Intern Life

Life Of An Intern

Chronicles of the student worker

This is my first update since writing  “Life of an Intern — Week 1.”  So much for keeping a weekly update.

I thought now would be just a nice time to reflect at my time at Nordstrom. For those that don’t know, I was/am the Social Media Marketing Intern at Nordstrom in downtown Seattle. As a senior marketing student at UW, this was my first real-world experience in a LARGE company. I was scared, nervous, not quite sure what to expect. I had plenty of online marketing experience prior to this position, but would they actually let me own my own work? What if I make spelling and grammar errors while writing a tweet?

Turns out, being an intern is amazing. Arguably, much better than actually being an employee. I’m fortunate to have had my internship extended to stay on with the company part-time while I am finishing my degree. Some lessons I have learned at my time in Nordstrom:

You will mess up. Own it. Learn from it.
One of my main projects this summer was to take on content curation for Nordstrom’s Twitter account. Now I have tweeted for more than a handful of businesses and company accounts, but none with over 500k followers. I was excited, but nervous. Needless to say, my first typo arrived about 3 weeks in. And what a stupid one it was…I misspelled “plaid” with “plad.” I remember the my heart racing after receiving the email that there was a typo on the tweet that was sent out. Needless to say this was a learning lesson and I owned up to the mistake. Mistakes happen on every level of the business, and it is ok as long as you make effort to learn from your mistakes.

Take Risks and Don’t Give Up.
One major project I’ve had the pleasure of doing at Nordstrom is launching and executing our presence on Reddit. As an intern, I was told to think of some new social platforms that Nordstrom could be on. While Reddit is not ‘new’ per say, there is a ton of fashion conversation happening on the platform. Reddit is not a platform that encourages marketing or brand accounts even so it was a very tricky, and scary, place to go into. We had to be more transparent with our verbiage on that platform vs. our normal verbiage on twitter or facebook. The users didn’t like to hear from ‘Nordstrom’, rather they wanted to hear from ‘JB on the Social Media team at Nordstrom’.

To help provide value to the Reddit community, we decided to do some AMAs with some of most popular buyers. Our first AMA, while great in traffic and numbers, was brutal. Users called us out as being too corporate and it didn’t go as expected at all. We learned from this and continued to do more AMAs and have found a way to be transparent enough to provide value to the Reddit community. Just shows that you can’t stop trying if it doesn’t work once. Because if you stop, your work may never be picked up by the press and show up in multiple articles.

Be prepared and eager to learn.
I have learned more about marketing holistically in 6 months at Nordstrom than I have all in my college years. You are not in a classroom anymore where you and your peers are equal, your in a company with smart, diverse backgrounds. To get the most out of your internship, or job, be eager to speak with everyone. I’ve met with folks who have been with Nordstrom for 20+ years and folks who are new to the company with backgrounds in Amazon and agencies.

We hold a monthly online marketing meeting and during the first meeting I was able to attend, I was in awe at the breath of information I took in. All those buzzwords you learn in college courses, all those abbreviations, those came in handy. The meeting was like a condensed version of an entire marketing class to me. All in all, be ready to learn.

The life of an intern isn’t so bad after all. It is actually pretty damn amazing. You can mess up, make mistakes, ask questions, look stupid, as long as you learn and come back the next day better. Last but not least, HUGE s/o to the amazing social team at Nordstrom for teaching, supporting, and pushing me.

Disclaimer: All views and opinions are my own

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Javaad Beg

Javaad is a junior studying marketing at the University of Washington. He is passionate about startups, tech, and all things social. Tweet him — @javaadbeg