Internship – Stephanie's Story

Stephanie initially started at The
Complete University Guide as an intern
before accepting a permanent position 

Stephanie studied English Literature at Swansea University, and secured an internship at The Complete University Guide.

Throughout my education I always felt a little lost. Being interested in several different subject areas in both school and college, it took me a while to finally decide English Literature was what I wanted to study at university. During my degree I learned that my passion was truly for writing, but I was now lost on how I would want to employ it for a career.

Determined to have a gap year, I saved money after graduating by working in a café for ten months, then spent a further five months volunteering in Sri Lanka and travelling a handful of Southeast Asian countries. After returning from travelling I knew it was time to focus on my career; I had spent many hours pondering over my future on a sun-soaked beach with a cocktail in hand, and knew an editorial internship was probably the way forward. I was already aware internships were regularly unpaid, thus I had saved enough money before I went away to fund my living if I had to move from home.

It took me a while and after many applications I eventually had the opportunity of an internship at a culture website in London. This was a great experience; I spent loads of time writing about happenings in the capital city, from new restaurants opening to original pop-up concepts such as a bunny spa. I was able to exercise my writing skills and gained a great deal of knowledge about working with social media for a company.

Unfortunately this position was unpaid, and after a couple of months I began applying for jobs. I received little response, so applied for more internships. Luckily I found a three month paid role at The Complete University Guide – the last day the ad was online. After applying I was contacted soon after to arrange a Skype interview, then invited into the office for an interview in person, and was later informed that I was successful. This was great news – I believe I would never have got the internship if I didn’t have the previous experience.

What I learned in my three months at The Complete University Guide took me above and beyond what I thought I knew about editorial, social media and the works of a website. Joining CUG just before League Table launch meant it was an incredibly busy time; there was a lot going on but I was excited to be thrown into the middle of it.

My first job was to create countdown articles for the top ten institutions for different subjects, where I started learning about the CMS. Over the first few weeks I was assigned tasks that included editing and updating content on the website, creating a spreadsheet of marketing contacts to message about league table digital awards badges to feature on websites, and learning about Google Analytics and Trends. I was even put in charge of the Instagram account. Having so much responsibility early on was amazing, as it made me feel valued as an intern and also helped with my confidence in the workplace.

I was lucky enough to be offered a permanent position at CUG, but from interning I gained a vast amount of experience that I know will be paramount for whatever job I do in the future. I am continuously gaining knowledge of the Higher Education sector, improving my writing and editing skills, working independently on short and long-term projects, and so much more. Even if a permanent job wasn’t possible with CUG, I know my work here would be attractive to potential employers, and I feel I have matured as an individual in the office environment. Without both internships I would never be where I am now, and I definitely recommend undertaking an internship to anyone considering it. The experience is invaluable, and can possibly result in a job!