A recent graduate of Cardiff University, Hannah Richards explains how a portfolio of work experience was instrumental in gaining her first job within her preferred field.
Hi, my name is Hannah and I’m an English Literature graduate of Cardiff University. I got my first job through GO Wales and I’d like to tell you how work experience was a major part of this achievement.
I always felt that work experience was important: to discover what type of career I would like, to practice my skills and to develop new ones. I knew I wanted to work in the area of media, marketing and PR and so I went on a mission to get work experience and test out the industries. My placements included a week at the South Wales Argus, a fortnight at Working Word PR and a week at Buzz Magazine – a Taster I applied for through GO Wales. As well as these placements, I volunteered as a marketing and publicity assistant at a local charity. For me, these experiences confirmed that I loved writing and that these were my preferred career areas. I could leave university with a clear focus and with evidence of my interest and abilities in these industries on my CV.
Undertaking work experience also gave me the opportunity to build up a portfolio that would demonstrate my creativity, writing, media and marketing skills. I collated samples of the work I had completed throughout my voluntary experience and took the portfolio to my job interview. My employer later told me that the portfolio was a nice surprise as it showed how much I wanted to work and also that it was the ‘icing on the cake’ - the part of my interview that fully confirmed his decision to pick me.
Due to my efforts with work experience, I am now the Marketing Assistant at Pinnacle Internet Marketing. My duties include copywriting, search engine marketing, paid search advertising, email marketing, content marketing, work with website design, work with clients and exhibitions and various other areas. Within the four months I have been at the agency, I have already developed a whole new set of skills that will be of great use for me going into the future, and I’m still learning something new every day.
Even though I have a full time job, I want to keep my career options open. So, in my spare time I contribute to Buzz magazine, both because I enjoy writing and because I want to build upon my journalism experience. My GO Wales Taster with the magazine is what introduced me to this opportunity and my previous work with Buzz was a great help when I applied to become a contributor.
In light of my experience, if I could give one piece of advice to all prospective students, current students and graduates, it would be that work experience is the key to getting on the career ladder!
Make the best start to your career with GO Wales – paid work placements, work experience, jobs and training. http://www.gowales.co.uk
Get further help and support from the Careers & Employability Work Experience Team.