Intern

All posts relating to life as an intern, internships or the unit of my University course called “Agency Life”.

I Failed Graphic Design

It’s close to that scary time in a Placement Year – my first ever appraisal. I have my appraisal tomorrow with the big bad boss (who actually isn’t big or bad and is probably reading this… Hi Caroline!) and it’s got me thinking about what I’ve been up to in the past six months.

I have to fill in a “Student Self-Assessment” beforehand ready to take into the meeting so I have been writing a list of things I’ve done so far. The majority of things on the list are design tasks, which cover anything from leaflets to reports. It’s been interesting to work on such a variety of projects and give me experience working with different documents. Usually we get most things created by designers who will then print them too, but a few tasks I’ve actually created from start to finish in house and have been able to send them onto printing companies for the final stage. This essentially is cutting out the designers fee altogether – which in my opinion are all overpriced in the first place.

Tip: if you’re a student with basic Photoshop and Illustrator skills then create a graphic design company, I bet you’ll be better than half of the ‘designers’ out there already and you’ll rake in the money. Rant over.

To name a few I’ve designed a new complaints leaflet which was originally created by professional graphic designers. I designed the Junior Newsletter which gets sent out once a year to approximately 7,000 junior members of the credit union. I’m currently working on the credit union’s annual report which holds facts and figures of the past year and predictions for the future.

Who would have thought that I, the girl who scraped a D in AS Level Graphic Design (and had to drop it) am designing things for the biggest Police credit union in the UK?

Another thing this appraisal has got me thinking about is what I want to do in the future. Obviously the design side of things I enjoy a lot, but also the media planning side of things. Deciding what adverts are being sent where and what e-newsletters/ads we’re going to send to who and when. Another thing I really enjoy is being able to go out and be the face of the company – kind of like PR – as you get to meet some really interesting people and you can portray your company/service however you wish.

Working for a smaller company with fewer employees allows you to learn about so many different things, so anyone reading this blog who’s looking for a placement year don’t just aim to work for a company because you’ve heard of their name. At the end of the day you’re going to be a small cog in a large wheel and not experience as much as you possibly could elsewhere. I’ve been lucky to learn many things about what I DO want to do in the future.

Does my Placement Year have to end?

After quite a few busy months settling into my Placement Year I’m back blogging! So far I’ve completed nearly 5 months as a Marketing Assistant at No1 CopperPot Credit Union and guess what…I love it!!!

So, what’s my job like? No1 CopperPot is a credit union exclusively for the Police. Not only has it taught me about the financial world but it’s let me take a peak into the world of the Police too. My job is to spread the word of the credit union to Police Officers and deal with the promotional material/gifts we give away, create the adverts, develop/work on the website, travel to different Police events/dinners/conferences and be the face of No1 CopperPot…and I’m sure there’s more than that but you get the picture! I don’t work on my own though, I have a partner in crime…Helene! Helene and I make up the marketing team since we said bye to the last placement student Hass, who has now gone back to Uni to finish his degree.

20140919_191354The past 4 and a half months have already flew by and already taught me so much. My confidence has grew and grew, especially when it comes to meeting new people, presenting and well, just communicating in general. Already in just over four months I have travelled all around England to places such as Lincolnshire, Hampshire, Crewe, Suffolk, Harrogate, Leeds, and even up to Glasgow in Scotland! One of the most amazing nights so far has to be the Charity Dinner I went to in Harrogate to raise money for COPS UK charity. Dolled up to the nines with my fella looking dapper as ever we danced the night away after a lovely 4 course meal and stayed in a gorgeous hotel, it makes me wonder how that can be considered work?!

 

Here’s a snap from Suffolk…

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Working for the Police has given me such an insight into such a unpublicised world. Ok… it may be publicised in the news every now and again when an Officer makes a mistake but when do we see an unbiased view of what the Police do for society or how hard there job actually is? That’s it. We don’t. Going to Police conferences and hearing them speak has made me have so much more respect for Police Officers and less respect for the media.

Police: 1 – Media: 0

For anyone who may be contemplating the possibility of doing a placement year in the future I hope this blog persuades you to go for it. You learn real skills that Uni doesn’t teach you. You learn how to deal with real people in the world of business (not just chat to hungover students), and you learn how a business runs, and you find your part in that business. A Placement Year also looks so good on your CV, being able to prove you have the skills necessary to get a job is worth so much more than just saying you have a degree and assuming that makes you qualified. Plus…you get paid, if that can’t tempt you to do a placement year then I don’t know what will!

