Internships tend to go one of two ways. Either you’re treated as a glorified gopher who’s expected to take on all the grunt work, or, if you’re lucky, someone will take you under their wing and nurture your development.
Fortunately for Matt Williams, he found the latter at his internship with Distl. Matt had been studying Economics and Finance when he realised that the industry just wasn’t for him. Despite having a finance job and only a year left until graduation, he took a chance and started taking online courses in digital marketing. Straight away, he knew that this was the field for him and started looking for opportunities to put his newfound theoretical knowledge into practice.
Matt was drawn to Distl because he felt like the culture was a great fit for him and worlds away from his experience working in finance.
“At my previous job, I was working in a smaller team and was the youngest by a long way. There was a bit of social disconnection, as I didn’t share a whole lot in common with many of my colleagues,” Matt explained. “It was after my second round interview at Distl that I was like, ‘I really want to get a gig here.’ It felt like it was a good culture fit: more relaxed and easy going, and working with a lot of young people.”
Matt spent his first week getting to know the team, and knew right away that he’d fit in.
Over the next few weeks, he had a chance to experience the many different roles that make up each of our departments, including SEO, PPC, Paid Social, Account Management, Web, and Brand. This opportunity gave him a well-rounded understanding of each position, and a supportive environment in which to get a handle on what direction he’d like his career to take.
“People here take significant time to sit down and teach you about different tasks and how things work. I think that’s what I liked most about the internship – you were never left struggling with not knowing how to do a task, and there were always people around to help,” he said.
When asked about the highlight of his internship, Matt said, “working and getting to know like-minded people who are passionate about what they do. Having studied a degree and worked in an industry previously which I wasn’t really interested in, being around people who share a similar passion or marketing was something I really enjoyed.”
Matt was confident that he’d made the move to the right industry for him before his internship and said that interning at Distl confirmed that for him. His passion for marketing and easy-going good humour made Matt a perfect fit for Distl, and we recently welcomed him to our team as Marketing Account Support.
Our Technical SEO Sam Driessen took a similar, but slightly different path to Matt. While he also began his journey with us as an intern, he didn’t make the leap to the agency world by applying for an internship in the traditional way. He already had some life and career experience under his belt and had recently completed a Digital Marketing Diploma that gave him a theoretical understanding of the digital space. Looking to apply his knowledge and gain practical experience, Sam was open to the idea of an unpaid internship.
“I googled ‘digital marketing Perth’ to get a feel for the agencies that were out there, what kind of work they were doing and how they approached digital. Distl (then BirdBrain) was the only company that resonated with me,” Sam said.
“They were taking a tailored approach to digital, delivering bespoke work for each client. I reached out, asking for a chance to get my foot in the door and our Director, David Metcalf, replied to tee up an interview later in the week”.
A senior SEO specialist mentored Sam one-on-one, enabling him to build his skillset and understand the practical applications of his learnings. Four years on, Sam is now our top SEO expert and a key member of our leadership team. As his internship gave him the opportunity to understand how we operate at Distl, he found it advantageous to continue with the same agency.
“The internship taught me a great deal about SEO and digital marketing, but it also gave me valuable insight into how agencies run,” Sam explained.
“Getting hired after my internship meant that I could hit the ground running. If I’d taken a role elsewhere, I’d have to take time to get up to speed with their systems and processes”.
Based on their experiences, our past interns would recommend today’s university students complete an internship before graduating to help set themselves up for the future.
“There will be more opportunity and less competition if you get in touch with agencies that aren’t advertising positions. Seek out agencies doing the kind of work you’re interested in and ask if they’re open to showing you the ropes,” Sam said.
Even if you’ve already pursued a career in another field and want to make the move to marketing, you can still apply the same approach. At Distl, we tend to offer 3-month internships on an annual basis with the intention of hiring if the candidate has shown promise and demonstrated they are the right cultural fit. As a full-service agency with in-house specialists, we can expose interns to every part of our business, offering mentorship to support your learning and development.
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