Life at Fluent

Learning to be Fluent: Not Your Average Internship

Fluent Interns

Everybody has that one friend who can’t stop raving about their job. For me, that friend was an account manager at a marketing company called Fluent.

My friend started at Fluent in January 2018, and for months I had no idea exactly what the company was. I did know that Ethan loved his job and Fluent. When he told me that the company was hiring interns for the summer, I jumped at the chance to apply.

Meet the Intern

My name is James Duffy and this summer I had the incredible opportunity to work as a Fluent Sales Intern from June to August. As a journalism major with past internships at The Boston Globe and a New York State Senator’s office, applying for a sales internship was intimidating.

However, from my first interview to my final day with the company, every Fluent employee was helpful and encouraging which created a welcoming environment to learn outside the classroom.

The Internship Application Process

Applying for internships creates a stressful spring for college students. Weeks of waiting on job applications were capped off with hours of zipping through Manhattan for interviews, followed by more waiting.

Fluent made the process simple. I applied for the internship on Wednesday, May 23. By the end of that day, I had spoken to Daryl Colwell, the SVP of Sales, over the phone and set up an in-person interview for the end of that week. By the end of the month, Fluent extended an offer to join their intern program.

After applying to a dozen jobs, it was refreshing to see a company excited about hiring interns. Daryl was full of energy and excited to hear about my experience, and happy to answer any questions I had about the company. He quickly scheduled an in-person meeting for me the next day. I was interviewed by two account executives on the sales team, who shared Daryl’s interest and engagement. I felt welcomed to the Fluent family before I was hired.

By the time I accepted the offer, it meant turning down another job, but I know it was the right decision.

Fluent Internship

Settling into the Internship

I quickly realized that Fluent is a unique company and this would be a one of a kind internship. On our first day in the office, the interns toured the office that featured, among other things, a ping-pong table, arcade cabinet, and weight rack.

Every Monday started with catered breakfast. If that wasn’t already great enough, Fluent ordered lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays too.

Despite being an eight-year-old public company, which generated over $250 million in revenue during the last fiscal year, Fluent still feels like a start-up. The office has an open floor plan to encourage communication and give the office a cordial feel.

The first few weeks of the intern program were a crash course in each department in the company. I integrated into the sales team and all interns met with various teams to learn about their functions.

Fluent is the first place I have worked where there is no such thing as a stupid question. As someone new to the marketing world, I asked anyone within earshot for information and explanations, and every person was happy to answer.

Without the support of Fluent’s incredible employees, I never would have been able to step into this job so seamlessly.

Day to Day of a Fluent Intern

I was lucky enough to land a job 15 minutes from my apartment. I live in the Cobble Hill area of Brooklyn, one subway stop away from Fluent’s office on Whitehall Street. My directors did a great job of easing me into the internship, gradually adding new responsibilities each day.

My main task at Fluent was establishing the first contact with potential clients before handing off meetings to salespeople. The bulk of my work involved prospecting companies and working on outreach via phone or email.

I was able to help set up a handful of meetings over the summer, as well as sit in on sales calls nearly every day. My hands-on introduction to the internship set me out of the gate running and allowed me to grow and learn something new each week.

Fluent Interns

Branching Out

Thanks to the trust of my managers, I began writing content for a different sector of the business. I expressed that I had writing experience in the past and asked how my skills could be used. Fortunately, Fluent was in the process of launching a new content media website. I wrote 70 articles in the final few weeks of my internship to give the site a base for launch.

While this role added another piece to my daily work, I was thrilled my Fluent internship gave me the opportunity to expand my role, branch out to a different team, and expand on my existing skill set.

Working for a consumer site made it clear to me that Fluent valued its interns like everyday employees, which isn’t always the case for summer jobs. It’s one thing to not be sent on coffee runs and laundry pick-ups, but Fluent prepares and trusts interns to handle any job thrown their way.

Tips to Land a Dream Internship

My time at Fluent opened my eyes to the best approach for an internship for college students. Be confident about your strengths, but to truly succeed you need to be open about weaknesses too. I never panicked when I didn’t know something because it would constantly create learning opportunities for me. A little bit of honesty goes a long way. Be upfront about your abilities and goals. Maximize your transferable skills – things like communication, time management and problem-solving – that you can apply to any employer.

More than anything else, never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Applying for a sales internship as a journalism major was the last thought on my mind this spring. Ten weeks later, I’ve become that one friend that can’t stop talking about their job.

About The Author: James Duffy

James worked as a versatile team player for the sales team, handling any task assigned to him. He is now a junior at New York University as a journalism and history dual major.