Why a career in PR content is the right role for writers

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Post by Holly Ashford, Senior Content Writer at Babel

If you’re a student or graduate on one of Hallam’s dedicated PR courses, you’ll likely know more than I did when I first started looking into PR as a career path. An English Literature graduate and later a journalist (via a few freelance copywriting roles), I moved from a business-to-business technology publication to a technology PR agency two years ago this September.

As a former journalist and editor, I moved to ‘the dark side’ last year, and as Babel’s Senior Content Writer I’m responsible for the words that change hearts and minds. A lover of the outdoors, when I’m not cycling London’s streets I can be found running Regents Park’s paths.

I joined Babel – an international tech PR agency headquartered – in London, as a Senior Content Writer, attracted by the prospect of writing for a diverse set of clients and publications and gaining knowledge of new industry sectors. So, what does a role like Senior Content Writer involve?  What are the skills required? And how can you go about securing a career in content?

Content: the cornerstone of PR?

Content director, content marketer, integrated content strategy, content creation, content publication, content is king, optimising content, SEO content…‘content’ is an essential component of the PR/marketing argot, though remains a somewhat vague term to anyone on the outside, including many who are interested in a career in PR.

In an era where almost anyone can produce and publish text, image, audio and video, many PR agencies need someone who can do so creatively and can craft engaging and relevant content which cuts through the noise.

A day in the life

Every PR agency will be different, but at Babel there is a particular emphasis on written content, meaning anything we produce (either for clients or our own brand) involves in-depth briefing, research, creation, proofing and editing. I help to manage these processes, work with other members of the team to develop their creative ideas and writing style, and come up with new content ideas for clients. Yet a great deal of my day is spent writing and learning – which, for someone who has always wanted to be ‘a writer’ of some description, is ideal.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my role is being able to write different kinds of content for different audiences. On a given day in the office I might be working on a very technical press release for one client, whilst ghost-writing a feature destined for a trade publication for another, and transcribing material for a research-led whitepaper for a third. Creating less formal, high-level material offers a counterbalance: I might be writing a blog post for a client’s website, while overseeing output for the corporate social media account of a second.

My day is punctuated by reviewing the written work of members of the Babel team and (on occasion) clients. As well as offering an all-important second pair of eyes, this helps to ensure that the copy is as compelling as possible, always meets the client’s objectives, and promotes their core messages.

There’s a nature of unpredictability in PR, given that a great deal of what we do is governed by the daily news agenda. As Senior Content Writer my office hours will, therefore, be spent with fingers to the keyboard and an ear to the ground, keeping an eye out for breaking news stories which are relevant to any of Babel’s clients. When this occurs, I’ll immediately pen a comment in response, which the rest of the team will then pitch to the media.

Career PRospects?

PR and marketing courses offer a strong foundation for a career in PR, but this needn’t be the only route – especially if you’re looking for a content-based role. Many PR agencies looking for candidates will be open to grads from a range of disciplines – it’s more about the skills and attitude you have, and how you’ll fit in with an agency’s culture.

Strong writing skills are obviously a must, but you should be prepared to learn and adapt your writing style too, including being able to take critique (and, yes, criticism) from colleagues and clients. As a former journalist this took some getting used to, but looking back, this approach has helped to hone my writing – and ensure that clients are kept happy and the agency remains successful.

An interest in current affairs is important, and corporate acumen and marketing know-how are a plus. A willingness to learn about the trends and drivers in new – often niche – markets is essential (who knew I’d be an expert in cellular coverage solutions, next-generation networks, and TMT M&A?) and, perhaps most importantly, these skills and strengths must be supported and fuelled by creativity and a love of writing.

Babel is always on the lookout for new talent. Visit our careers page for more information, or email recruitment@babelpr.com

What are your work values and why are they important?

Values are qualities considered to be the most important guiding principles that help set priorities in your career and life. They are highly personal and define what is purposeful and meaningful to you. Though values may change in response to life circumstances, they are generally thought to be enduring and provide a compass for setting goals and making decisions.

