we might need to make use of during our time with the company. The most important tool was, of course, caffeine. A fridge fully stocked with growlers of cold brew and bags on bags on bags of quality coffee to be made into warm and delicious cups of productivity were a focal point of the orientation. There was even a demonstration on the proper way to use the Chemex pourover coffee maker complete with specific measurements and tactics. It became apparent that the office really doesn’t mess around when it comes to coffee. After that it was time to get down to business and we all went to our respective teams.
My experience was a little different from the other interns’ because there was an open desk with the SEO team, so while they worked at a community table or the couches, I sat and worked directly with my team. While this may have not been the best for interacting with my fellow interns, it was very beneficial for the work that I was to be doing, as I could ask any question I might have without leaving my chair. On top of that, it really just made me feel like I was a functioning member of the team.
I almost immediately started working on a project, and while I didn’t expect to be doing insignificant tasks I certainly did not expect to be doing work that would have such a tangible and direct effect on the output of the team. The amount of trust and faith that was placed in us as interns to do quality, meaningful work really gave me a sense of responsibility and also made me feel as though I had a role to play in the success of the company. Obviously it wasn’t as though I got to make extremely important decisions, and I wasn’t put in a position where an error on my part could cause the company major problems, but I felt as though the work I was doing was meaningful and that I was genuinely contributing to our clients.
The general outline of how my different projects would unfold were that Julie, and whoever else from the team would be overseeing my work, would give me a briefing on the project and teach me any new skills needed for each new assignment. Because I was almost always doing something I had never done before, I was highly encouraged to ask questions as I went along.
And I had a lot of questions.
Everyone was extremely helpful though, and I never felt uncomfortable asking anyone a question, no matter how dumb I felt asking it. The team was also always very good about making sure that I understood the “why do we do this?” and the “why is this important?” – giving me a palpable understanding of why what I was doing mattered while also teaching me about overall SEO strategies. It wasn’t as though I was always just assigned random tasks, and in fact I was (and still am) frequently asked what sorts of things interest me, and the team then tries to find projects that align with my interests. For example, I recently told our new SEO director, Dan Foland, that I really enjoy statistics; the next day I was chugging away on a project in Microsoft Excel. Even take this blog post as an example. Why is an SEO intern writing a blog post? Because I was asked if it would be something that interests me, and because I enjoy writing, here you are reading my thoughts on the internet.
Throughout this internship I felt as though the team really cared about me enjoying what I was doing and encouraged me to shadow other teams if that line of work interested me. An environment that encourages that kind of learning and exploration is truly something to be appreciated.
This internship offered quite a bit more than just the technical knowledge that came from working with my team. On my first day in the office I was asked if I watch Game of Thrones. The answer is yes, and so I was added to the office’s Game of Thrones Slack Channel. I was asked if I was interested in book club. Now I take part in monthly votes on what book we should read next, and where our meetings should take place. The president of the company, John Sickmeyer, brings his dog into the office. I didn’t even hesitate to seek out job suggestions from my coworkers for my younger brother as he moved to attend their alma mater, Ohio University. Our Brand Awareness Manager, Amy Shropshire, even asked what line of work I was interested and would send me full-time job opportunities as the internship wound down.
And at Postali, even the extracurricular activities have a more intimate feel to them. Sure, any company can have a happy hour for its employees and interns (of which there were plenty), but how many companies do you know of where on a Friday afternoon you can crack open a beer from the office fridge, and go around the office, from intern to web designer to CEO, and talk about what you did the past week? From anyone who I have talked to, the answer is not many. I could go on and on about the intangibles that Postali provides, which has led me to conclude this internship with an appreciation for a workplace that can make you feel like you’re going into a familiar place to get work done, rather than having to go to work. I have enjoyed coming to work every day, and when my friends ask how I like what I’m doing my response is the same today as it was when I first started the internship, which is that I love it. This has been a great experience from all aspects of the workplace, and I would encourage anyone interested in an internship to consider Postali, no matter what field you are looking to get into.
If you’re interested in future internship programs at Postali, head over to our internship page and sign-up to receive updates!