Anyway it won’t be so long before my next post, I’ll make sure of that! Laters…

Onwards and Upwards

After spending my 2nd year at Uni trying to make sure I pass the year whilst trying to sort out my plans for the following year, everything has now fallen into place. Trying to balance uni deadlines and job applications/interviews/assessments isn’t the easiest thing to do, but it is necessary if you wish to succeed. Any student who has ever tried to get a placement year will probably be able to understand how frustrating the whole process can be. Application, hope, rejection, application, hope, rejection – it’s a vicious cycle really.

Anyhow, my 2nd year is officially over and the placement hunt has been completed – I have bagged a placement year (and a good one at that)!

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After waiting weeks without hearing any news, 3 job interviews/assessments came up in the same week. Unfortunately this was the same week as my final exam. The three days before my exam were each lined up with different interviews – not the best timing really. However, as it is now the week after my exam, I am now free from uni for approximately 14 months, and I have a job to look forward too in three weeks time at a credit union! So my future plan is looking like: 1 year marketing placement, complete final year, graduate, get myself a full time graduate job. It’s all coming together quite nicely.

And people think my generation is lazy?!? Think again!

So now I have a new job that’s not so far away I obviously have a long to-do list: buy a fabulous new work wardrobe, invest in some killer work heels, make sure my handbag game is strong and celebrate with Woo-Woo cocktails till I start? It’s a hard life, isn’t it?

And The Placement Hunt Continues…

Currently I am in the same position as many other 2nd year University students who have opted for a ‘sandwich year’ – forever searching for placement opportunities, then spending hours filling in an application form or writing the perfect cover letter. Then once we’ve applied for a placement that we’d kill for, we have the long wait to see what happens even though we may not hear back from most companies.

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Sounds like lots of fun doesn’t it? No, I don’t think so either. However once you do get a call back from a company you have applied for to find out that you have made it to the next stage, there’s no better feeling! I can only imagine how good it’s going to feel whenever I get the call to say I’ve been successful through all the stages and have bagged myself a year placement…

“A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed like hopeless failure may turn into glorious success.”

I’m sure this quote is quite relevant at this moment in time. It’s keeping me going anyway!

On another note, recently I came across quite an interesting article which told the top 20 list of pointless degrees – as they’re “most likely to leave you on job seekers”. Here is the list:

20. Psychology.

19. Religious studies and theology

18. Music

17. Sport & Business Management

16. English Lit

15. Advertisement

14. Business Management

13. English Language

12. Sociology

11. Events Management

10. Accountancy

9. Film Studies

8.Ancient History

7. Media Studies

6. Primary Education

5. French

4. History

3. Criminology

2. Sport Science

1. Geography (With an Employment after 6 months as low as 36%)

I don’t think there’s anything worse a student could read whilst stressing out over assignments and deadlines that they probably won’t even get a job once they graduate! As an advertising and brand management student it wasn’t great seeing advertising as number 15 (although I’m glad I didn’t see branding or marketing on this list so I’m not completely written off). I’m pretty determined to prove them wrong!

A Day in the Life of an Intern.

First Day.

(Image from camp4collective.com

As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, my University (MMU), offers a unit in our degree which gives us the option to go out and get an internship at a marketing/advertising/PR agency. We either go out and work for one day a week, unpaid, at an agency/company and get marked in a number of different ways and it ends up going towards our 2nd year grade. If we don’t go out and get an internship you then have to attend lectures and seminars, and get marked in a different way. All in all – the ‘Agency Life’ route sounded so much more interesting so here I am…

I ended up getting an internship at a small, yet growing, digital marketing agency in Manchester city center called 3 Door Digital (which I was very happy about). I wasn’t really sure to expect, especially since I haven’t done work in this sector before – my previous job was a waitress/bar worker and now I work in a shop so you can’t really compare them. I started a week later than my friends at Uni did so as soon as I got the opportunity I asked them what their days were like, what they did and did they like it, so I could prepare myself for mine. Since one of them said “I got given a huge stack of paperwork to read through as soon as I got there”, it made me slightly less excited to start mine.

