Written by Guest blogger
This is a guest blog from Kim Machipisa, BA (Hons) Marketing Communications final year student.
In my third year at BU (2018/19) I undertook a 12-month placement as part of my sandwich course program. So, as you can imagine, the preparations of things such as CVs, covering letters and applications had to start in the fall of 2017 – early in my second year. My lecturers tirelessly encouraged me throughout the year to keep an eye out for placement job opportunities by diligently researching online, reaching out to any networks I have and regularly checking MyCareer Hub. Knowing that some companies tend set December deadlines for applications, I started my application process in November – trying my best to manage unit coursework at the same time. Of course, nobody ever said that getting a placement was easy; after several weeks and months of rejections, assessments and interviews – I was able to secure a ‘Marketing Executive’ intern role at Rebixit Consulting in Bournemouth. I managed to find this position one morning on MyCareer Hub. I was extremely happy to land this placement because it ticked the boxes of what I was looking for: location, responsibilities etc. I remember the location being a key factor in my decision because I didn’t have to relocate cities, this made the planning of living arrangements an easier task than it could have been for sure.I started my role on the 2nd of July 2018 having secured the placement and sorted all the paperwork a couple of months prior.
During the placement, my role was mainly Social Media management for numerous clients and companies that operate in various sectors like Eco Travel & Tourism, Hotel & Leisure, Food/Drinks and Automotive. On a day-to-day basis, my responsibilities included tasks such as: strategy creation, social advertising campaigns (launching and optimising budgets), reporting, events planning and more. I personally enjoyed each of my responsibilities (some more than others of course) because I felt and believed that what I was doing was making difference to something – somehow. This was key to the consistent development of my skills, capabilities as well as building confidence in my decision-making. There were challenges along the way but having a positive attitude and a desire to learn was an important step in overcoming them.
One of the biggest challenges I faced was balancing tasks particularly in a fast-paced environment where I needed to manage the expectations of my employer, our clients and myself. The best way I overcame this challenge was by learning to effectively plan tasks and schedule my time whilst also asking for feedback whenever it was possible.
Being on placement taught me many lessons about the professional world – the value of teamwork – the value of resilience, but importantly, it taught me a great deal about myself as an individual. Doing a placement year helped me identify exactly what my strengths and weaknesses are, as well as highlighting the things that I enjoy and the things that I don’t enjoy. Being able to speak freely with my Placement Advisor, Vianna, we discussed my career ideas and she provided me clear guidance on ways to strengthen my employability skills and attributes. She also challenged me to grab every opportunity ‘by the horns’, so, for that and the support she gave me throughout this placement year, I’d like to thank her especially.
The experience and lessons that came with my placement inspired me to set goals/benchmarks for my final year of studies and plan my career path for after I graduate from my course at BU.
My advice for anyone looking for a placement would be to start applying early and stay proactive. This is easier said than done but doing this really does make a difference, if you remember that you’re competing against thousands of people like you – looking for placements also. Secondly, don’t let rejections or no responses bump your confidence, stay positive and patient because there are plenty of opportunities out there! Lastly, if you’re one of the luckier students with multiple offers from different places, don’t feel a rush to accept an offer on the spot. I know that would be a hard thing to do, but during and after each of your interviews always take a moment to ask yourself:
- Does this company’s culture suit my personality?
- Are there any opportunities to develop beyond the role?
- Will the salary support my needs and expenses?
- What do I hope to achieve during and after the placement?
Find out more about studying BA (Hons) Marketing Communications at BU.