Now that you’re sold on why your next marketing internship should be in SEO, let’s get into the nitty gritty of how to find – and get – your next SEO internship, as well as how to make the most of it while you’re there!
Finding and Applying to Your SEO Internship
Finding an internship that fits you can be difficult, but applying to them can be even more difficult, especially if it’s in an industry you’ve never considered before! Here is the advice I would give anyone looking to begin their journey into an SEO internship:
Research. Research. Research.
Before you apply for any internship—or even decide which ones you’re going to apply to—you need to do your research. Is SEO actually something you’re interested in? Would you actually thrive in the companies you’re applying to?
Personally, I do this research by looking through a company’s website and LinkedIn. While LinkedIn may seem like an unusual choice, it’s quickly becoming one of the top platforms for marketing professionals to connect on. I used LinkedIn to connect with individuals at the company and learn more about their culture through their company posts and about the people I’d be working with through their personal posts.
Once you’ve decided that yes, SEO is an industry you’re interested in, and yes, you would thrive at the company that is hiring—it’s time to shift into application-mode. It’s time to get out your resume and cover letter, but don’t close that company website or those LinkedIn tabs. When editing your resume for an SEO position, it’s important to highlight your most applicable skills and experiences. This is a part when the job listing particularly comes in handy.
For example, my internship listing had some project management responsibilities. Therefore, I made sure to include any skills I had that were relevant to that, like time-management, organization and more. I also took off my restaurant experience, but left on the marketing positions I’ve held. If you have a lot of relevant experiences, pick the ones that are the most recent or the most impressive; either way, do the job recruiters a favor and keep your resume to one page.
Once you’ve crafted the perfect resume, it’s time to move on to your cover letter. Personally, I have a very specific formula that I use when writing my cover letter for any position. First, find your favorite thing that this company has ever done. Is there an impressive client that they’ve had? Do they have a case study that is super interesting to you? Find that and write about how impressed you are by it, how much you would love to learn from a company that creates outcomes like that.
Next, shift your lens to this internship being mutually beneficial. Obviously, from the impressive client/case study/etc. that you just highlighted, the company has a lot to teach you. However, you also have a lot to offer the company. Now, I normally take what I learned when crafting my resume—what the company’s looking for, what skills they want, etc.—and turn it into a humble paragraph about how I am the perfect candidate for this internship. All that’s left is to send it to some of your peers to look over and you’re ready to apply!
You’ve applied to the internship and have just received an invitation to interview. How exciting! However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The first thing you need to do during the time between accepting the interview and having the interview is prepare.
1. Review Their Website, as Well as Your Resume and Cover Letter.
It is incredibly important to refresh yourself on the company you’ve applied to before interviewing there. Bringing up details about the company throughout the interview can show that you did your homework and make you stand out from the other applicants. Additionally, review your cover letter and resume! This interview is a great opportunity to expand on some of the experiences you listed, so make sure you know what they are.
2. Be Ready to Answer Questions.
While being ready to answer questions may seem like the obvious thing to do before an interview, you’d be surprised at how many people don’t do it. This is when you should review those “back pocket” answers—the answers to the questions that come up in every interview. Know your greatest weakness, but also know how you’re trying to overcome it. Know why you want to work for that company. It also wouldn’t hurt to brush up on your SEO terminology for this part. As an intern, you may not be expected to be fully versed in SEO processes, but that will only make it more impressive when you mention you know what a SERP is.
3. Be Ready to Ask Questions.
At the end of every interview, you will have the opportunity to ask a question to your interviewers. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to not come with questions prepared. Some of my personal favorites are “What do you enjoy most about the company?” or “Are there any things on my resume that make you hesitate about hiring me? I’d love to address them.” By having these questions ready, it shows the company that you are invested in this position and came prepared.
What to Expect in Your SEO Internship
Maybe you’ve received your internship offer or are still considering if you should even apply or begin looking. As an industry that doesn’t get a lot of attention in the classroom, it can be hard to know what to expect at your SEO internship. Well, have no fear! I’m here to help you understand what to expect when you take on an SEO internship.
Earlier, I mentioned that my experience of constant learning at Avalanche is a huge benefit to my internship. However, it’s important to understand what that means.
Let’s take graphic design, for example. Over time, our society has developed certain rules about what looks good: what colors go with what, what shapes can go where, how to use empty space, etc. This is, of course, not to say that you can’t be creative within graphic design and that some things aren’t constantly changing, but there is some semblance of rules and consistency.
However, SEO is an entirely different beast. Everything is constantly changing. While there are some consistencies—a blog will almost always benefit your SEO, creating area-specific service pages will help your local SEO, and so on—there is always some level of uncertainty. While we might understand how the human brain works and how we perceive color, very few fully understand how Google crawls websites.
Constant learning can be a great thing—it’s helped me develop more professionally within the last six months than I had in the previous year—but it can also be pretty taxing. If you’re someone who is always up for a challenge and loves to learn, then SEO is definitely for you.
Teamwork Is Everything.
In SEO, everything works like clockwork; certain deliverables are due at the end of the month, and there are certain steps that you have to take to create those deliverables and meet those deadlines. If someone misses one or does a step incorrectly, it can set the whole team back.
When I first started into SEO, I did not understand how much I would come to rely on my team. This, of course, is a double-edged sword; if you have a fantastic team (like I do), then the teamwork required is a relief. If you have a less-than-fantastic team, then it may prove to be more stressful than you anticipated.
You Will Develop More Skills than You Expect
Search engine optimization is so much more than editing or developing a website. In my position alone, I have developed my skills in content writing, keyword research, competitive analysis, and so much more. Having an internship in SEO means developing some of the most indispensable skills that any marketer could have.
Making the Most of Your SEO Internship
So you’ve determined that SEO is the right internship for you. You’ve gone through the application process and you’ve accepted your internship. Let’s take a quick look into how you can make the most of your internship.
Be Ready to Completely Rethink the Way You See Google.
I never thought that I would understand how Google magically finds the best chinese food near me when I search for it. Honestly, I never really thought about the process much in general. Now, I can’t help but think about the hours of work that have probably gone into that first search result in Google; I can’t help but see how much power Google has over almost every aspect of our lives, every choice we make when we use their search engine.
Asking questions can always seem intimidating when you’re the only one at a company who isn’t fluent in the language of the industry you work in. However, not asking those questions can seriously inhibit your ability to learn and grow through your internship. Everyone expects you to ask questions; this is an internship for you, not a full time job. You probably don’t even have your undergrad degree yet! Ask questions and apply those answers to your work. You’ll improve much faster than if you didn’t.
Always Take on a Challenge.
As with any internship, taking on new projects outside of your comfort zone can be intimidating. Maybe your supervisor wants you to do some keyword research or fill out a content template. Before you say no, consider what you could learn from the experience. As with asking questions, no one expects you to be an expert from the get-go. Embracing challenges like writing my first blog post or doing keyword research for the first time have been some of the best learning experiences that I have had within my position.
Now that you’ve learned about why your internship should be in SEO, how to land the perfect SEO internship, and how to make the most out of your internship, you’re ready to start searching!