After an early start to get there for 8.30am I found myself in the office, full of chatty friendly people and realising it probably will be a pretty good year with this company. I went to a meeting with my boss at 10am, and spent 9-10 going through a strategy plan that was made for the client and added anything to it I thought was necessary. Once the meeting was over, back to the office to type out plans that had been spoken about in the meeting. Then that afternoon the person who deals with content strategy showed me how to do content writing (I think that’s what it’s called). And sooner than later the day was over! 4.30 it was the mad dash to the bus stop and the hour ride home.

Pretty good start if you ask me, can’t wait to go back. For the first time in ages I actually think I’ve gone down the right career path…

Epiphany Abroad

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After 2 weeks in sunny Costa Blanca – Spain, I’m now back in rainy Manchester, and of course – back to blogging! I thought my first blog post-holiday should be about what has been on my mind whilst in Spain.

toughdecisions (image from nightowlnews.com)

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my future and my career and what’s coming up in the next term of Uni. When I go back into what will be my 2nd year of University, I’ll be starting “Agency Life” (which is one day a week in an unpaid job in the industry related to your course – in which we get graded on), I’ll be going to my other lectures and also working. But another important factor will be applying for my Sandwich year – this is a year after the 2nd year and before the final year in which you can choose to work for a year in industry, to gain money and experience and maybe even use it to help with your final dissertation. Since my course is called Advertising and Brand Management I could take a number of different routes in choosing a job for my sandwich year. I could go into advertising, marketing, digital, branding – most routes I choose will be a guess if I’ll like them, as I’ll have had no previous experience – aside from marketing. Now for a lot of research into my possible choices.

I thought once you’ve decided what University you want to go to and what course you want to study the big decisions stop for a few years – but they keep on coming!

I would also like to thank Mama O for the Liebster Award she nominated me for http://gomamao.com/2013/07/23/virtual-hug-received-thanks/ – I didn’t know what this was when I first read it but after a lot of researching on Google I think I just about understand the concept. And a huge thank you to her no less. I’ll be replying back to this hopefully in a few week once I know who to nominate!

Agency Life….What Should I Expect?

mmuAgency Life”

As I’ve just finished my 1st year at Manchester Metropolitan University, obviously the next step is 2nd year. Man Met have invented a unit for 2nd year student which involves going to a marketing/PR/advertising agency for one day a week doing unpaid work, all to give you a taste of what life will be like when you finish University. This carries on for 2 terms and at the end you get graded on it, also some placements could employ you for extra part time work should they want to. I have already sorted out my placement for that unit, so now it’s just a waiting game.

What should I expect???

In the 1st year of University I have learnt the basics of marketing, we learn theories and concepts and are introduced to basic marketing philosophies. But all this knowledge doesn’t tell me what I’m going to be doing on a day to day basis. Dealing with clients, handling business’s social media sites, maybe blogging – I have an idea what I may be up against but I won’t know till day one…

…and I can’t wait! I have a really dull summer in store for me, full of job hunting and handing out CV’s to take up some of these 3/4 months till I start back at Uni, so I’m just waiting for summer to be over so I can start the placement. Bring. It. On.

Do you have any tips or first-day-at-work experiences? Let me know!

The Intern…(Or At Least Trying To Be!)

hilary devey(Image from Channel4.com)

Many of you may have seen Hilary Devey’s new Channel 4 show ‘The Intern’, a show giving young people a chance to get their dream job. I love the idea of it and also loved watching it too.

As I’m a University Student, I’ve just completed my first year and I’m currently in the same boat as many other youngsters trying to get a job or a summer internship. I understand how frustrating it is applying for jobs and people don’t reply back or even seeing jobs requiring ‘experience’ (yet no one will hire you or take you on in the first place to give you that experience). So when I heard about the concept of the programme I was happy, and I hope as a result of this employers in the future will be more willing to give youngsters a chance to see what we are actually capable of.

I’ve seen an article on The Telegraph of someone offended by the series – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/9969852/Hilary-Deveys-new-Channel-4-show-is-an-insult-to-interns.html but I completely disagree! I don’t think it “humiliates youngsters who are desperate for a job” – I’m assuming neither do the people who got a job out of it do either! It’s true, we ARE desperate for a job, it’s not embarrassing it’s a fact. Hilary has given youngsters an uplifted spirit and I’m going to carry on searching for a job till I get one!

What are your views of the programme? Or are you in the same situation as me and the people from the show?