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5 in 5! with pet insurance website Trupanion

March 14, 2011

Akvile Harlow

Today, we talked to Akvile Harlow, an intern-turned-full-time-marketing-specialist for one of our favorite business concepts yet — a pet insurance website. Here are five questions for Trupanion.

How did you get started in the industry? How can someone who is interested in your work get started?

I always had an interest in marketing, especially online, so after I graduated from college, I began looking for work in that area. I came across an internship at Trupanion, a pet insurance company based out of Seattle, and I applied. Soon after, I joined Trupanion’s e-commerce team as their web communications/marketing intern. After several months, I was given an opportunity to showcase my skills and ideas with Trupanion’s Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing campaigns. Shortly afterward, I was hired full-time as their web marketing/PPC specialist. Almost two years later, I am still here, enjoying every aspect of this industry, company, and position.

Trupanion sells insurance packages that insure pet owners against costly medical bills for their pets.

If you are interested in working in any aspect of online marketing, whether it is PPC, search engine optimization (SEO) or social media, a great way to get started is to spend time researching, learning, reaching out to other professionals in the field to gain insight and advice. Most importantly, land an internship to get some hands-on experience. Work hard, ask questions, show enthusiasm and interest, and you may just land a great job opportunity!

What’s the future of your industry or job?

The future is looking bright for the pet insurance industry as a whole, as well as for internet based jobs like my own. The pet insurance industry has been around since the ’80s, and only in recent years has it been picking up a tremendous amount of momentum. Medical bills are expensive for us humans, and are just as expensive for our furry companions. At Trupanion, we help cat and dog owners in Canada and the United States by covering 90% of their vet bills for accidents and illnesses. With continuous advances in technology — the Internet being one of them — many jobs are being created to accommodate technological growth in order to expand growth and visibility of businesses online.

What do you look for when you hire an intern or entry-level candidate?

An ideal intern should be self-motivated, display interest in expanding their professional skills, and show enthusiasm. Make sure to voice your ideas, be a team player and showcase your skills.

What is one thing an intern can do to make a favorable impression?

Be enthusiastic! If you are motivated and enthusiastic, it shows that you want to be there, learn more and be a part of something bigger. If you aren’t enthused and motivated to do well, it will be challenging to continue down your career path.

Can you share a positive intern story and an intern horror story? No names needed …

From personal experience, I can attest that if you work hard and you’re reliable and enthusiastic as an intern, you can be presented with full-time job opportunities once your internship ends. Prior to coming to Trupanion, I interned at another company where there were several interns within one department. I observed an intern being let go prior to their internship end date because they did not take the job seriously. Being tardy, not putting forth maximum effort on projects and not becoming a part of the team can definitely reflect poorly. Just work hard and you will be rewarded!

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