Identifying your values can help you identify what activities and environment you might enjoy working in, focus your career aims and understand the motivators that might drive your career choice

Would earning a lot of money make you happy? Despite the phrase, “money makes the world go around” it generally doesn’t lead to job satisfaction. It’s important to consider what you enjoy and what you want from a career while thinking about your future.

Values are the things that are really important to you. They are also the things which are important to organisations and you may see them proclaimed on websites. Many organisations are beginning to recruit people who seem to have values which are in line with theirs.

Here are some examples of things you may value:- Creativity – Autonomy – Justice – Fun – Achievement – Using skills – Continuous learning – Security – Work-Life balance – Money – Status

Some values are likely to be more important to you than others so that, for example, you may be willing to sacrifice ‘security’ in a job for ‘creativity’.

Finding a job which suits you can help to give you job satisfaction and feel happier.

Imagine going to work every day and feeling proud of what you achieve. You are doing something that is important to you and you strongly believe it is worthwhile. You feel at home in your workplace and it’s as if the job were made just for you.

Faith, Hope and (working for a) Charity….. 

Eddie Smith  BSc Mathematics graduate shares his experience of looking for a role in the third sector

As a Christian, I believe that God has called me to leave a positive impact on the world. It is my belief that this calling applies in all aspects of my life, and so when looking for and applying for graduate jobs, it was important to me that this should reflect these values. I decided to focus my search on the third sector. Christians Against Poverty was a charity I had been aware of for a while, and so one day I went onto their website to see if they had any vacancies. It was then that I first heard about their internship and upon application I was successful.

The internship first appealed to me because it will give me valuable experience in an innovative charity (which has made numerous appearances on lists of best charities to work for) and will set me in good stead for a career in the third sector which is my ultimate goal. An internship role rather than a regular job attracted me because of the additional support that will be available throughout the year. This is important to me because I am aware that the leap between full-time study and the working world is large and is something I am somewhat apprehensive about. The goal of Christians Against Poverty is to free people in the UK from the grip of poverty and debt. I will be working as an intern in the Debt Operations team, putting together payment plans and negotiating repayments. This role will enable me to use the skills developed as part of my mathematics degree, whilst helping people and making a positive impact on the lives of those most in need.”

Eddie commences as a graduate intern with Christians Against Poverty on September 3rd.

To explore your values why not have a go at an online questionnaire

 

 

Student entrepreneur celebrates national award success

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A budding young entrepreneur and SHU student who set up his own IT company at the age of 15 has won a national business award.

Harvey Morton, aged 20, from Woodseats, Sheffield, was named Young Freelancer of the Year in the IPSE – Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed – competition.

Harvey juggles the demands of running his home-based IT consultancy full time with his studies at Sheffield Business School, where he has just completed the second year of his BA in Business and Enterprise Management.

He said: “It was a complete surprise when they announced that I was the winner. I still feel quite overwhelmed. It’s a national title and I have had a lot of attention since and I’m not really used to anything on that scale. To be recognised nationally is huge, really.”

Harvey won £3,000 prize money, champagne and a year’s membership of IPSE, which entitles him to free business support.

His firm Harvey Morton IT support (www.harveymorton-itsupport.com) offers a range of services including social media management, web design, app development and media production.

Harvey, who was nominated for the prize by Sheffield Hallam University’s Enterprise team,  is no stranger to award success.

At the age of 15, he set up an on-call IT support firm and later won enterprise prizes while still at school studying for his GCSEs. The firm has grown into a digital marketing agency with clients all around the UK, including The Cutler’s Company, Alton Towers and The Princes Trust.

Harvey said he had no plans to go to university but received help from business experts in Sheffield Hallam’s Enterprise team and after meeting other students decided to take the plunge. He said: “One of the reasons I was attracted to Sheffield Hallam was because I met people studying on the business courses at SHU and I could see how much they enjoyed it. Before that, I had never thought of going to university.”

“I have learnt so many skills which have helped me to run my business – financial management, HR, how to write a proper business plan, customer service skills, and a lot of the theory has helped with the practical element of running my business,” he said.

