How I found my sandwich placement – James Thompson on BA Advertising


Initially when I started looking for my placement back in December 2014, I was sending out generic emails that showed no personality – likewise on my CV, just grades and irrelevant work experience. This then led to a situation where by July of 2015 I still had not secured anything.

Despite doing many interviews and a few assessment days at big companies/agencies I found that I was always overshadowed by someone with some impressive work or had more experience. This was the time, in July 2015 that I decided that instead of feeling sorry for myself I was going to start being proactive and give myself something to help me stand out. It needed to be something not only to impress – but also to be proud of.

There were 2 things then that I needed to really get the best out of my placement year (and to get a placement):
1.    Something to make me stand out on my CV
2.    Experience

I desperately needed something to make my CV stand out – so I rekindled a dream of mine from first year in manufacturing and selling my own skateboards for a small profit. I went through the legal processes with HM Revenue & Customs and I am now the proud Owner and Founder of Marquis Skateboards as a Sole Trader. I have a couple of prototypes I have made however I have not begun going fully into production yet. I have set up the digital framework I need to jump into it once I can start making the boards (I need reliable sunny weather to make them outside … clearly the UK is a great place to do that…). This alone made me suddenly way more interesting and more of a personality when my future employers were reading my CV. (Website in development – for future reference

In terms of experience seeking, I took my sights off London and applied to some really local marketing agencies. With my business on my CV, lo and behold, within a week I was signed on for 2 weeks with an agency 5 minutes from my house called Serious Marketing Ltd – this was quickly extended to 1 month and then another month giving me 2 months of rich experience in Account Management and because the agency was small, I got a lot of responsibility very quickly.

Once my time with Serious Marketing Ltd was coming to an end – a colleague of mine there gave me a recommendation to this site called – on which many start up organisations are seeking interns for short spells of time. I sent out many applications but secretly wanted one much more than the others as it offered detailed SEO training – HouseTrip. Luckily, this was the one that seemed most interested in me as well – and here I am, a month and half later extending my contract at least until the end of January with one of my own created and managed content pieces live which you can see here. Additionally I have 2 more big content pieces I conceived and am managing myself. I already manage myself on a daily basis and have learnt invaluable skills around coding and knowledge regarding SEO.  Not to mention all of the connections I have made in London and the confidence that this has given me to really dive into my own projects. I’m also getting paid!

So my 5 tips would be:
1.    Be proactive
2.    Find something to set yourself apart
3.    Perhaps lower your big city aspirations as a means to obtain experience
4.    Use that experience to obtain those bigger aspirations
5.    Have confidence in your small ideas & make them a reality (in the workplace & outside of it)

James Thompson

SEO Executive at HouseTrip
Undergraduate BA (Hons) Advertising


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