Before applying for internships, I found myself in a position I’m sure many senior students have been in; I was not sure which direction I wanted to take for my career. However, I did know I wanted to find a position that would ultimately help me accomplish one of my biggest goals- to one day own my own business. While doing my research, I came across an opportunity to intern for a Social Media Marketing team at Vision One Mortgage, Inc. After researching the company, I discovered that although the company had been around for years, the social media team at this branch was fairly new (only about 2 years old). I would be their second intern. Though I plan on pursuing a career in marketing after graduation, the real estate and mortgage industry was never something I had in mind. Despite this, I decided to apply and I am so glad I did. I gained unexpected marketing experience. First, I am going to explain to you how Vision One Mortgage, Inc. works and why I decided to intern with them. Then I am going to discuss the skills and knowledge I gained that ultimately led to a job after graduation!

Upon meeting with the branch manager, Minh Nguyen, for my interview he explained to me that Vision One Mortgage, Inc. is unique in comparison to other mortgage companies. With the rise of social media in this day and age, he wanted to leverage it in a way not many other professionals in the mortgage/real estate industry have. Not many people understand the home-buying/loan process. When it comes to buying a house, it’s important buyers understand what they are getting into. Minh took notice of this problem and he wanted to find a way to inform consumers by giving them information on the home-buying/loan process. He began putting together a social media team who would help him make this idea come to life. Aside from running advertisements for the company, the team began making video blogs with weekly tips on the company’s Instagram and Facebook business page. Shortly after, many people were viewing and sharing his videos, which in turn started to bring in more business for the company. He learned that giving information creates value. This is a lesson I have come to learn and will keep in mind when starting my own company in the future. After gaining a large following on social media, real estate agents who worked with Vision One started to take notice and wanted to do the same. Today, his social media marketing team is not only marketing the company, but real estate agents as well. After learning of this unique idea, I found it to be the perfect opportunity for me to be involved in a team similar to a startup company in hopes that I would not only acquire new marketing skills, but I would also gain the knowledge and experience for the day I decide to develop my own startup company as well.

On my first day, I immediately found myself implementing what I had learned in my communication classes while interacting with my supervisor. He was having trouble cultivating a message that would get an audience’s attention. With my knowledge in communication and audience analysis, I helped him generate various marketing strategies for multiple audiences. Since the team is still new, my duties as an intern consisted of many tasks such as creating content (video blogs, blog posts, memes) for the company’s social media platforms, running ads, interpreting analytics, brand building and generating new marketing strategies.

Filming a video blog for SoCal Properties.

My biggest and most exciting task was building a name for the real estate agents I was assigned to work with. Each agent worked in different areas throughout Orange County and my job was to make their name known in the area. This meant that I would occasionally meet with these agents, learn about the city they work in and find something about the city that would want to make someone move to that location. This helped me exercise my audience analysis skills.

In addition to this, I was able to help these agents learn how to speak to an audience on camera. This surprised me. Real estate agents work in sales. Why would I need to teach them how to talk to an audience? When it came to filming their video blog posts, almost all of them had trouble with delivering their message through this medium. Luckily, I got to share with them some tips I acquired through my communication courses.

This experience has made me thankful for my communication classes. I was able to use my own knowledge and expertise to help others become effective communicators. Coming out of this experience, I feel as though I’ve not only grown as a communicator, but as a person. The environment and colleagues I was surrounded with at Vision One Mortgage allowed me to be my creative self and to always strive to think outside of the box. Working for a team that had just recently developed gave me the insight into what it takes to run a startup company. I watched ideas come to life and see them either fail or succeed. Additionally, I was able to network with professionals in the industry who have now offered to hire me to market for them after I graduate! Even though I never envisioned myself working in the real estate/mortgage industry, I’m glad I was able to step out of my comfort zone and I advise every student to not be afraid to do the same.