“The support I’ve received from the Enterprise Team has been outstanding.

“I feel privileged to have been able to access an amazing team of mentors who have given me valuable advice and have helped me to grow my business alongside my studies at Hallam.

“It’s been great to meet so many like-minded people at the university who are also self-employed. To anyone who is thinking of setting up a business whilst at Hallam, do it! The Enterprise Team will support you along the way and it’s a great way to make new friends.”

Caroline Nouvellon enterprise manager at SHU, said: “It has been an absolute privilege to support Harvey in his business venture over the past couple of years. He encapsulates the extraordinary entrepreneurial flair and mindset of many Hallam students and graduates and has been a wonderful ambassador for the Enterprise Team.

“He is a thoroughly deserving recipient of the ISPSE Young Freelancers of the Year Award and we look forward to working with him in the future to ensure the long-term sustainability of his business within the Sheffield City Region.”

Digital Ambassador wins national student employee of the year award

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Ellie Wright, aged 21, can now add winner of the Student Employee Of The Year (SEOTY) award to her growing list of achievements.

The recent English Language graduate was honoured on Thursday evening at a conference in Cardiff, for going above and beyond whilst working part-time for the university’s marketing department.

Ellie, who worked primarily as a digital student ambassador was nominated for the national award for her strong work ethic and her ability to connect online with prospective students about the merits of studying at Sheffield Hallam.

“Ellie has a natural way of illustrating her student life without coming across as a cliché or being over enthusiastic. She is honest, open and authentic. She was always enthusiastic about helping us and very willing to share every ounce of her story,” said Laura Lightfinch, senior marketing officer at SHU, who nominated Ellie for the award.

Each year, university employers are given the opportunity to nominate exceptional student workers who combine study with paid part-time work for the National Association of Student Employment services’ SEOTY Award. The national competition has surged in popularity since its inception in 1998.

This year, Ellie stood-out, despite the roughly 700 nominations that were submitted from over 30 Higher Education Institutions across the country. Ellie competed against all the winners within the North East region (which includes Universities across Yorkshire and the North East) and was chosen as a regional winner. She was then invited to join all the other regional winners, at the national awards ceremony last night in Cardiff where she won the overall competition.

“I was so excited to win the award because so many other deserving students had been nominated too. Working with Sheffield Hallam has been the best opportunity I’ve taken at university and winning this award really highlights how much I’ve been able to do and learn whilst working and studying,” she said.

Ellie, who was already an advocate for the university says the opportunity gave her more confidence to share her insights about ‘The Hallam Experience’ as well as strengthening her marketing skills and knowledge.

“I’m really grateful to have been awarded this achievement to end my time at uni in such a positive way,” she added.

A second Hallam student Leyana Akbani, who is studying at Sheffield Business School, was also a winner at both the regional and national SEOTY 2018 awards. At the conference in Cardiff, Leyana was award the national Highly Commended Commercial Impact Award.

Top 3 web pages all our fashion students should read!

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Getting a foot in the door of the fashion industry can be daunting. It’s an extremely competitive world which requires creativity, an ability to work alongside strategists and keep up with rapidly changing trends whilst engaging with a demanding client base always on the look-out for new and exciting creations.

That being said, fashion can be a very exciting and fulfilling career option for graduates whose love for the fashion industry is only paralleled by their determination to leave their mark on it.

Whether you’re just about to join us in Sheffield, or you’re about to graduate and are currently setting up this year’s Degree Show Fashion Show, here’s our top 3 web pages every Hallam Fashion student should read!

Number 1: Work Experience and Networking in the Fashion Industry

Summary: Work experience is crucial for entering the fashion industry and can take the form of internships, volunteering, placements, work shadowing or part-time work.

Number 2: Becoming a Freelance Fashion Designer 

Summary: It is extremely common for people working in the creative sector to be self-employed either full-time or on a part-time basis whilst combining it with employed work; the latter is known as a portfolio career. Designers tend to be independent, creative thinkers and are often self-employed and/or in occupations involving project work and short-term contracts with both small and large organisations.

