When I finished my 3 year English Literature degree at UEA I really didn’t know what to do next. It wasn’t because I hadn’t thought about it – God, I’d thought about it – but it didn’t feel like I could make concrete plans until I’d graduated. Especially as having a non-vocational degree can make your options can seem endless. Until that time rolled around I’d thrown myself into volunteer work, part-time jobs, mentoring and coaching to absorb as many skills and meet as many people as possible.
The thing about graduating is that often you have no chance but to put off job hunting otherwise you’ll be applying for work that starts too damn early. That time in between graduation and finding a job can be some of the scariest moments a student will experience.
But honestly, the way around it for me was to acknowledge that it was scary and that I was going to feel stressed – and to accept that. So I channelled all of my fear into making myself the best prospective employee ever. “YES” became my go-to word and I took EVERY opportunity that came my way (watch Yes-Man the movie and you’ll understand).
Many people I knew didn’t want to do internships – either because we’d been educated in a culture of expecting ‘more’ because we had a degree or just didn’t want to accept that the rewards of having a degree would likely need to just wait a little longer – but I tried to move away from that opinion quickly.
When the Norwich Business School posted up their Social Media Marketing Internship, I bit their hand off. I beefed up my CV, I polished my LinkedIn profile, I researched and took 2 mock interviews with the Careers centre before finally meeting the team and getting the job (as one of two interns).
I was upfront in not having much experience in Social Media Marketing – not even owning a Twitter account (shock horror, I still don’t, despite working with the platform everyday) and they quite expertly paired me with an intern who knew more technically than me, but had less experience in general communication.
I set about researching what the school already had set up (a baby Facebook account and Twitter account) and started writing a strategy to improve and expand those platforms (including a new blog). As my role progressed NBS helped me in every way I could have asked for – they put time aside for my training and made sure I was involved with anything I expressed an interest in. By the end of the internship I had a solid strategy I could present to future employers, invaluable contacts (many of whom I’m still in contact with), an understanding of how the university internal system worked, knowledge of all social media platforms and how they could be utilised in a company or in the public sector, as well as a bucketful of new-found confidence. The Business School’s enthusiasm for helping their students find employment and gain real-life experience turned out to be pretty infectious.
When I left the Norwich Business School I knew I wanted to stay working in Marketing as much as possible. I took a job in Market Research which was loosely related, and continued applying for other positions on the side. One particular internship opportunity caught my eye and although I was initially worried about taking a ‘step back’ by going from a full-time job into a potential 3 month position, I realise now that it was the key to getting my foot in the door and moving up the ladder. I was kept on and am now am in my dream job as a permanent Marketing Assistant at FXHOME. As part of a rapidly expanding SME who are largely web-based (our largest demographic is the US) and produce special effects software for filmmakers and greenscreen software for photographers, I am lucky enough to do something I love everyday and be part of a team where everyone is really the best at what they do.
Probably some of the highlights have been helping to produce promotional material and short films, having an input into future marketing strategies to take on the world and even going on a business trip to Las Vegas (still reeling from that one)!
Without my internship at Norwich Business School I would not have had the projects and real-life experience to prove to FXHOME that I practised what I preached – so I really have the Business School and its amazing administrative support team to thank for everything that’s happened to me since.
Thanks guys 🙂