From University to The Real World

Alex Blog

Having finished University in June and graduated in September, moving back to my hometown of Ipswich was a little underwhelming. I began to do what many graduates will do when they first get back from University, and that was to look for a job.
As the degree that I studied for whilst at University was Business and Marketing, I had my heart set on finding a job within Suffolk ideally in marketing.
After the initial period of searching and applying for numerous different jobs, I began to expand the search radius in terms of locations and types of job I would be willing to consider.

This lead to some interviews and assessment days that all graduates will understand can be difficult and also enjoyable at times, but definitely a far cry from anything University had prepared me for.
And after a few sporadic interviews and many hours spent applying for various different jobs in a variety of different locations, I decided that I would also search for unpaid work in the form of an internship or work experience in order to help me gain relevant experience and in turn help to improve my CV and make it more appealing to potential employers.

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Taking the First Step

This led to me getting into contact with StrategiQ and more specifically, Andy Smith. After an exchange of emails and a face-to-face meeting, I was granted the opportunity to join StrategiQ in order to gain some real world experience and see what working within a marketing agency is really like.

Safe to say walking into the StrategiQ office on my first day, I was very nervous and apprehensive, as I had no idea what to expect and what the experience would be like or entail.

Initially being so nervous was, as I’m sure anyone would agree, understandable. However I knew I would have to and wanted to throw myself into the experience as much as I possibly could, in order to get the most out of it, and illustrate myself to be competent, reliable and a hard worker.

I was given the time to adjust and properly bed in at StrategiQ through smaller initial task and being afforded the time to full understand and grasp what services StrategiQ actually provides for its diverse client base. Whilst also early on watching and shadowing what the existing employees within the team would do on a day-to-day basis.

Time for Work

Whilst at StrategiQ the majority the work I have undertaken has been surrounding social media, and assisting in managing this for various different clients. Getting involved an interactive with social media is something that I have always wanted to know more about, to learn and understand how what is, in terms of timescale a very new form of communication and interaction for businesses to use and make the most of for getting to understand and be more in tune with what their current or potential customers really talk about, are interested in and interact with.

I have particularly enjoyed assisting some of the Digital account managers primarily Andrew and Cassie in scheduling content for posting on various different social media platforms through the use of tools such as Hootsuite. This aided me in understanding how businesses manage and have their presences on the large variety of social media platforms managed in order to effectively interact with and develop lasting positive relationships with their customers.

Growing up as part of the first generation to have social media as a fully integrated part of our everyday lives, I have found this process and experience incredibly valuable.

Being able to learn different intricacies and tricks that can be used to improve and expand a business’s social reach and effectiveness has been particularly interesting.
I have also been able to take this information and along with picking up other pieces of advice from various different members within the team, have been able to apply this to my own personal social media profiles across the different platform that I have a presence, and it has made me fully understand how important the affective utilisation and management of social media can be for individuals from a professional standpoint.
Along with working with social media, I have also been afforded the opportunity to get involved and develop a basic understanding of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), this being mainly local SEO along with a basic initial introduction to content outreach and link building.

Since first hearing about and reading up on SEO whilst I was at University, I developed an interest in and wanted to gain a better understanding of what SEO is in principle and practice.

Through working with Chris the SEO manager I have been able to gain some understanding, albeit basic, about how SEO works and can help businesses appear in more prominent and valuable places through the use of search engines, primarily Google.

Since the inception and rise to prominence of Digital Marketing, SEO has become increasingly important as businesses look to improve where they rank on search engines as this is primarily where consumers turn to as their first port of call when looking to purchase a product or look to make use of a service. Through gaining even a basic understanding of how this process actually works, I now appreciate the amount of time and hard work it take to establish a business in a position that suits them best and enables them to be found by potential customers.

My Tips

  • Make the effort: If you want to gain work experience in an area or field that you are interested in then it will take effort on your part. You will need to be proactive and go out of your way to get into contact with those people that could be in a position to help you. Being proactive and showing initiative will also come across well to whomever you are contacting and will demonstrate a willingness to work and genuine interest.
  • Have a plan: Before you even start contacting people make sure you have a clear idea in your head of what you are looking to learn and gain for the experience, should you gain any opportunity. This will help when in dialog with any potential employers and will translate over if you should be successful, as it will keep clear in your own head and to whomever you may be working for why you are there, what you want to gain from the experience and relevance of what you are doing and learning.
  • Make the most of it: You are bound to have some nerves entering a new environment, and what may possibly be the first truly professional environment you would have ever entered. However don’t let this hold you back, be sure to throw yourself fully into anything you can, give everything a go and show desire and enthusiasm for whatever is asked of you, because don’t forget that you are there to gain from the experience in any way you can.
  • Hard work: Whether you have got an internship or unpaid work experience this should not have any affect on how hard you work. You should always throughout the duration of your time with whatever organisation you may be working with, look to work hard and importantly illustrate that you are a hard working individual.
  • Think long term: Consider the whole of your experience and what you have gained from initially undertaking it. From all of the skills, tips and tricks that you may have learned and that could help you in your future career, to the contacts that you will have made. Take a step back and pull everything together to really understand how the experience you have undertaken will benefit you. It could be an idea to keep a record of what you have done during your time, certain key things you have learnt and anything you may think is important.

I would highly recommend attempting to gain work experience within a business or industry that you are interested in if it is an option. For me it has been a high valuable experience in every way and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with everyone at StrategiQ and taking my first step into the world of Digital Marketing.

To discuss your social media strategy, get in touch with the StrategiQ team today.