Number 3: Finding and Applying for Jobs in Fashion

Speculative approaches are generally more effective ways to find jobs in the design/arts industries.  A speculative application involves approaching a company about the possibility of working for them rather than applying to an advertised vacancy. It could be an effective way to bypass the huge number of applications that any individual company may receive to one advertised vacancy. Also, remember that many SMEs (small-medium sized companies) very rarely advertise vacancies as they receive sufficient speculative applications to recruit in this way.  Fashion directories can provide a list of companies to approach!

 

 

9 Tips for Job Interviews

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Post by Laura Burden, final year student at Hallam

So if, like me, you’re coming to the end of your time studying at Sheffield Hallam, you’re probably starting to think about getting one of those job things. I’ve had a few job interviews recently; I wanted to share some of my experiences and tips.

Let’s assume, for the purpose of this post, that you’ve secured an interview. Pat yourself on the back because that in itself isn’t easy. Clearly, there’s something in your application that they like!

So here’s a bit of a roundup of what I do before, during and after a job interview.

Research the company/organisation

No matter what I know about an organisation, I do a sweep of all the interview and job description information I’ve had and make notes. Then a quick Google search and a poke around their website provides some more general information about the company.

It’s all useful to know and trust me; it’s really obvious when you’ve done your research.

Know where you’re going and who you’re meeting

If I’m not sure where I’m going I do as much research as possible about the place I’ll be going to for my interview – is there parking available, what time will the train arrive there, what if the train’s late?

I’ve arrived more than an hour early for an interview before because I was nervous about being late, thankfully there was somewhere nearby where I could have a coffee. Try to arrive no more than 15 minutes early.

Have you got everything?

Typically you’ll need to bring some ID with you such as a passport. You might also need proof of any qualifications you mentioned on your application so, don’t forget your certificates. I also like to have some water with me (although it’s usually provided in interviews) and some pens and paper. Make sure to check the interview information and see whether you need to do any prep, in the past I’ve had to prepare a presentation and take it with me.

What type of interview is it?

I’ve been to group interviews, presentation interviews, panel interviews and one-to-one interviews; it just depends on the organisation, department and specific role you’re applying for. Each interview type has its pros and cons, usually I find it less nerve-wracking if there’s more than one person interviewing but really it depends on the people! It’s always important to know what type of interview you’re going to, and try to find out the name/s of the interviewers.

First impressions are vital

I know it’s a cliché but it’s true.

Dress smartly (yes, you have to iron your shirt), smile, introduce yourself, shake hands with your interviewers, please and thank you etc. Don’t sit down until a seat is offered, sit up straight, listen to your interviewers carefully and ask for clarification if you’re unsure about something.

Make eye contact and nod or respond where appropriate. Address the person who has asked you the question but also make eye contact with the other members of the panel.

The questions

Top tip – have a look at the job specification; you can usually work out what kind of questions you’ll get. I’ve had questions on personal strengths and weaknesses, working through a difficult situation, why I would be suitable for the role, and everything in between.

I definitely recommend having a couple of examples of situations you’ve been in and do some personal reflection.

If you’re struggling to think of the best example to use or how to answer a question, ask if you can come back to it. I’ve done this a few times – they aren’t judging you for it.

STAR

The most important thing to remember for interviews – use the STAR technique.

I’m really bad for waffling and trying to cram in a lot of information – have you noticed? The STAR technique helps me give focused, concise answers.

Situation – Who, what, when, where and why

Task – What was the challenge or problem, what was the end goal?

Action – What did YOU do?

Result – What was the outcome?

Ask your own questions

Always ask at least one question yourself. It shows you’re interested – in the job, the company, the people sat in front of you. Rather than trying to think something up on the spot, I tend to go with a few questions in mind, and then whatever isn’t answered; you’ve got some questions to hand.

Just make sure you don’t ask anything that’s already been answered.

After the interview

Before you leave, make sure they have your contact details and that you know when they will contact you. When they do get in touch, I make sure to thank them for their time and for contacting me, I also always ask for feedback on my interview – even if I’m offered the position.

