For me, leaving University was one of the hardest challenges I have had to face so far. Having previously studied at a small independent faith school with a population less than that of a coal miner’s convention – it was hard to embrace the fact I would be competing for a place in this crowded digital environment. With hundreds of people graduating alongside me in Greater Manchester alone, and an extra few hundred graduating each year thereafter what are the chances of me being noticed? How would I ever stand out from the crowd and land my dream job?
Thousands of pounds and several hundred caffeine induced beverages later and I found myself standing looking deep in to this digital precipice with an abundance of career options available. A fantastic new parachute-shaped degree strapped to my back – but is a degree alone enough to stand out from the crowd and help land your dream job?
Reading a number of job applications before leaving University told me that a degree alone probably wasn’t enough to land me my dream job. I needed to find something that would set my CV apart from other CV’s my potential future employers would be reading –
and not just a page full of buzz words!
The first and probably most important thing I did was Learn Something Different. Sure, you are passionate about your course and you love what you’re learning. But, there are many other things out there that you can complement what you’re learning.
For instance, I studied BATAR (BA Television & Radio) but, I have always been passionate about website design & development – which is why I spent a lot of my spare time online learning about it and putting it into practice. Many young graduates will start off in smaller companies or start-ups, and showing a future employer you are flexible and can take on multiple roles can be of huge benefit to you.
For me, a winning combination was BATAR + SSMM (BA Television and Radio + Search and Social Media Marketing). I love producing content (film, photography, websites) but it is also important to know how to market this content correctly, which this Search and Social Media Markeing (SSMM) continuouse professioanl development evening course was able to teach me.
This fantastic opportunity arose whilst searching for some part time freelance work on Salford University career website, and being introduced to prominent student employability enthusiast – Alex Fenton. Alex Fenton offered me the opportunity of taking in this course free of charge, providing I filmed each session and edited the footage so that it could be used to teach long distance students.
The course provides fantastic coverage of all aspects of SEO, ranging from the implementation of on-site organic optimisation through to pay-per-click and social media campaigns. The course has been structured to provide students with class based lessons and practical tasks to increase knowledge learning potential.
The course is split in to two separate courses, with the first course aimed at beginners who are new to this sector and would like to learn the basics. The second course on the other hand, is for people who are already well attuned in SEO and are looking to broaden their knowledge of the subject in order to advance their career.
Offering industry leading guest speakers each week from various high-profile businesses throughout the Northwest gives students an insight and understanding of the various trends, software and skills that are currently being used. Having the opportunity to speak and network with these industry professionals also gave me confidence to converse with other industry professionals and potential employers.
Taking the Search & Social Media Marketing course at the Salford Business School was undoubtedly the right thing to do in the pursuit of further education in order to help me obtain a job in this fast paced industry. The course is compact and precise, offering practical and relevant experience with friendly and approachable course teachers and speakers.
I have now been working for an independent Sofa Manufacturer, namely Forest Sofa, for almost a year now after obtaining a Santander backed three month internship. I currently use the skills I learn at the Salford Business School on a daily basis in order to increase traffic to our three B2C brands (The English Sofa Company, The English Bed Company & The Chesterfield Company as well as our singular B2B brand – Forest Contract.
Having almost a year to put these skills in to practice has given me the understanding of why the Search and Social Media course was so valuable and sought after. If you are looking to increase your knowledge of online marketing, this course is definitely a no-brainer.
Another lessons I had learnt on the course was to build an online persona. Like it or not your future employer will most likely Google your name. Right or wrong this gives you a great opportunity to show who you are, and what you do best. Creating a personal online brand has never been easier, and is something almost all of us should be doing to some degree.
It hasn’t always been easy to build your own website to document your work and blog about the things you love, but now there are many free platforms you can use to get up and running quickly and cheaply. Throwing “Free Website Builder” into a search browser brings up a whole host of websites you can use to effectively develop your brand. If you want to adventure a little more, it doesn’t take long to come up with something like the one that I have built for myself, Karlchevalier.co.uk
Remember to keep your social networking platforms, such as LinkedIn and your personal site updated regularly. As documented in this previous post by Jennifer Faughnan on how to use twitter to find a job, you never know when prospecting bosses may be on the lookout for fresh talent!
Working for free has always been a taboo subject with many people I have spoken to. Many people believe that doing work for free is setting a bad precedent. However, I believe that the knowledge and work experience can offer at this young age far outweighs the money that you would have otherwise received.
Experience doesn’t always have to come from business or professionals, either. Collaborating with fellow students can be just as rewarding, for example consider joining one of the studnet societies – the Formula Salford seems like an exciting proposition for many-
The friends you meet now at University may turn out to be future colleagues or even bosses. Set a professional tone with them now within University, as you could potentially be working with them in the future.
Lastly, but certainly not least – Network! Networking with others can open a lot of doors for you. These doors may not open straight away, but when they do and you start to see the rewards it may all be worthwhile. Networking events, such as the Creative Entrepreneur 2016 event, are full of likeminded people, who are open and willing to share their experiences in order to help others.