student

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…

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!

As An Advertising Student, This Offends Me…

What is the point in people studying advertising, or putting money into creating an advert to showcase your brand or product if the advert itself is absolutely shocking?! This morning, as I’m minding my own business trying to get on with uni work (coincidentally Advertising Management work), I have ITV on in the background watching This Morning, and BAM, there I see this horrific advert during the break. This is the offensive Kitty Bingo advert…

Is it me or is it just terrible? I understand that these two women are probably what you would stereotype “crazy cat ladies”, however would it even appeal to others who are stereotyped the same? I can’t understand the audience or how it would even appeal to anyone. Not to mention the acting is shocking.

I can’t really imagine why someone would pay for that advert to be created, even the clouds in the background look like a child’s drawing. If this is all they could of afforded then sadly I think they would have been better spending their money elsewhere. There’s no need to come up with shockingly bad adverts when there are so many different and creative ways of getting the message across.

However, after ranting about everything I hate about the advert, I will actually give them some credit… the cats are cute.

How Important is Picking Your Placement Year?

Manchester City

As a second year University student I’m about to make, yet another, big decision which will affect my future career. As I’ve chosen to do a sandwich year before I graduate – otherwise known as a year in industry – my second year is all about getting the placement. Most placement opportunities are based around the idea that you take your placement with them, learn the basics in that year, then come back to them when you graduate as your full-time career. But what if I’m not 100% sure what I want my full time job to be when I graduate?

As I’m studying Advertising & Brand Management and I am an intern at a digital marketing agency, I have a lot of different possible routes I could go down and all are very different careers. My options are so spread out it’s difficult to decide what’s right for me – especially in the areas where I haven’t have much real life experience in. So far all the huge blue chip companies are advertising their placement opportunities and almost ALL are in London. Great city but no thanks, not for me, I’d rather stay in Manchester! So all these available opportunities don’t apply to me, and I’ll have to wait till after Christmas to start seeing the Manchester based placement opportunities. Thankfully Manchester is full of great agencies and companies and is growing in becoming a major city for business.

Hopefully a placement opportunity comes up giving me experience in all different areas to give me a better idea about what area I can see myself working in, and is based in Manchester. If anyone has any tips or experiences on getting a placement year, all comments are welcome! I don’t really like the pressure of potentially picking my future job in the next few months, but I suppose nothing is set in stone. Things are still subject to change. Come on Manchester, let’s hope you offer the perfect placement…

(image from personalcareermanagement.com)

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…

Social Media Addiction – Is It Real?

facebookaholic(Image from brandalsurga.blogspot.com

I, like many others, am the stereotypical young person who is always looking at some sort of screen. If it’s not my Blackberry, then its my Nook tablet or my Dad’s iPad, or my laptop or my TV. Sometimes I am even looking at 3 at once!

As most people, I can access Facebook and Twitter on my mobile so I can easily check what’s going on no matter where I am, and yes, I probably check them too much (every 2 minutes isn’t normal, right?). I use these as a newspaper when I am commuting, whether I’m on a bus, tram or train I will scroll through my news feed to see if anything new is going on. I use Twitter to tell me life events rather than watching the news, and I’ll have a group conversation via Facebook as opposed to meeting up in person. Surely everyone else does the same thing though? I think as a society we’ve got to a point where it’s normal but could it actually be classed as an addiction?

I’m sure plenty of people know what I’m talking about when you leave the house and leave your phone behind, you feel ‘lost’ without it. Many Blackberry users have been known to see the red light (the notification alert) even when there are no notifications, but they are adamant they have seen it. I will hold my hands up and say I have been sure in the past I’ve seen the red light when I in fact have not.

I have read an article from The Telegraph (I read it online, surprise surprise) explaining a study which was undertaken to see if people who claim to be addicted to social media have withdrawal symptoms when they go without Facebook and Twitter. Indeed they found out they did get withdrawal symptoms when they were forced to go cold turkey.

What would happen to people like me if Facebook, Twitter, or even mobiles were to disappear? Would we need to go to social media rehab?