If you need to take a day to consider a job offer, don’t be afraid to ask for some time. Remember, even though a job offer over the phone is brilliant, it’s not binding, and it’s important to ensure you get some kind of written offer.

Good luck out there and remember to check out the Careers Central Interviews page for more advice, tips and to book a mock interview if you’re feeling unprepared or unsure!

Recognition and relationships

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Post by James Beighton, Employer Partnerships Officer (Student Employment) at Sheffield Hallam University

There’s an age-old saying “Self-praise is no recommendation.” Proverbs have to start somewhere so at some point, somebody must’ve been willing to shout about their success and it must’ve meant something to someone.

Last week we crowned institutional winners of The Sheffield Hallam University Student Employee of The Year Awards (SEOTY). The Awards themselves are the largest of their kind in the UK and recognise students who successfully combine part-time work with study. 81 of our students were put forward as nominees by their Manager for going above and beyond their job duties, showing leadership or having a commercial impact on a local or national business.

Sheffield once again sits at the top of the table for student employment with the city’s two Universities finishing 2nd and 3rd in the overall nominations table for 2018.

What does this mean for our students? For some, I dare say most, a job fits one purpose, an income alongside study. This year, more than any other, our students are starting to reflect on the skills they are taking from employment. We’ve heard about the competitive job market, being work ready as a graduate, being tech-savvy and digitally orientated. What is refreshing is the way that all our winners reflected on their achievements in their victory speech, with confidence and humility. Soft skills will take you far.

The labour market is increasingly consumer driven. The 2018 employer is open to those with portfolio careers and it’s accepted that stand out workers will likely have exposure to different sectors, jobs and skill sets. Yorkshire’s rich list was released by The Times Newspaper last week and emphasised the trend that fortune is increasingly self-made. The rise to wealth of those setting up their own business or believing in an idea is stark. Proof, if ever it was needed, that graduates will go far with belief and resilience, two distinguishing factors amongst those who work part-time and those who work part-time with distinction.

It is possible to have an impact working as little as 8 to 10 hours per week. Looking at this year’s SEOTY nominations, our students are proving to be a driving force behind some of the bigger issues facing the Higher Education Sector. Our Commercial Impact Award winner won her award for bringing an estimated £1 million of new business to a company specialising in mental health and wellbeing. The winner of the Above and Beyond Award is a true ambassador, promoting the value of getting into further education amongst school children through sports coaching in the community. The ability of our students to apply themselves through part-time work and champion their own experience of higher education is admirable.

Work experience is as much a part of an education as learning a system or reading a textbook. It allows students to build relationships on a professional level and the confidence gained from seeing the reward in working is markable. Our students have to work, it’s no longer a desirable.

On campus, our student casual payroll paid 402 individual students last month. Between them, these students worked over 4000 hours in paid part-time work, working for teams on campus at Sheffield Hallam University. The demand for work is on the increase and through initiatives like SEOTY, the importance of a successful working partnership between students and employers is becoming ever more prominent.

The 2017 national SEOTY winner is a Sheffield Hallam student. At the time, 1st year Law student Nabeela stood out as a clear winner for her work with young people as part of The National Citizen Service (NCS) programme. Students are leading by example and working as advocates for the importance of getting out there and doing something meaningful. They may not identify it at the outset but they are resilient in a time where it’s easy to become insular in an uncertain political and financial labour market. Nabeela featured via video at our awards evening and summed up exactly what a SEOTY Award can do for the confidence of a student, “When I went to interviews I was able to say, I’m student employee of the year, hire me!”. A stand out example that work experience at any level of study is valuable both to the individual and a business.

The SEOTY Awards are now at a regional stage where winners from institutional awards will compete across the country to be named as National Student Employee of The Year 2018.

Winners will be announced at The National Association of Student Employment Services (NASES) Conference in July. For more information, head to www.nases.org.

If you’re a student, look at the hundreds of part-time on campus and off campus job roles advertised on UniHub. You could be the next SEOTY Awards winner!

If you’re an employer, you can benefit from flexible, casual workers and advertise for FREE today.

