Rachael Hutson was a marketing intern at SEMGeeks and worked with the SEO and Social Media teams. She was a senior at High Tech High School. See her thoughts on her SEMGeeks experience below!

I am currently a senior at High Technology High School, an incredibly small, specialized school with an intense focus on STEM. Although my classmates are driven and our courses are rigorous, the elective choices are slim and niche, all revolving around science or engineering. Throughout my freshman, sophomore, and junior years, I completed several college level computer programming classes, familiarizing myself with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Java, Python and JQuery. I was also enrolled in a data analysis class, completed independent research, and learned about the potential of applications such as PhotoShop, Excel, PowerPoint, and various animation tools. In the classroom setting, I gained a wide array of technical skills; however, my practical experiences were definitely limited. I have always been interested in marketing and business, but my high school doesn’t offer any related classes. Prior to my digital marketing internship, which was focused primarily on social media management and SEO practices, I had very little knowledge about the field. Fortunately, my existence as a teenager within the twenty-first century saved me from complete ignorance, greatly enhancing my ability to navigate different social platforms and laying a foundation for deeper understanding of technology. I never appreciated this benefit of adolescence until a teacher of mine, during conversation about my internship, actually asked for an explanation of “that thing called Instagram.”

I was initially hesitant when our mentorship coordinator pulled me aside to inquire about my interest in working for Semgeeks, a digital agency with teams specializing in web design, development, and digital marketing. Would everyone be insanely smart and unwilling to answer my multuitous questions? Was I geeky enough? But upon being informed that the office was located in Belmar, minutes away from beautiful Jersey beaches and the infamous 10th Ave Burrito, I was more than willing to take a risk. My decision ultimately proved to be intelligent; my experience at SEMGeeks was both wonderfully positive and immensely rewarding. The onboarding process was comprehensive, and my decided lack of background knowledge ended up being inconsequential. Tayllor, Lyndsay, and Kyle were incredibly understanding and kicked off my internship with a presentation outlining SEO basics. I was immediately taught about the significance of quality content when increasing a client’s search engine ranking for specific keywords. Google’s dynamic algorithms for determining the relevance of a website were also thoroughly explained along with specific terminology (No, organic isn’t always used in reference to food). Then I was carefully informed about the process used to generate effective keywords based on the client’s services and location. My assignments started out simple; I created blog titles and topics for clients that contained these keywords to magnify site visibility. Activity difficulty gradually increased as I gained both confidence and comprehension. I began researching potential infographic content in an effort to visually appeal to customers, hopefully inspiring emotional reaction and subsequent engagement. Throughout the duration of my internship, I also edited blog posts for grammatical and informational errors, verifying the recency of sources and factual data. The SEO projects in which I participated all treaded upon unfamiliar territory, but I embraced every new opportunity to further develop my technical skill set.

My focus eventually began to shift towards social media marketing, which was previously yet another fragmented concept within my overwhelmed mind. However, Christina’s friendly, helpful clarifications made it surprisingly painless and even enjoyable to promptly delve into social tasks. The social media process necessitates constant creativity, an occasional challenge especially before my daily dose of caffeine began to present itself. Again, content and brand voice both played large roles when constructing compelling Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn posts. Each phrase must be purposeful, working seamlessly towards establishment of an influential social media presence. During this process, communication with clients is vital; their feedback helps to refine strategies and attract desired attention. With client approval, posts are scheduled in advance using efficient applications. Working with social media integrated my pre-existing skills and created an environment that was both fulfilling and exactly the right amount of challenging. 

The atmosphere at Semgeeks exceeded any expectations that I originally fostered. Laughter, communication, and collaboration are always encouraged; I instantly felt welcome and, well, not like the outcast intern that I genuinely was. I was never asked to complete menial tasks; each project that I participated in was important. Furthermore, I gained indispensable skills related to professional interaction and problem solving. I learned how to constructively communicate with team members and authority figures, simultaneously gaining insight about appropriate, expected behavior in the workplace. During my internship, I observed the dynamic between Semgeeks and their clients. The interactions were frequent and transparent; Semgeeks is committed to maintaining constant contact with clients in an effort to build trust. These life skills could not have been acquired within a classroom setting, and laid a foundation for my future endeavors.

Next fall, I will be attending and playing soccer at the University of Chicago, where I aspire to study either business or public policy with a minor in English and creative writing. My experience at Semgeeks has definitely enlightened my mind to the potential of digital marketing and its inevitable importance to any business. In order to achieve success, it is necessary to effectively market your company’s products in an industry influenced by endless technological advancements. Additionally, I was introduced to content writing throughout my mentorship. I frequently brainstormed taglines, social media posts, and email content; this purposeful writing necessitated creativity and direction. I edited many blog posts and refined my technical writing ability, which will be useful regardless of what field I eventually decide to pursue. Finally, all activities that I performed incorporated technology, a requisite within many professions today. Semgeeks gave my career an invaluable early head start, and I am very grateful for this special opportunity to grow and better myself.