So, you’ve finally managed to land yourself that placement role you’ve been dreaming of and you start in less than a month. What can you do to really make the most of the experience for both your final year of your degree and for your long-term career?
My blog will take you through what I learnt on my placement year and how I made the most of it to land myself a job at the end of University.
Use your first week to take everything in
The department that I worked in during my placement year was the Client Services department. In this capacity I worked closely with the Account Managers gaining valuable experience into the day to day running of each client and what we would do for them as an agency. My previous role was in the local village pub, so coming into a marketing agency was a complete culture shock and I had to pick things up fast in order for me to slot into the different ways of working. I found that simply taking notes and digesting everything I was told was a great way to learn fast.
An Account Management role relies heavily on the ability to manage a number of clients at once, on a monthly basis. We have to ensure we deliver creativity, strategy and results whilst also managing relationships and ensuring the client is always happy. It’s extremely important to take everything in at the beginning of your placement so you fully understand the clients you will be working on, what the clients want to achieve and how us as Account handlers can help them achieve it.
Ask lots of questions
In order to progress from Junior Executive it is essential you ask as many questions as you can. By asking questions you will be building your knowledge and understanding on how things work, what works best for certain clients and how best to deal with any unusual or difficult situations going forward.
By asking questions, it shows you are keen to learn and there will always be someone to help you, especially in an agency environment where people deal with different requests on a daily basis.
Get involved in as many areas as possible
At Fantastic Media we work with retained clients on a monthly basis on a range of activities across the marketing mix from E-Commerce to Direct Mail, Advertising to Search Engine Optimisation. No two days are ever the same therefore as a placement student it is key to really maximise your opportunity buy getting involved in as many different marketing services and learning as much as possible from these.
Fantastic Media offer a service called a ‘Brand Insight’ and this is something that I worked quite heavily on in my placement year. We would spend a day with key stakeholders of a business for an informal workshop style meeting to get right under the skin of the business. We would analyse the company’s history, goals and objectives, previous marketing activity and much more. We then spend around 4-8 weeks developing a strategy for the client and present it to them.
Get involved with out of office activities
It’s not all about the hard work – Fantastic Media have always been up for a good night out whether it be a summer night out to the Bierkeller or a Christmas Party at Tiger Tiger with Karaoke! Getting that out of work interaction with the team is always great for building relationships and also just to learn more about the people you are working with every day. It also benefits you in that you can build the confidence to interact with those staff members you don’t work with on a regular basis.
I also took part in various charity events while on my placement year including the Endurer Dash, the Midnight Memory Walk and even a charity film premier for a local schools breakfast club. Another great way to interact with both staff and clients when you are outside of the office environment.
And of course there were the Fantastic Girls Nights which included ‘pizza making’!
Don’t stop at the end of your 52 week placement
Having the opportunity to undertake a placement year at Fantastic Media has truly injected me with a confidence boost in both the route of my career path and as a person. I have genuinely gained extremely valuable experience and industry knowledge that will certainly increase my prospects for the future I have also developed my team working skills as Fantastic Media are a very ‘team’ focused organisation and with a great team of people around me in the business it has helped to thrive off others and work together to get rewarding results. This has also lead to developing my skills in managing other people whether it is delegating tasks to other placements on Insight projects or briefing studio designers on jobs for clients.
I have definitely achieved much more than expected during my placement at Fantastic, even being offered to stay on part time with the team during my final year at University. Now, 6 months on from graduating, I am working as Senior Account Executive with even more to learn and loving every second.