 

The Fairs – from the inside, out…

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Written by Georgia Widdowson, Psychology placement student.

“Don’t miss the Part- time jobs fair tomorrow…”,
“Do you want to find a job whilst studying?”,
“Georgia, you don’t want to miss out…”

After receiving what feels like a life time of emails – similar to the above – promoting Job fairs, volunteering opportunities and undergraduate roles which will make us ‘more employable’ I thought, “Do you know what, I think I’ll take a rain check this year.”

Well, now I am kicking myself for closing a door to opportunities I had never opened my eyes to in the first place. I would always think “How is this actually going to help me? Companies won’t choose me. Employers won’t want to work around my busy University schedule.” But, I was wrong. Being on placement in the Careers Team has enabled me to experience University job fairs from the ‘inside’, where I have got my hands dirty with tasks. I now see why fairs are so important to get stand out work experience as a student. Attending a careers fair isn’t scary, its set up for us, SHU students.

Taking an undercover role as a staff member at SHU has forced me to take my fingers out my ears and listen to what employers can offer us. They DO want to help us. If I’d have never taken up a work placement role at the University careers and employability team, then the skills which I have learnt would still be buried under a towering pile of ‘denial’. I have uncovered abilities I’d never have the self-confidence to develop.

When I first arrived at my work placement, I was gobsmacked by how much work goes into the creation of job fairs for us students. The team do everything possible to help us and all the work that goes into fairs is solely with the benefit of students in mind. Without sounding biased the fairs amazing! Some quotes below from students at the recent Work While You Study Fairs can give you a bit of insight into exactly why job fairs are a must to attend…

            “Great variety and there a few companies here which I am definitely going to sign up to! There are opportunities here I didn’t think we could get involved with and get paid for.”

“Really good to be able to talk to employers in person as it’s easier to ‘sell’ yourself face to face rather than over your CV.”

            “It has been excellent! It made finding a job so easy! Everyone was really helpful.”

            “It was good because there are companies here that I wouldn’t think of applying for, so it was great to have some variety!”

These are just handful of student quotes which undoubtedly highlight how valuable, helpful, fun and eye-opening the careers fairs are!

However, I had to save the best until last…

            “We LOVE it! Loads of fun jobs and opportunities- I have signed up everywhere!”

This student was beaming like a Cheshire cat and was so enthusiastic and excited it was as if someone had told her she had landed a dream date. This really made me giggle and reminded me what exciting and interesting opportunities are handed to us at this University – we shouldn’t take them for granted!

So, when the next fairs come around,  don’t be a hermit and exchange Netflix for job finding. Find and drag yourself and your mates on campus and get involved! Whether this is talking to employers, taking leaflets or better yet, signing up to a job or volunteering opportunity! It doesn’t matter if you don’t find an opportunity; at least you got yourself out there! There’s no harm in trying and excelling yourself.

All I can think now is “I am so glad I decided to do a work placement! I’m a new ‘strong, independent woman’ who can achieve anything thrown her way!

International Women’s Day 2018

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Our event is on Thursday 8th March at 12pm in the Careers and Employability Centre and is called ’Women Leading Social Change’.

Women Leading Social Change is part of SheFest and is hosted by Sheffield Hallam University and the Sheffield Social Enterprise Network www.ssen.org.uk

On International Women’s Day we will be hearing from successful social entrepreneurs. They will talk about why social enterprise is changing the face of the business sector, as well as the challenges and successes they have faced along the way.

There will be time for networking after the panel discussion. 

The speakers are:

Sangita Basudev is a founder member of Sheffield Live! the local community media organisation. She has spent a majority of her working life in social enterprises, co-ops and the community voluntary sector.

Jo Hercberg is the founder and co Director of The Real Junk Food Project Sheffield, a social enterprise saving food from being wasted and doing amazing things with it. The project began in 2015 and now runs 2 cafés, the Sharehouse Market, an ethical catering operation and an educational program for schools with 180+ volunteers and 6 employees.

