Being one of the 12,000 plus psychology graduates and one of the 100,000s of university graduates this year, I found myself in a situation where I was seeing the same thing over and over again on replies to my job applications (when I did get a reply). Going straight to university after my A-Levels, the only work experience I had was my part-time job as a sales assistant. I decided to invest £9000 a year in my education because I was told so often that people with degrees get jobs easier, yet here I was without the one thing all employers needed – experience.
After continuing to apply for jobs the same way I always had, I kept getting the same responses and I decided that no employer is going to take my word for that fact that I can learn quickly. So doing something about it, I did some of my own research on marketing companies in my hometown Cambridgeshire, hoping to find somewhere I could work for a few weeks, unpaid, to add something to my CV. Although I knew that I was interested in marketing and had completed a module on it, I knew I still knew next to nothing on the tasks I would do on a day to day basis. After all, all I knew was how to write essays and lab reports. I came across Lilac James and having a read up on digital marketing, I rang up and asked to have a conversation about work experience. Founder of Lilac James, Karen agreed on the value of work experience for graduates and especially those wanting to explore marketing and agreed to meet with me to talk about arranging some time at Lilac. My start date was organised and I couldn’t wait to find out exacting what I would be learning.
My first day I was introduced to social media marketing, something I had heard of and knew a little bit about. The digital marketing manager, Adele, advised me on how Lilac James kept their social media pages active, along with the content of posts and the websites used to organise them. I researched articles and web pages that were interesting to the digital marketing world and scheduled them to post on Social Media, Twitter and Facebook. During my two weeks work experience, I kept up to date with the Social Media posts for Lilac James and learned the importance of keeping your account up to date and active. Adele gave me one to one guidance on how to use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn advertising, a whole new level to Social Media that I had no idea about, alongside the basics of Google AdWords and Analytics. Within first few days I had learnt so much about these websites that I use every day, yet was unaware of how they are really used for marketing and advertising.
The world of SEO was completely unknown to me and the ever-evolving way of google was completely daunting. Having only learned about traditional marketing I was excited to learn the way google worked and how you can improve your website traffic without TV and newspaper ads. Adele talked me through the entire SEO Health Check process that Lilac James complete for prospective clients and both on and off page optimisation. Having taught me the process I then completed my own health checks with the help of Adele and by the next day I could complete them entirely on my own from the Keyword Research to Meta Description checks. SEO all made sense to me and I couldn’t believe how fast I was learning.
After learning the basics of on and off page optimisation, I moved on to completing work for clients. I read through previous articles that had been written for clients for link building and was given the chance to write my own. I explored the websites and their writing style and content and came up with an article that I could write. Having written for my own blog in the past, writing for a blog post came straight back to me and I really felt I was doing something I enjoyed- at work as well? Who knew. I wrote a few more articles, really feeling as though I was getting to grips with link-building, something I hadn’t even heard of prior to starting. Lastly, I was taught the process of content writing, having gone through work from previous clients I was given a website for a client that needed optimising. Doing my best I wrote page copies, Meta titles, and Meta descriptions.
Before my work experience, I thought that two weeks work could help improve my CV and give me a few weeks to watch how the business works to see if I enjoyed it. I knew two weeks wouldn’t change my life but I hoped it would be useful to me to help in my job search. But as it came to the end of my first week I already felt as though I had struck gold with my work experience, not only with the one-to-one guidance on all the aspects of SEO and the opportunity to complete some of my own work for clients but the team I had been working with. I felt this was somewhere I wanted to stay.
After my second week, it wasn’t just me that had noticed how much I had learnt during my time here. Karen asked if I would like to be Lilac James’s Intern for three months, giving me the opportunity to solidify the knowledge I had already learnt and giving me the chance to learn even more. All in all, I couldn’t be happier with my choice to ring Lilac James to see if they could help me, I’ve come a long way in a short time and I hope it continues.