"A boss once said to me: “What makes your CV different?" Without experience your CV is the same as the next graduate. Do something that sets you apart."
Following my final exam at MMU and ahead of my graduation, I took a job at WRG as a Junior Project Coordinator, which was a direct result of the placement I did with the organisation during my studies.
Studying at MMU and utilising the contacts my tutors had enabled me to obtain my first placement with WRG, which strengthened my employment prospects and also within the wider creative industry. I made contacts, allowing me to freelance on certain projects during my final year and also maintain professional relationships.
I think the placement year really sets you up for working life by giving you a taster of what’s to come. I also found it made me more driven in my final year, as I knew what I wanted to achieve and how to get there. I don’t think I would have been as employable without that industry experience. In my final year, the course focused on accreditations and processes that I now use on a daily basis, such as waste management, sustainability practices and management techniques. The topic of sustainability in particular resonated with me during my course and I am now part of the sustainability working group within WRG where I work with other group members and the wider business to become more sustainable.
Network – it’s really important. During my placement I was able to make connections and from that I gained freelance work during my final year for other agencies such as Ear to the Ground. I also maintained strong links with WRG, which led to me filling the full-time post I am in today.
I also think that being up to date with news in your industry is important. Read publications or even just having a Google alert for particular companies or events. This will help you understand the industry you are about to enter – I still have Google alerts for all my clients’ companies now! Twitter is also useful: all WRG jobs are advertised through Twitter and it is an effective recruitment tool so make sure to follow businesses and see what they are doing.
Finally, I think that work experience is key. I know that lecturers drum it into you while you’re studying but it is really important. A boss once said to me: What makes your CV different?” Without experience, your CV is the same as the next graduate. Do something that sets you apart.
Chris Mitchell – he was my tutor in my final year and a lot of credit has to be given to him. He was always available to listen and give advice on both professional and academic matters. I’m also inspired by John Hobson, who was my tutor in first year and my dissertation tutor. Both were incredibly helpful, motivational and a pleasure to be taught by.
Finally, I’m inspired by Nicky Smith. Without her connections in the industry, I wouldn’t have ever worked for WRG on placement and my future would probably have a completely different outlook.
I love the people. I think that the people you spend each day with, staff, colleagues or fellow students, have such a huge impact on your ability to succeed. I know that the support I received from my friends and lecturers helped me to excel achieving a First Class Honours and obtaining the job I have today!