Becoming a Jr. Outreach Specialist — My Intern Journey at Manaferra
To introduce myself properly, I’d have to start from the time when the question ‘Who am I?’ was a big dilemma. Not because I didn’t know myself, but on account of my ambition to transcend into what I could become. This was the question that made me start searching for myself, and along the way, I realized that who I am in entirety isn’t something to be found—but instead, created.
So I decided to study marketing. At first, I wasn’t too excited about it; however, along the way, I started to love it and was amazed at the fact that marketing seemed like magic—a green thumb that has the power to grow and flourish anything it touches and help ideas come to life.
During my student years, I started working. I liked the feeling of being an adult with obligations and responsibilities (well, most of the time anyway). Having inspiring & lovely people around, a stable job, and a diploma, I was not to complain. However, I would argue that asking for more isn’t a complaint, more of a drive to achieve my full potential.
I had a lot to learn in marketing and wanted to learn from professionals and practice the knowledge gained from them. So, in the meantime, I was looking for employment opportunities in the marketing department. However, I had trouble finding a job to make me feel enthusiastic enough to leave my current job.
Then I saw the open call for SEO Interns at Manaferra and quickly realized it was time for me to make another important decision.
Leaving a full-time Job for an Internship & 3 Next Steps
As I mentioned, I saw their open call, SEO was a term I was simply familiar with, and something I had recently taken an interest in. So, at first, I started my research into the Manaferra company—I wanted to know the service they offered, their clients, and anything I could find, really!
I was digging on every one of their website pages and their social media accounts, with my investigator’s gloves on. Pictures do speak more than words, and I could already see that the environment was fit for creative minds to blossom.
I decided, I wrote my cover letter, updated my CV, and applied.
After a few days, I got an email saying I was invited for an interview. It wasn’t a common interview invitation, some SEO resources were attached to help me prepare for it, and I assumed that the interview wouldn’t be ordinary either. And it wasn’t. All the questions were based on the material they had sent me to read. I came out of the interview satisfied and impressed (I liked that they seemed to care more about my ability to learn rather than what knowledge I gathered before). I had the impression of an innovative and forward-thinking company that I would be honored to be a part of.
Another few days passed before they congratulated me on passing the interview successfully and sent me an assignment with a time limit of 3 days to be completed. The task was not very difficult as it had all the right instructions attached, and it was explained in the simplest way. Plus, if we didn’t understand anything, we had the opportunity to ask via email, but that wasn’t really needed at all. This whole process contributed to making me feel like I made the right decision—the fact that they did not put me through horrible difficulties, but took it upon them to create the right environment and processes to make everyone feel welcomed, able to learn, and appreciated. So, naturally, I was able to present my best self at Manaferra.
Being unique and more contemporary than almost any company in Kosovo, Manaferra saw it necessary to know the personality of potential interns. For this, I was invited to a second interview. (Ohh, I forgot to mention that before the first interview, I had read a lot of articles on how to behave and what to say in the interview, but after reading the same tips over and over again, I realized that all I have to do is, be myself and honest in my answers). I had fun in the second interview as if it were a morning coffee with good people chatting about beliefs, passions, and the meaning of things in general.
2 Weeks of Training & Meeting the Team
What these two weeks meant for me:
- I felt proud of myself that I went through the previous stages, and I was among the seven most successful applicants.
- I was getting free training in a field that I was quite passionate about.
- I was meeting people with common interests, and It felt like most likely, I would be a part of such a team.
Let’s stay on the team part and how they warmly welcomed us on our first day. As expected, we first introduced ourselves. Some of the team wasn’t new to me necessarily, because I already knew them from the research I had done before applying (obviously, I didn’t mention this at the time). After introductions, Granit (Head of Search) showed us around the office, the ODA, and my happy place (the kitchen), and he made sure we felt comfortable using what we needed.
There is a big plant in the middle of the office which had dried at the time after being watered more than it needed to. Now she is healthy and gives life to the office, and it almost feels as if we’re growing together.
The cupboards are filled with books that you can take and read at home. If I had to choose where to sit to work, it would be difficult to decide as “every corner“ (çdo kënd) has a nice view. Plus, there’s music playing all the time in the office, which is now taken care of by Arta (our resident DJ, who is also one of the interns that recently moved to be a full-time Jr. Content Specialist).
After a while, we moved on to the space named ODA. ODA, similar to what the name represents, is the place where things are taken quite seriously there. So in there, Faton held a presentation on the culture of the company, Granit familiarized us with the work in SEO, and Dafina explained the basics of content marketing. Within one day, I had learned a ton of new things, and it was going to continue for another nine days (more, if lucky).
A Day as an Intern at Manaferra
A day as an intern at Manaferra is the same as a regular employee’s day since everyone here is considered equal.
The working day in Manaferra starts at 08:00 (with the flexibility to arrive until 08:15), and if we’re late, we make-up by working after 17:00. After turning the computer on and making ourselves a coffee, we join the morning scrum, where we all explain what we did the day before and our tasks for the day.
During my time as an SEO intern, my tasks were mainly focused on link building. Considering it was something new for us, Anila and Egzona made sure we felt comfortable to ask everything we needed. One of the benefits of being with other interns was that we shared our thoughts and things that we learned with each other.
We have two breaks during the day, a one-hour lunch break at 12:00 and a short break at 15:00 that lasts 15min. On our short break, we usually play Uno, Jenga, or chat with each other. During the first days of work, playing Uno was very quiet, and we all felt a little guilty when we had a +4 for someone, and now—it’s war. As for Jenga, Anila and Valon are always ready with cameras to capture the moment of loss. I found it funny and part of our daily banter was saying the same thing in our dialect since we all come from different parts of Kosovo (heads up, Vesa has the most unique one).
Ohh, and in the first weeks, we would all become weather experts as soon as we would run out of words. 🙂
So, everything was going great. I quickly adapted to the work and the team until something unexpected happened—the pandemic’s spread.
Working from Home
The pandemic changed everything, the lockdown was enforced, and social distancing became the new norm. So, our only option was remote work.
Working from home was something completely new to me, and challenging, considering that I was an intern not yet independent in my work. However, thanks to good management and a team ready to support each other, it didn’t take me long to adapt. We were in touch all the time, and we followed many online SEO trainings, which we then discussed with each other.
We also held daily chill talks with the whole team, which was, consequently, our reason for getting out of our PJs in the first few days. That didn’t last long; very soon, we had those chats with our cameras turned off, enjoying the softness of our designated work PJs.
So, this work-from-home time turned into a very productive time for us (we hit record productivity levels!).
After the quarantine came to an end, we went back to the office, adhering to the rules, taking care of ourselves, and others.
Things to keep in mind:
- “Interns only perform menial tasks, like photocopying documents and preparing coffee for others.”. Unfortunately, that isn’t merely a myth; however, it doesn’t stand at Manaferra.
- The importance of the people you work with is just as important as the work itself. Here, everyone gets excited about the achievements of others.
- SEO is a great career choice; nowadays, almost everyone uses search engines (google, bing, youtube, etc.), and brands want to reach these people. Search engines are here to stay. So is SEO and marketing, and jobs in the industry, too.
- SEO 101 terms: To familiarize yourself with SEO (and leave awesome impressions on employers!).
- If you come to our office and it’s surrounded by children, don’t worry, you didn’t miss the address; they’re neighbor kids who occasionally come in for water or play with our emoji pillows.
- Last but not least, always share your food with us <3.