College enrollment increases every year, even as prices are increasing. In my small town in Central NJ, as a senior in high school they ask you “What are you studying in college?” not “What are your plans after graduation?” So now that almost 70% of high school graduates enroll themselves in college, the question is–how can I stand out from the rest? Showing up is the easy part. Now, push yourself to get the best grades, join clubs and organizations, maybe play a sport, don’t forget to have a social life, and finally…gain experience in your field. In my opinion, experience is the most important part of learning, yet it isn’t mandatory to have an internship to graduate.

I am a digital marketing major, so Semgeeks was everything that I was looking for in an internship. Being that this was my first internship, my first time ever working in an office setting, I had no idea what to expect. What I learned so far in school regarding marketing was about target markets, advertisements, and consumer behavior. All information that will be useful to me in the future, but it barely scratches the surface.

I did not know much, if anything, about SEO prior to the start of my internship. Other than doing some research before my phone interview and before my first day, I had no idea what I was walking into. If you had asked me two months ago what digital marketing even is, I would have given you some vague response made up of what I had learned in my classes. I have come to realize that while the things I have learned throughout my college career are useful, nothing will prepare you for the workforce more than hands on experience.

The SEO strategists helped me dive right into the biggest question: “What is SEO?”. Search engine optimization, I soon learned, is vital to the success and growth of a company. SEO is used to direct traffic on search engines to your site. I learned the basics about how search engines work, crawling, ranking, and SERP. This was completely foreign to me, having never heard about any of these topics in my marketing classes. Much of what I did to help the SEO team was editing blog posts, creating blog content schedules, and coming up with topics for infographics. This position allowed me to be creative and brainstorm content that would use client’s key words to highlight their website. I enjoyed being handed work from day one and having the freedom to edit it to how I thought best fit the client’s needs.

On my very first day at Semgeeks, I walked in dressed in flats, dress pants, and a blazer. To my surprise, everyone else was dressed in jeans! The office was nothing like I had expected. The lack of cubicles and the open floor plan allow for everyone to work collaboratively on projects and also discuss plans for the weekend. After a few days, I felt as though I fit right in with the tight-knit team of strategists and interns. The friendly environment allowed me to feel comfortable asking for help and advice.

One incredible experience that I had during my internship was attending the New Jersey Digital Marketing Conference in Asbury Park. For the weeks prior to the conference, I got to watch the team come together with event planning and organizing. The day of, I got to sit in on speakers in digital marketing and network with professionals in the industry. Not only was this internship educational and valuable, it was fun and exciting!

As my internship with Semgeeks comes to an end, I am feeling thankful for everything I have learned and the experience that came with it. I am glad that I was able to score an internship directly in my field, and have high hopes and expectations for future internships and careers. I am going to miss the people, the atmosphere, and being just a few blocks from the shore.