Guest blogger Written by

This is a guest blog by current student Chloe Grant, studying BA (Hons) Communications and Media at BU.

Placement Job Title: Marketing & PR assistant
Placement length: 44 weeks

  1. Three words to describe your placement search:
    Eye-opening, straightforward, educational
  2. What did you find the most helpful in your placement search:
    Going to see my Placement Coordinator in the Placements Office. She checked my CV and advised me on what kind of jobs to look into. She settled any worries I had and I met up with her a few times to ensure my CV was its best.
  3. Three words to describe your placement:
    Unique, Positive, Spontaneous
  4. Most interesting part of your placement:
    Getting insight into the world of independent/smaller hospitality business and how it fits in with the rest of the hospitality world. The Urban Guild obviously doesn’t have massive marketing budgets, or a large marketing team that oversee everything and plans years in advance. Everything is a lot more spontaneous, and smaller businesses have to fight their way into customer’s hearts. I found this most interesting – experiencing how different the experience was from what I expected.
  5. Hardest aspect of your placement?
    I went to a few networking events –but not as many as perhaps I would have in a larger placement – and I didn’t put myself ‘out there’ as much as I could have. Also, the fact I was the ‘placement student’ at these events may have discouraged people from making connections with me. I did connect with people on Linkedin where I could, and my confidence has grown two fold. It was a positive challenge for me as I wanted to improve my skills in networking – and I felt that as I got further into my placement I definitely tried lots harder.
  6. Most enjoyable aspect of your placement:
    Achieving things and seeing them make an impact in front of my eyes. I feel that in more corporate placements where you plan years ahead, you less often get to see the results until later on down the line. I could be asked to create a poster and have it made, printed, and up in a venue in a day. I was creating offers, advertising them (via email, social, print etc) and tracking their success on a day to day basis. It was also fun to learn what works, and what doesn’t.
  7. What have you learned that you never thought you would have this year:
    I am capable of much more than I ever expected. I learnt my own potential, and actually how well I can apply myself and fit into the work environment – and that I actually did have the skills that I feared I lacked before I began placement. In terms of skills that I could put on my CV, I never expected to learn how to use a new design software – Affinity publisher, and lots of other tools that I have even began to use outside of work.
  8. What gave you the most satisfaction during placement year:
    Running the Urban Guild blog. It was something that was almost wholly mine, and I did a new blog post every Thursday to create shareable content. This allowed me to really use my writing skills, and also when the posts got lots of positive response, that was amazing too. We even began sending out emails to our subscribers of blog post round ups which was nice, and I enjoyed this part so much that I have started writing blog posts for Dorset Food Network too.
  9. Two tips for future placement students:
    Firstly- Be confident in yourself  and don’t compare your CV to your friends, take what you have to offer and roll with it. My manager told me one of the reasons he chose me against other candidates was the way I held myself and my personality within my interview – he knew I’d fit well within the team. Secondly, get involved in as much as you can! It’s hard at first when you are feeling a bit nervous and questioning yourself, but just say yes. You won’t mess it up – and if you do, then you can always ask for help and learn from it. No one is ever telling you off – they understand you are here to learn… Plus, getting involved makes you look good too.
  10. One example of how BU supported you during your placement:
    My Placement Development Advisor Vianna was really inspiring when I had my first meeting with her. She helped me think of ways to expand on what I was already doing – and settled my mind about the future (final year at Uni and ways to make the most of my placement).
  11. One example of how your course prepared you for the placement:
    At university, in the second year unit ‘Web and Mobile Communication’, I had to create a word press site and blog, as well as learn a bit of HTML and CSS. Most of the sites at the Urban Guild are run using word press, so this gave me a great advantage. Also, the Urban Guild emails are written/coded using HTML – so having done a bit of this at uni really helped.
  12. How have you changed both personally and professional:
    Personally, I have become ten times more confident in myself. I often struggle to be self assured, but that has changed lots of the course of the last year – I feel like I do my job well and my colleagues tell me I am part of the team, not just an intern. I know that my role in the company is important and that’s helped me to develop confidence and become a happier personal mentally too. My placement has also allowed me to get an insight on the working environment not just in a professional sense but in a human sense. What it really means to be part of a team when you have people relying on you, and you like those people – and genuinely want the business itself to succeed. Professionally, I have learnt so many useful skills for my CV. I learnt to use a multiple new pieces of software (online and offline software – for example Tweet Deck, Google my Business, Facebook Business, Wunderlist, Google analytics and so many more), brushed up my skills in Photoshop, became an expert in Word Press, got certifications in Instagram etc. I also feel that I have matured lots since starting my placement which will of course aid me professionally in the future.
  13. How has your placement helped focus your future plans:
    It has given me a scope for what I would like do to in the future, which is why I wanted to take part in a sandwich placement in the first place. I knew I enjoyed marketing, but I also knew that studying it at university would be a lot different to working for a company. It’s shown me that I do enjoy marketing, advertising and design and that I am good at it – particularly the creative aspects.

 

Supervisor Questions – Matthew Lawrence, Head of Marketing and BU alum!

  1. What has it been like having your placement student on the team:
    It has been our first year having a placement student in the marketing team at Urban Guild. We had previously been working with two external agencies for website and PR expertise. We believed that an internal role with a similar focus would deliver better results and I am pleased to say this have proven to be true. A lot of this is testimony to our placement student for this year, Chloe, who has been exceptional and made a massive difference since joining us. It has resulted in us extending the role and recruiting for a student for the 2019/20 academic year.
  2. What 5 essential things do you expect to see on a student CV applying for a placement:
    – Please name the CV file with your name. Not the role, or just cv.docx. We had 17 people apply for our placement role and 90% of files were named the same.
    – Include your degree experience and reference the applicable units for the role you are applying for. It takes time to tailor your CV to a specific job, but the employer WILL notice and it will set you apart from applicants that just provide a list of topics.
    – Team work. Awesome that you work well in a team (and individually), but please elaborate, what role did you take in the team. Did you present the findings, do you excel in research, are you the creative brain, do you lead or do you ensure deadlines are kept. These nuggets will help the recruiter to identify your personality type.
    – Include your degree experience and reference the applicable units for the role you are applying for. It takes time to tailor your CV to a specific job, but the employer WILL notice and it will set you apart from applicants that just provide a list of topics.
    – Team work. Awesome that you work well in a team (and individually), but please elaborate, what role did you take in the team. Did you present the findings, do you excel in research, are you the creative brain, do you lead or do you ensure deadlines are kept. These nuggets will help the recruiter to identify your personality type.
  3. Any advice for students wanting to apply for a placement at your company:
    Use the covering letter. This is the first thing we see when you send in your application either as an attached file or use the email but focus on you and what makes you different. Without fail, everyone says that they work well under pressure and in teams and that they are excellent at managing their time. Yep, that’s University.What we want to know is HOW you work in a team, and it’s OK if you aren’t the person that presents the killer pitch, do your strengths lie in interpreting research, or meticulous management of time and resources. We want to know WHY you chose marketing, we love it, it’s our chosen vocation, what makes you excited about marketing? Tell us WHERE you’ve worked, it could be stacking shelves or volunteering at the local library, the role is less relevant than WHAT you did. What did you bring to that company that wasn’t there before.

You don’t need to be an expert in everything, we know that students coming for placement have many strengths, but we’re mindful that you aren’t yet the finished article. That’s hopefully where our experience and your application to the role helps over the course of your placement, setting you up for your final year and importantly that graduate job you’ve had your eye on for four years.

 

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