Job Description and Executive Summary
- Your Home Supply
Jim Richardson, Site Supervisor
Messiah College Internship Center
Michael Blount, Internship Advisor
At my internship for Your Home Supply, I’ll be acting as a web developer and affiliate marketing program manager in addition to other jobs and projects that I may be assigned. I am responsible for maintaining the front end and back end of the company website as well as managing the company’s affiliate marketing campaign. I do some work with accounting but a large portion of my internship will be spent doing split testing and creating web media and layouts to determine what is the most effective approach to our market audience. I create and manage inventory lists, data feeds and product catalogues as requested. I also write and publish content on for web pages on the company site as well as the company blog and social media sites that I will also me managing.
I interned at a company called Your Home Supply. Your Home Supply is an online retail store that specializes in hardware. I work under the supervision of Jim Richardson, the Vice President of the company. We sell cabinet hardware, bath hardware and door hardware. When the company originally began, there was a more varied offering including some power tools, gardening tools and even vacuum parts. The company is about six years old. As Your Home Supply grew, the product categories became more refined and resulted in the products available today.
Your Home Supply is still what could be considered to be a “start-up company” as it is still relatively young and there only eight employees presently working for the company. Despite its small size, Your Home Supply is partnered with a sister company called Stone Mill Hardware. Technically I work for both companies. To the outside world, they are two separate entities, but they are really two faces of the same group of people. Stone Mill Hardware is the hardware line of Your Home Supply. We have a warehouse that houses our entire Stone Mill Hardware inventory and we are able to ship directly to the customers. Your Home Supply also carries other brands of hardware; however we have to perform a “drop-ship” for those items. This means that we notify that other company of an order and they ship to the customer for us.
My objectives were to learn and improve in the areas of web design and development, design webpages that will increase conversion rates and decrease bounce rates, grow a successful affiliate marketing program, and grow more comfortable with managing projects as well as improving time management skills. My portfolio shows the success that I have had in all of these areas and will give proof that I have met my objectives.
As for my actual responsibilities at the company, I have been charged with a smattering of different job titles and descriptions. I am responsible for managing the affiliate marketing program, maintaining the company website for both Your Home Supply and Stone Mill Hardware as well as heading all graphic design ventures and creatives made for publication and advertisement. I am responsible for coordinating with all necessary companies in developing our website its usability. This means that I am in charge of split-testing various aspects of the site to determine the most effective way of reaching our market. I also do a number of small accounting tasks such as invoicing for Stone Mill Hardware.
When beginning my internship, I had very little idea what I was actually going to be doing. I knew that there would be a great deal of online work but I was not sure what that entailed. I have been working on our SEO (search engine optimization) campaign since I started here. In summary, that means that I am trying to get the company website to show up at the top of Google when specific and related keywords are searched. That is where my internship started and it has not stopped moving and growing since I began.
The work that I do could be considered as a number or series of smaller projects comprising a much larger project. That being said, I have spent a lot of time creating and maintaining spreadsheets to keep track of the products we offer. This has been useful as we are often selling our products on different sites such as QVC, Sears and other similar retail venues. My spreadsheets have been used extensively both internally and externally. Other projects include photographing our product line, editing the images, and making them available for our site to use as well as send them to other companies, creating banners and advertisements to be used both locally on our site, as well as on countless other publisher sites that I manage within our affiliate marketing program.
As I said, when I began my internship, I had very little knowledge of what I was going to be doing. There have certainly been things that I have been ill-prepared for, but that was just part of the job. My boss believes in essentially pushing you off the edge and counting on you to figure out how to fly on your own. That teaching technique has been invaluable and it has been something that I have been developing over the past year while working here. I had a very basic knowledge of programs such as Microsoft Excel and Photoshop but I have been able to teach myself a great deal through online resources as well as trial and error. In addition to the previously mentioned programs, I also had a very basic knowledge of HTML code however at my internship, I am required to understand and find what I need in rows and rows of code. I have been able to develop a much better grasp of the code language as a result of my work on the company website.
For future plans, I will continue to work at Your Home Supply. They have offered me a full-time job. As of November 1, I technically became a fully benefited employee and I am enjoying having a “real” job. With it comes even more responsibility, but I am doing something that I actually enjoy doing and I work with great people that are a pleasure to be around and work closely with. In discussing with my supervisor, it seems that the plan is for me to grow the company as well as grow with the company. We will be branching out to a wider range of distribution which means that there may yet be more companies added to our small staff. Jim is a visionary who is constantly looking for new ways to increase sales, grow the business and change the way that we reach our customers. I will be assisting as well as leading in these new endeavors.
At the beginning of the semester, I identified two competencies that I improve upon. They were “managing time and priorities” and “balancing work and life.” I believe that I have also seen some success in becoming more competent in these areas. For managing time and priorities I have improved the way that I make lists and accomplish tasks given to me. The projects that I work on are often time sensitive and need to be finished in a timely manner. By using lists to itemize the steps necessary to finish the project as a whole, I am able to complete the project on time while being sure that I am thorough and complete in my work.
My balance of work and life has also been improved. That is not to say that it was easy. Although, I am only taking two classes this semester, I have been working 40 hours a week and maintaining full attendance in my classes. Work and school, however, are still work to me so that leaves the balance between work and home life. I have been able to start work earlier so I can return home and take care of my responsibilities at home earlier. With that extra time that I then have, I can spend time with my family and friends and enjoy getting away from the office and the classroom. I do not have much longer until I graduate and I know it will be a busy few weeks, but afterwards, my schedule will become much easier to manage. There is still room for more improvement, of course, but I have certainly come a ways from where I once was. Overall this internship has been an incredibly positive experience for me.
In terms of academic preparation, I was well informed and ready for a job in my field of study. The most helpful classes were the ones that honed my writing skills as well as fed my desire to study and involve myself in media. There are, of course, some things that the classroom did not prepare me for. This is not a bad thing by any means. I was able to perform right away, however, as I mentioned before, there were skills that I had to learn on the job that I may not have been able to foresee until I actually began my job. I do not know if anyone can ever be fully prepared to enter the “real world” but I felt just about as prepared as I could be. I believe that there is real merit in continuing to learn and not becoming complacent with the knowledge that you have but rather to press on and learn more through real life experience.