Toufan Bracke is studying BSc International Business and took an internship over the Summer of 2022 at LinkedIn, in Ireland.
‘During the autumn term of my second year, I started to look for work experience. I used the advice from Nicola Urquhart, my lecturer on careers and employability, to build a strong CV, take psychometric tests and do well in interviews.
I quickly realised that the best way to find a job and get noticed by recruiters was by having a strong LinkedIn presence. The first thing I decided to do is to attend an event from the university on how to build a strong profile on the platform – which was really helpful.
The key to an offer is perseverance. It took me approximately 40 applications to receive three offers. The first and the second offer were interesting, but it was the final one that piqued my interest. One afternoon as I was studying at the Sibson Building within Kent Business School, I received a call from Ireland to say I had been selected as part of LinkedIn’s first EMEA cohort of summer interns!
On 13th June 2022, I was boarding my plane at London Heathrow Airport, destination Dublin, Ireland. I stepped off the plane, grabbed my suitcases and made my way to Grand Canal Square where a lady showed me my apartments. Yes, LinkedIn pays for the accommodation of its summer interns, includes breakfast and lunch, and offers a competitive salary!
Despite the great Irish weather, I couldn’t wait to explore Ireland, meet my fellow interns and colleagues, gain practical work experience and see what the office looked like. As I stood in my penthouse overlooking the Liffey River, I felt proud of myself.
The next day the other interns and I agreed to go to a local pub to get to know each other. We walked along the Liffey River and entered a typical Irish pub where, of course, I ordered a Guinness. There were two engineering interns and 15 sales interns. They came from all over Europe – Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
On my first day, I put my nicest suit on, as many other interns did; but the moment we stepped in the office, we realised we looked ridiculous – people in media and tech don’t tend to wear suits! We were given a company breakfast and treated with great respect from the word go. Everyone at LinkedIn is generous with their time, and I never felt out of my depth or worried to speak up.
Four things kept me busy during my time at LinkedIn: an online course for interns, a video project, work shadowing and a customer engagement summer project. I focused on the course first so I could get it out of the way. It taught essentials about the company structure and values, as well as some sales and management skills.
My first session of work shadowing was with the BeNeLux SMB team, where each team member evaluated a recording of a sales pitch they did. I also attended a sales pitch for an American company which recently penetrated the European market. It gave me firsthand à delete repeated word experience first-hand what it’s like selling to big brands. Moreover, I was taught about the company’s products and how commissions work.
As part of my video project, I was put on a team with four other interns and we all had to produce a small movie related to DIBs (diversity, inclusion, belonging). I decided to interview employees from different ages and backgrounds. Hopefully, the video was instructive for people inside and outside the business
Finally, I had the opportunity to work on a summer project to increase customer engagement, I decided a good way to go about it was to interview sales managers from different markets. Their insight was really helpful and by combining it with some of my research, I discussed a new customer engagement strategy with my line manager. I was over the moon to find out it was implemented as part of the customer engagement strategy for the financial year 2023.
LinkedIn organised all sorts of events like InDay, which is a day entirely dedicated to the company’s employees and other opportunities like a tour of Dublin and the Guinness storehouse, and a trip to the Wicklow Mountains. Overall, doing a summer internship at LinkedIn was probably the best work experience I could wish for. I had the opportunity to live and discover a new country, gain practical work experience, learn new skills, expand my professional network, save up some money, increase my employability and make friends for life.
For anyone still hesitating to apply for summer internships, I strongly recommend it – you will learn so much about the world around you and most importantly about yourself.’
Toufan Bracke is studying International Business and took an internship last summer with LinkedIn. Watch our video explaining our commitment to employability.