6 Valuable Lessons From My 6 Month Unpaid Marketing Internship

Introduction

When I graduated in 2021, I decided to dive into the world of digital marketing. I got interested in it during a side project that involved online marketing. My graduation got delayed to the next year due to COVID-19, I had plenty of time on my hands. I created my resume and sent it to many companies, hoping to land a digital marketing internship. Out of about 100 companies I contacted, only a few agreed to interview me, and some didn’t respond at all. I anxiously waited for their replies but received none. Ultimately, I applied for a marketing internship, thinking it was digital marketing, and luckily, I got the opportunity. Here are the six lessons I learned during my six-month unpaid marketing internship.

Lesson 1: Expectations vs Reality

I accepted the offer of a marketing assistant internship, thinking it was the same as digital marketing. Initially, thought I would learn various aspects of digital marketing but ended up brainstorming ideas and writing social media captions. As a marketing assistant, my main job was dealing with clients, visiting them, and pitching our services to them. This wasn’t what I expected. However, to gain practical knowledge and experience and also out of curiosity to know how business works in the corporate world, I decided to continue my internship even if it’s unpaid. Remember to seize every opportunity that life presents to you and go with the flow.

Lesson 2: Working for free

As a student, I was taking my first step on the corporate ladder, and the internship was my first move. There were times when I wanted to quit, but I remembered the advice of the Late Ujjawal Thapa, the founder of Bibeksheel Nepali. He said, “Work for free for at least one month every year because practical experience is what you lack in school and college. Interning prepares you for the real world. Even if it’s unpaid, you can gain valuable insights.” So, ask yourself, ‘Is it worth it?’ question because it’s personal and circumstantial.

Lesson 3: Building a Network

During my internship, I met many people in the industry. I used to be introverted and lacked confidence in my college days, but after talking to various people, I improved my communication skills. I connected with individuals from different backgrounds, from web development to advertising agencies which helped me to boost my self-confidence and showed me the power of networking in our lives.

Lesson 4: Importance of a mentor

Before the internship, I was learning on my own from free resources, but it lacked direction. During my internship, I had a mentor with years of experience in the field. They provided feedback on my work and helped me perform tasks effectively. They also guided me on career choices, education, and skill development. Having a mentor is crucial for gaining experience and skills.

Lesson 5: Developing a Skill

My communication skills were lacking, and fear often hindered me. Communication is essential; even if you have valuable skills, poor communication can hold you back. I learned to manage social media, create website content, and run Facebook ads. Even though I have these skills if I can’t communicate well, there is no use in it. So communication is the key. These skills are still useful for my online business to create content and make sales. Therefore, soft skills are just as important as hard skills.

Lesson 6: Change is inevitable

As I improved my skills and knowledge each month, I became an asset to the company. My internship was coming to an end, and I had a chance to secure a full-time job. There was a condition to get the job which was acquiring at least one client on my own. Hence, I went to many people and pitched our services but couldn’t close any deals. But also I was offered a job with below the minimum salary. Now I had to choose between accepting a low salary or leaving. After two days of thinking, I decided to leave with certificates and valuable experience. So know your true potential and never settle for the less.

Conclusion

To conclude, my six-month unpaid internship as a marketing assistant taught me that some of the best lessons come from experience. Embrace challenges, seize opportunities, and make the most of your internship, whether it’s paid or unpaid. Your journey toward professional success begins here.

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