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This is a guest blog post from current student Rohan Taneja, studying BA (Hons) Communication and Media, recently completed a placement at Brick Digital as a Search Marketing Assistant.

Three words to describe my placement search:

Educational, fun, challenging

Three words to describe my placement:

Positive, engaging and inspiring.

The most helpful thing I found in my placement search was getting in touch with my PAL leader and asking for some tips and guidance on how to write my cover letter more effectively and also to see an example of her CV to see how it should properly be set out and done. Not only this, but to be able to book some sessions with the careers advisor was also very helpful in making sure my cover letter and CV were at a high standard.

The most interesting part of my placement was gaining a better insight into the world of SEO and how a small independent business-like Brick Digital works and how it fits with the rest of the SEO agencies out there. Brick Digital is a small business where it is only me and my boss in house working with various clients around the UK some small and big clients. In addition, we also have various freelancers who work for us also to ensure that some of the work that we don’t have time to fit in has been completed. It has been very interesting to learn about how each business works and what their main aim and goals are and to try reach these goals by using various new tools and software’s in order to make the client happy and to try and reach their goal of ranking first on Google as well them getting new clients.

One of the hardest aspects of my placement has to be when I first started my job. Adapting to waking up early and getting in the routine of driving to work every day from home to the office and generally being in a professional working environment and being under pressure that if I was to make one mistake it could have an impact on the business. This was something I found quite challenging – especially in comparison to student life.

The most enjoyable aspect of my placement has to be achieving the goals that are set out each month for each client and to see the result of the work taking right in front of your eyes is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the placement. I am very grateful to work in a small start-up company compared to a corporate business is mainly due to the fact that in large businesses you plan things further ahead of time and you see those results much later where in a small business you get to see the impact straight away.

Throughout my placement I’ve learned that I am able to apply myself effectively to fit into the work environment and that I have the skills that I feared I lacked before beginning the placement. I have been able to learn so many new tools this year in the workplace such as MailChimp; Ahref, IWriter and many more which I can now use outside of work.

The most satisfactory element of my placement was creating a site from scratch using the software WordPress and seeing the impact the site has seen within the time frame of 2-3 months. Seeing the results of a client get to the first page of Google and being the first search item on Google has also given me great satisfaction during the placement year as it shows the work that I have produced and implemented has been taking effect making me my boss and the client we are working for happy.

The tips I would give to future placement students are:

  • Don’t think you have to be perfect always and don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself and don’t stress to much about making mistakes. It is okay to make mistakes every now and then we are just students who are learning new things every day and your manager will always be supportive of you.
  • Always try and learn something new every day this won’t only be good for yourself, but it will be good for the future as well as putting the new skills you have developed over time on your CV. Always ask questions and always communicate with your manager whenever you don’t understand something or need help on a particular task you are working on.

My placement development advisor Vianna was really encouraging  when I had my first meeting with her she helped me think of the future and what I can do when I have finished my placement allowing me to look at more ways in which I can gain more skills and keep boosting my cv.

My course prepared for the placement through the unit ‘Web and Mobile Communication’, in second year we had to create our own blog using the software WordPress and also learn some coding such as HTML and CSS. This was very useful in the placement because when working with our clients most of the companies used WordPress so to edit their sites and add new content or adding new code gave me a great advantage so doing this at university was very helpful.

My placement experience has given me an idea of what I would like to do in the future, which is why I was very keen to pursue a sandwich placement in the first place. I knew I enjoyed marketing and being creative and I know working for a company would be very different to how studying at university has been. It has shown me that I do enjoy marketing and doing creative work.

Supervisor Questions

What was it about your placement student that secured them the position with you?
The fact that Rohan actually cold called us and asked for a placement was a big winner, despite him not actually seeing our adverts as they were placed at a different university. Then throughout the application he was professional and kept his word unlike many others who had applied.

What has it been like having your placement student on the team?
It’s been great, as a small, growing business it is good to see team members develop and it has been very beneficial having Rohan here to help grow the business.

What 3 essential things do you expect to see on a student CV applying for a placement?
Something that shows they did something based on their own initiative. I like to see interesting people who’ve stepped out of their comfort zone to do something in the past.

As an employer would you rather see a short or long placement on a graduate CV, and why?
A long placement as it shows the graduate can stick at things for a while. Also, there are many stages you go through in your first full time job which you are likely not going to experience in a short placement. For example, losing enthusiasm for a period of time but still actually turning up!

What has been the best thing about having their student on placement:
Being able to grow our business, and feeling the rewards of helping someone make their first move into an industry.

Any advice for students wanting to apply for a placement at your company?
Be different, and do your homework before applying.

What do you think students should focus on when applying for a placement?
They should focus on learning something about the products/services that a company offers? Very often people assume the application process is about showing how perfect they are, and people just prepare to show that, but really us as employers are looking for people who can start working with us with as little basic training as possible. So, if you have done the homework and learnt more about the products/services we offer then it at least helps us to understand where to start training you.

If this has been your first experience with a sandwich placement student, would you do it again?
Yes, we would.

Brick Digital is a specialist SEO & PPC company based in Watford that helps small-medium sized business grow using effective, results-driven search marketing. Specialising in SEO, Pay-Per-click advertising and Content Marketing, Brick is built on strong foundations with a proven track record of delivering online marketing campaigns that build businesses. As a part of these services, we do a number of things including content creation, outreach marketing, website design, influencer marketing and digital PR.

Find out more about studying BA (Hons) Communication and Media. 

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