Settling into a placement can be quite a task. A complete change in mindset can give students a serious sense of uncertainty and ambiguity about their coming year. It’s important to remember that change is necessary, and adapting to change is a life skill required in many aspects of your adult life.
So… the first few weeks.
I immediately learnt that business jargon is something which will take some time to get used to, but never be afraid to ask questions. No question is considered stupid, as EVERYONE has been sitting in the position you are in right now; you are not the first to ask these questions, and you wont be the last.
It is also important at this stage that you begin organising yourself and your time efficiently so that you can maximise your potential, but also so that you don’t get stressed. This is a time for excitement and experience, not for stress and worry!
As a lover of all things stationery, the image of an organized work space is essential. Because of this, I made it my mission to find a nice moleskin pad (I finally had use for one) where I can log my notes and to- do lists non-digitally. I feel this is a vital tool to make sure I don’t blow my responsibilities and that I can tackle each task strategically and effectively, organising them by priority and effort required. You’ll find that this will become second nature, but it is getting into the routine that’s strenuous.
You’ll also catch yourself getting excited at books, folders and pens – secretly being thrilled at a potential excursion around the WH Smiths stationery aisle….
Before you start
I believe it is extremely important that once you have started your placement you have a one to one conversation with your manager to discuss what the objectives are for your placement, as well as your long term goals, so that it is clear to both of you what you want to achieve with your time at the company. I firmly believe this should be a focal point on your placement, as it allows you get the most out of it and to voice any concerns.
What did I say?
As soon as I arrived (My interview) I made it very clear that I wanted to see as many aspects of business as possible, which lead to my job title becoming ‘Marketing and Community Manager’. Now, to an employee literally a couple of weeks out of exams this was very daunting, but I saw it as a challenge and an opportunity to expand my knowledge in my given field. Mike, my boss, also expressed how he was keen to get me involved in other parts of business management, including Finance and Communications.
How did I start?
In the first week or so, my responsibilities were mostly, almost entirely, focused on Digital Marketing tasks. A lot of my time was taken up by learning the ins and outs of the relevant software and gaining access to the variety of different platforms we use here at Skills Hive. From this, I was able to identify and monitor regional conversation by keywords and themes. After increasing my competency using this different software, I was able to begin to apply it in a way which would benefit the company. I was able to develop a list of Key words relevant to the audiences and their issues, for example: web design help, developers, freelance, outsourcing etc… Using these keywords, groups and hashtags I could then monitor conversations to create a database with their contact details, social media handles, email and website URL’s to connect with in future weeks.
Soon after this, I was introduced to Sahil Sethi, a client of ours and founder of ‘Be Super Today’ – a social enterprise dedicated to helping smaller businesses become more sustainable, through an online platform where they can market and sell their products. It was my job to create and test different waves of social media scheduling to discover what method is most appropriate and achieves the highest levels of engagement. The focus of this was to monitor and stimulate conversation for Be Super Today, in the aid of attracting new vendors and partners to the idea.
As well as work, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a variety of different networking events with the aim to entice more opportunities for both Skills Hive, and ‘Be Super Today’, exposing me to an array of different Businesses ideas and Entrepreneurs. Interestingly, this sparked a motivation within myself to brainstorm ideas for my own business, which I have been inspired to start (I have no idea exactly what it will be as of yet!)
Now competent at these activities, I was ready to take on more responsibility, which came in the form of creating blog posts promoting and telling the story of each and every client (Samphire Arts, Bella Kinesis and Darlo) on the Be Super Today platform. This involved collating relevant information as well as conducting short interviews, from which I could draft and publish these articles across the Be Super Today website and Social Media channels. As well as Be Super Today, I was responsible for Regency Insurance, which was refreshing as it allowed me to explore many different styles of writing.
Lastly, true to his word, my boss Mike introduced me to the business accounts and forecasting, allowing me to explore the software as well as sending out and following up invoices. Since, as previously mentioned, I am interested in starting my own business, this experience is all essential to my future success.
Thanks for reading and check back next week!
Alejandro Fernandez Holt