Sophie Maxwell founded the Really NEET Project back in 2011, she wanted to develop a college where young people who had complex needs including mental health issues, care-leavers, young people on probation, young parents, young people with learning disabilities and other such barriers could learn in a safe environment, most of Really NEET’s young people have struggled in all previous education placements including school. Really NEET works with a 160 young people a year across Rotherham, Barnsley and Sheffield. Sophie was driven by her own experience, she was pulled out of school at 14 to escape domestic violence and ended up homeless at 16. She has won many national awards for the work she has done including the high sheriffs award for devoted services to the community and the Duke of York Award. 

Students can book their place via UniHub https://unihub.shu.ac.uk/students/events/detail/579242

My first week on placement!

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Blog post by Psychology student Georgia Widdowson – my first week on a work placement in the Careers and Employability Centre…

A bit about me…

I’ve always loved people, I love chatting with them, listening to them, but most of the time, talking at them. That is why I decided Psychology was the perfect course for me; the study of human behaviour never fails to get me excited!

During the open day for Sheffield Hallam, I was instantly attracted to the course once it was stated that we had the option of doing a work placement .I thought “Fab, a chance to get out into the real world and explore what a field in Psychology has to offer!” As a fantasist, I always envisaged I’d end up pulling a Freud and being a counsellor for the 8 weeks, or taking a leaf out of Milgram’s or Zimbardo’s book and conducting some crazy experiments. However, although it has not been as juicy as this, that’s not to say, I haven’t already learnt a lot during my work placement so far!   

So, where am I doing my work placement?

Originally, I was assigned to work at a sexual health charity in Sheffield. I was really looking forward to this as it covered one of the many areas within Psychology of interest to me. So, I thought “Amazing, for once, things have actually worked out for me!” Well…I spoke to soon. A couple of days later, when enjoying a nice Jacket potato in the Heart of the campus café, I received an email stating that a change in circumstances within the organisation meant I could no longer carry out my placement there. So, after one of my classic dramatic and blubbery phone calls to my Mum (and in front of the unfortunate souls who happened to be in the café) I concluded that this was down to fate, and that I had to trust that it was meant to be!

So, to get to the point…thankfully, the lovely and friendly careers team at Sheffield Hallam said they’d take me on, and as such I was assigned to work in their team for 8 weeks.

Now, I am sure you’re all wondering. How has my first week been?

As my first day arrived, I woke up at 7am, blurry eyed and zombified, and feeling very nervous and anxious about being in a professional environment and meeting new people. Despite this, I immediately felt welcome, and the positive and vibrant atmosphere within the department got me very excited about the opportunities and activities I would be getting involved with. Of course, I was apprehensive as it was not my original placement or line of work which I would originally chose or was interested to get involved with, yet this was the kick I needed to get me out of my comfort zone.

Luckily, I came at the perfect time. In the height of the organisation of the department’s two biggest job fairs ‘GoGlobal’ and ‘Work while you study’ (which I encourage everyone to come and check out!) I have helped towards the planning and promotion of these. I devised floor plans for the space at which the fairs will take place, deciding how the layout should be and where each company will stand. I’ve chosen the promotional videos for each company who will be at the fair (Apologies in advance if these bore you) and completing admin work, such as coding on the UniHub website, and I have sat in meetings among the careers team which was great to analyse from a Psychology perspective! These are things which I’d have never in a million years seen myself doing- yet, thank goodness I have! As it has provided me with skills which I’d have never have pushed myself to achieve. I am now looking forward to getting more stuck in!

So, what am I trying to say?

My first week of work placement has already provided me with the most important thing of all…confidence; Self-confidence, confidence in my abilities and skills and the confidence that my opinion, as a student, does matter. My view of Sheffield Hallam has changed.

Already, I have learnt that the University, especially within the careers and employability team, want you to succeed and do well and do all they can to help you achieve your life goals. So, don’t shy away and pop in to the department and ask any questions you may have about your future, or apply for an on/off campus job to earn some pocket money and gain invaluable skills, helping you to be more employable! And if you’re unsure about doing a work placement, all I can say is… Do IT, as no experience is ever wasted.