Being an Intern at Manaferra
So, I finished my studies, had my share of traveling, exploring, and living a life with little to no responsibilities. Being 22, it was now time for me to start adulting. And that meant finding a place decent enough to deserve eight hours of my day, where I could be useful in, challenged by, and appreciated in. (One might say I have high standards, but I think when it comes to things you invest time on – friendships, love, work – you should never settle.) Simply said, I had to find a job.
So, the job hunting began. Having studied English language and literature (and a bit of Cultural Studies in my exchange studies) and NOT wanting to work on the traditional professions my degree offered – teaching or translating – I had no idea what I was even looking for while searching on countless job seeking portals. But then I randomly see this ad by Manaferra looking for interns on SEO & Content writing. Having a great interest in writing on one side and the world of digital marketing on the other, being a content writer made sense. Their requirements were simple, just to be creative, speak English, and be “eager to learn” (or “i untë me mësu”), a slogan I found cool. An internship was not what I was initially looking for, but I was intrigued and decided to give it a go since at least it was a paid internship (which you don’t easily find in Kosovo). So, I applied…
My first contact with Manaferra was virtual, stalking my way through their website and social media accounts – the natural thing for a millennial to do. I found them professional at first sight and the offices, pictures of which they had recently posted, very inviting. They seemed to really invest themselves in finding the right people to join their staff. They even had this whole program planned out; they’d chose eight applicants to train for two weeks and THEN decide on four of them to actually join the internship. Too much work for just an internship, one might say. One might have found it a hassle, one might have been scared away, I found it challenging. And I love challenges!
Fast forward to the interview. I had been previously sent some materials to read from on content writing (which my procrastinating self read that morning on the way there). That made me realize the interview would be unconventional, but I still expected the usual ‘Tell me something about yourself’ question. There was, of course, no such thing!
I was asked relevant questions about content writing and the field of digital marketing, which seemed fair enough rather than me needlessly telling them about my hobbies or why I’m the right person for the job. Therefore, skipped were the template answers on what my strengths and weaknesses are, and the unoriginal answer ‘I’m hardworking, a fast learner, and a good team player.’ Anyhow, the interview went well, I think. The interviewers were nice and paid close attention to what I was saying. One of them, Ujëbardha (which is now my close colleague) was even taking notes the whole time. Bottom line is that it went well and I left the room knowing I’d be called back. Humble, I know.
The callback & training period
I was emailed back after a few days being told I passed the interview step; along came a writing assignment to finish. After submitting it I got emailed back again with the final Yes, and finally arrived the time I came in the office as a potential intern. It was a Tuesday and I came late. Safe to say, I did not make the best first impression.
I was warmly welcomed, though, and so began my experience at Manaferra. The other seven chosen applicants were also female, which was distinctive but nice, still. They were all smart, young ladies of different backgrounds from whom I also learned a lot from. One had studied Marketing, others Law, Physics and Engineering; it was a mishmash of majors but we all had digital marketing as a common interest. At the end of the day, passions often do not correlate with our majors, so it was good (and rare) to know that there ARE recruiters that care about how eager you are to learn more than about how much experience you have.
Along with a cup of coffee, we were led to the meeting room, or ‘oda’ as they call it. After first making us feel flattered letting us know we were chosen among over 200 applicants, a workshop by Faton (the CEO), Granit, and Ujëbardha followed.
The whole two weeks went by so very fast, yet it was probably the two weeks I grew most professionally. I asked, listened, and learned a lot. Granit was the supervisor of the SEO team, and Ujëbardha was ours, the Content team, however, they both answered to each and every one of our inquiries. They even encouraged us to ask whatever we wanted. A warm and friendly environment was created as a result, yet it was kept professional and strict. Yes, there is such thing apparently. I might be biased since I was one of the ones who went on being interns, but I really did enjoy walking into the office every day of those two weeks.
About content writing
I was already used to writing on a weekly basis, having had various essays and research papers and so and so assignments to do during my studies, but now I was introduced to this whole new world of writing. I call it underwriting. At university, I would have to write as formally as I could since I had an academic audience. In content writing, the audience changes constantly; I might have to write specifically for working moms one day and for environmental activists the other.
But what all of the articles I write need to have in common is being User & SEO friendly. And what that means is basically that I need to write content that people want to read but also rank high on search engines. And that, from what I’ve been taught, is all about optimizing, and using the right keywords and putting the right headings.
The thing I enjoy most is that I get to research and write about various different fields on a daily basis. And who wouldn’t want to do that for a living? I broaden my horizon with knowledge and get to write my take on things every day, and the best thing is that I’m given the platform to have my voice heard.
Apart from content writing, I was also given the chance to contribute to Manaferra’s social media accounts, given my passion for photography, catchy lines, and overall keen eye for everything aesthetically pleasing.
The actual internship
After the two-week trial period, the actual internship starts. It is supposed to last from 2 to 6 months, but I was told from the beginning that its length depends on one’s own performance and can even only last as little as two months (which I am hoping is the case for myself since I’m nearing the end of my two months).
By the time I was accepted to be an intern, I was already accustomed to the place. I was surrounded by people who I felt proud to be surrounded by. We had this weekend trip to the mountains wherein we all got to know each other a little better and I got to talk to a part of the staff that I hadn’t earlier. Everyone is now friendly, funny and nice.
What strikes me is that we interns are treated as regular employees, and every employee is treated as an equal. Everyone has their daily tasks to finish which everyone has access to, so everything is transparent. We have our daily scrum meeting at 8:30, so it’s best to make it to the office by that time the latest. The workday starts at 08:00 but the management tries to make it flexible for us commuting sleepyheads that can’t make it on time every day. Therefore, one can come a half hour later which can be compensated by working till 5:30 and finish one’s eight hours (not including lunch break). As for the scrum meeting, it’s very useful since it makes us work as a team even though our tasks are individual. We share what we did the day prior, what we have planned to do that day, and whether we faced any problems (which the supervisors are always ready to help with after the meeting).
The modern, spacious, and comfortable office really does make a difference in motivation at work. The modern laptops and PCs, too, on that note. We also have a little library in the office (actual relevant books, not just ones for decor purposes) which we’re encouraged to read. On the other hand, Faton makes sure to address each of our concerns such as facilities, work environment, etc.
All these result in making a comfortable environment where we can be our most productive and creative selves. Therefore, being an intern at Manaferra LLC, I am respected and my ideas are listened to and considered valuable. I feel useful, challenged, and appreciated, the very three things I looked for from the start.