Getting a foot in the entrepreneurial and tech world can be one of the hardest feats to conquer. Let alone finding a specific or set method to start an internship and secure it as a full-time position.
When I was first getting started in the tech world, I had some prior knowledge of what to expect from reading books like Linchpin, and Recession Proof Graduate. But that didn’t stop it from being hard. I knew the best way in was starting out with free-work and transitioning into paid work. I’ve had my fair share of successful internships as well as trying to grab work experience with entrepreneurs and failing. But, when I saw the Kayako opportunity crop up, I knew this was the time to step up and try to be remarkable.
Getting an opportunity at Kayako
I was lucky to have prior knowledge of Kayako. I attended the biggest tech job fair in London, Silicon Milk Roundabout in May of 2015. They had the job for Content Marketing Manager going at the time. This was my first engagement with the company, I got to speak with Sarah Chambers our Director of Support, but at-the-time was acting as a marketer/customer service evangelist.
After the many companies I had researched that were hiring, Kayako were in my top 3 to work for. What drew me most towards the company was their marketing methods were aligned with inbound marketing giants envied working with: Ramit Sethi, Hubspot, and Seth Godin. From a first glance, as soon as I saw the pop-up for the Rock Your Support eBook, I knew I’d like to work for them.
In the end I didn’t apply for the Content Marketing Manager’s position. While I believed I had the capability to perform at that level, I just knew the experience was missing. While I had helped build an email list from zero, I hadn’t been in the position long enough to nurture those subscribers into customers of a product or even a book. Of course building an email list is impressive, but only if nurtures them into customers with the right methodology.
I tracked the company’s ventures monthly – checking in over May to August – I finally saw an opportunity crop up for an internship in marketing. Although I felt I could perform at the level of an Executive, this was an opportunity I couldn’t afford to miss.
I went through the first phone interview with our Director of Marketing, Kumy, nailed the take home test, and then was invited in for the final interview. I navigated the interview as best I could, I’d always worried about talking about myself, but I felt like the consistent reaching out to entrepreneurs, and reading had finally culminated into a great story of my experience and desires.
Fortunately, the opportunity at Kayako as an intern is all about nurturing your skills, teaching you more and helping you rise to your best potential. Still to this day I highly regard Kayako’s outlook on employees and interns; I can only attribute this to the founder’s great work, and the senior folk within the company.
But after the three pronged interview process, I was in. I now had the opportunity to work up the chain to prove myself as a marketing executive.
I dove straight into the content marketing aspect, within two weeks I had published my first piece on the company blog. I opted to take ownership of the WordPress publishing duties, and enjoyed the responsibility.
There were three months to prove myself worthy of being a marketing executive for the company. I managed to upgrade my contract from intern to full time employee in just a month. This was simply going above and beyond expectations.
It’s ok to make mistakes
While handling responsibilities for the posting schedule. I published a post generated by a member of our support team, People Wranglers vs Individual Contributors. This was the moment something went slightly wrong. I used the image for a venn-diagram generated by Sukpreet Anand, and hadn’t sent this off to the design department. This meant that something was not to an editorial standard. This is a particularly big deal in content marketing.
While customer service and customer support blogs don’t attract the same amount of visitors as the New York Times website, having an image that isn’t quite so impressive to the eye would be enough to deter new visitors.
And our founders knew this, Jamie Edwards raised it in our Slack channel as an issue. With three marketers on the team able to deal with it, I just decided to take responsibility for it. It would have been very easy for me to turn to the content marketing manager and ask for them to do it.
But I posted the picture so I decided I should fix it.
I reached out to the design department and asked them in the nicest possible way for them to fix me up a new picture ASAP. I received the image on my commute home, and it would have been very easy to have just thought “Oh, I’ll fix that up first thing in the morning.” But realizing the blog is our public face I just decided to boot up my laptop and fix it at home, essentially after “office hours”.
Once it was done, I dropped a note to our co-founder (who flagged the issue) that it was resolved. Later that night I received a message from our founder/CEO, Varun Shoor, with a personal thank you for handling the issue.
While all that may seem petty, it’s acting on those minor things that help you get ahead in the company: taking responsibility for your actions, and owning the issue if it goes wrong.
But acing an internship goes deeper than that.
We were at a point where we had just launched a webinar program, and were consistently learning what was working for us in our inbound methodology.
Having this interactive content on demand is great, but the quality can sometimes be off for playback.
Luckily, earlier in my career while pursuing work in the (sinking) music industry I had picked up music editing skills – which turns out, is vital for webinar playback quality! So I began to offer a new realm of expertise that no one had. And we began to launch some videos on the currently untouched Kayako YouTube and Facebook videos as an experiment.
There’s more too, at Kayako we consider the customer service bible to be Matt Dixon’s The Effortless Experience. Luckily at Customer Contact Expo 2015 in London, I managed to meet Matt Dixion, network with him and try to convince to do our newly founded webinar program. Plus, he even signed my book!
A photo posted by Adam Rogers (@adamrogersuk) on
There’s also the aspect of being a data-driven content marketer. I was handling the social media, and decided to collect what was working and what wasn’t. Doing this so early on allowed us to rethink our Facebook strategy and find one that gave us more page likes and reach.
Succeeding in the internship doesn’t have to be hard
I had no idea that when I first saw Kayako at Silicon Milk Roundabout that I’d be working for them 4 months later. With insight on the company and desire to succeed in a company with their values, I couldn’t have wanted a job with them anymore. I knew I had skills to bring to the table to help me succeed as an intern, and I was constantly looking for ways to demonstrate value.
Demonstrating value can be one of the hardest aspects of a new job, because it’s very easy to focus on not doing something wrong than actually doing it right. Own up to your mistakes, and always take responsibility – but more importantly, never stop looking at ways to bring value and create your opportunities in the company.