With graduation on the horizon, I spent much of my second year hurriedly searching for a summer internship in order to gain real-life work experience and give my CV some much-needed heft. Luckily, through Durham’s Careers & Enterprise Centre, I was able to secure a 7-week stint in the marketing department of Qured, a healthcare start-up. I found out about the internship through one of the careers bulletins in Epiphany term, although it’s also easy to search for vacancies across different sectors via the jobs board itself. Given that Qured is a small company there was no long application process to wade through – having sent over my C.V. and cover letter I had a short interview in London over the Easter break before being awarded the role. With all the paperwork sorted, I swapped post-exam lie-ins for a daily London commute!
From the very beginning of my internship, I was given real responsibility for a number of key marketing areas. The majority of my tasks involved the client facing side of the business, writing articles for the website blog and managing Qured’s social media channels. Far from scrolling through Facebook all day, this involved compiling and utilising analytics data and reaching out to social media influencers in an attempt to publicise our ‘doctor-to-your-door’ services to their followers. I was also tasked with Public Relations duties. Using a tool called ResponseSource, I connected our resident doctors with journalists looking for expert health comments, giving Qured a mention in the national press as a result.
But perhaps the most interesting part of my internship was getting involved in the creative process for Qured’s upcoming winter campaign – a great opportunity for a health company to make the most of our coughs and colds! It was particularly rewarding to create the slogan that will be used in the official campaign, and maybe even catching the eye of weary commuters in Tube carriages come October.
Working for a start-up
Having launched in 2017, the team at Qured was small with only around 15 employees, but this made for a fast-paced learning environment. Far from being resigned to tea-making duty, I was given a variety of interesting tasks each day – from writing press releases for a new product launch to conducting competitor analysis. The small size of the company also allowed me to gain some much-needed experience across a variety of business areas. For example, in addition to my marketing duties, I regularly assisted the sales team with Qured’s Corporate healthcare programme. For the most part, this involved cold calls to potential clients – a task which could be difficult but also rewarding and a great way to improve my communication skills.
While graduate schemes with a large company can be seen as the only way to go, I found that working at an SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) such as Qured can be a great way to develop skills and gain experience. While SME opportunities can be harder to find, they offer the chance for rapid progression, high levels of responsibility and often less competitive entry. The Careers & Enterprise Centre is a great place to start your search.
To read more about applying for an internship in a large organisation, take a look at Soumya’s blog – Ace the internship application process.