Social Media Success for DMU Graduate Champion

By Natalie Whitehouse

Journalism graduate Georgina Baker found herself remaining a part of De Montfort even after leaving, when she undertook an internship through the university’s DMU Graduate Champions Scheme.

The 21-year-old has this week completed a six-week placement with Media Board International, a Leicester-based marketing company, where she has been enjoying her role as Social Media Marketing Officer and Journalist.

Since graduating last summer, Georgina has applied for “no end of jobs in journalism,” but says she wasn’t too disheartened that the applications, thus far, have been to no avail:

“I was ready for a little break, so I wasn’t too downhearted at my failings for finding something permanent.”

Georgina has since found herself back at her local pub, in the part time job she has had since she was fourteen, before getting a letter through the post advertising DMU Graduate Champions, tempting her to look into the internship scheme and apply:

“I got a little letter through the post and to be honest I actually didn’t think they would have any positions for me, as I didn’t think there were any journalism postings about.

“I left the card on my desk and for a few weeks it kept staring at me, so one day when I was writing a blog post I bit the bullet and applied – not expecting to hear anything at all!”

Gee Baker

Georgina’s application was thankfully successful, undertaking her internship at the beginning of the year. Her role at Media Board is diverse and enjoyable; providing her with a whole host of tasks to keep her busy from day to day:

“I have been involved with setting up Media Board’s official blog where I write all the blogs, which have included an ‘About Media Board’ one, as well as personal blogs from myself tracking my time here. I’ve also been let lose editing content already on the website.

“I’m involved in planning content for Media Board’s clients, which we then draft and schedule to social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This sort of stuff can be anything from opening hours of the restaurants we work with, to coming up with competitions and special offers.

“Because no one client is the same it has been really interesting to see how ideas can be adapted for each business, and it’s great because you meet so many different people.”

Georgina has also praised the internship scheme, ran by DMU, which enabled her to gain this vital experience in an industry she wishes to work in, in turn hopefully giving her the extra push she needs to secure a full time role:

“I really would [recommended the scheme to graduates], especially if you are like me and find job searching a minefield! For the sake of going online for ten minutes tops and filling in the application form, it is so worth it. DMU does all the hard work once you’ve submitted your application, and you just say yes or no to the jobs they find you. Whatever job you end up being assigned to is all experience and will look great on the CV!”

With regards to the future and her hunt for a job, Georgina would ideally like a job in journalism, PR or marketing, noting that she’s “not fussy” as to where she ends up; as long as it gives her the chance to do something she loves, as well as passing some personal milestones:

“I’m hoping to still do stuff with Media Board from them such as blogs and I will keep up my own personal writing too while I look for a full time job in the journalism industry, but while that happens and while I’m still at home I am going to try and get my driving test passed as soon as possible, and keep working at the pub to stop myself going bored and provide me with money and a bit more of a social life!”

“It definitely makes for an interesting story that the one job I didn’t actually apply for, I ended up getting!”

By Natalie Whitehouse

After applying for a whole host of jobs, journalism graduate Sam Smith landed a fantastic role in PR – without actually applying for the job in the first place.

Sam, who graduated from De Montfort with a 2:1 in Journalism, got into contact with the Leicester branch of Aylesworth Fleming, a PR company with various offices across the country, speaking to the PR account director and putting himself out there.

And being pro-active proved to be a success, as a couple of months later the 22-year-old was fortunate enough to be offered an interview, and ultimately a PR role, at the company:

“I did apply for other jobs, of course, so it definitely makes for an interesting story that the one job I didn’t actually apply for, I ended up getting! I applied for a variety of job roles in different locations, from sports journalism jobs in London to PR account jobs in Liverpool.

“I’d also been applying for jobs outside of PR and journalism, including at a local Waitrose where I was actually offered a job just days before landing my role at Aylesworth Fleming which I then had to turn down after initially accepting. I suppose it’s the old London buses analogy scenario.”

The NCTJ accredited journalist noted that preparation and previous experience allowed him to stand out as a candidate for the role:

“When I walked into my interview with Aylesworth Fleming, I had my portfolio of work clutched tightly under my arm, full of cuttings from newspapers, magazines and online articles which I had built up through my degree at De Montfort, from the Demon to the Leicester Mercury and many more, and it was my writing skills which really helped me secure my job.

“My message to anyone in this industry would be to make sure you are putting yourself out there and keeping hold of any work you’ve achieved because it will become useful further down the line.”

Sam began his role at the PR company in September last year, after graduating from DMU two months previously. The company primarily specialises in marketing and advertising for property developers, and Sam confesses this wasn’t the area he had in mind when looking into PR positions:

“If you had asked me when I left De Montfort if property developers were my point of interest, and house builders PR was going to be my long-term career, I’d be lying if I said that seemed reasonable. However, now I’ve become a part of this industry, I can honestly say I love working in this environment and that PR is absolutely the industry I want to be in. I couldn’t be enjoying myself any more than I am right now.”

Sam Smith

Sam’s journey just goes to show that putting yourself out there will reap the deserved rewards, which in this case is a varied job that the graduate thoroughly loves. Although he confesses one of his biggest day-to-day tasks is making tea (“everybody here drinks a lot of tea!”), his role is really quite diverse, with each day providing new challenges:

“The obvious stuff such as writing press releases is a given, but the main objective for all of us working at Aylesworth Fleming, especially in the PR department, is to meet our clients’ needs on a daily basis. This can take many forms in truth, from setting up photography at housing developments to fielding phone calls from the local and national media who are enquiring about a new homes development with one of our clients.”

The biggest challenge Sam has faced, however, has been the transition from university to working life, with a full time role proving to be a big change – especially in such a fast-paced, demanding industry:

“It’s a huge change. From waking up at a reasonable time in the morning, attending lectures maybe three to four times a week, and having deadlines set weeks in advance to achieve… working life is something very different to university life.

“Luckily for me, my drive to work each morning is short and sweet with very little traffic, and the same again on my way home, so that doesn’t affect me. Working to tight deadlines and having things thrown at you from every angle during any given day’s work can be a challenge, though.”

But for the most part, Sam has completely thrown himself into his role at Aylesworth Fleming, and his friendly office enabled him to ease into a full time position immediately:

“This will probably sound a little bit cliché but I have to say that honestly the best thing about coming into work every day is the people around me in our office. We all get along, support each other with our work, work hard for each other but also keep things light-hearted and always have a good laugh about things.

“Perhaps from an outsider’s view, they maybe don’t know who Aylesworth Fleming are or what we do here, but inside our camp it’s a genuine privilege for me to come into work every morning and learn from these guys around me.”

And seeing results also enables Sam to have an unbridled passion for his role, which is something that all graduates will be seeking to find:

“When you’ve worked hard on putting something together for a client, for example if you’ve written a 500 word press release, organised a photo shoot to accompany it, put it all together and sent it out to the media, it’s a sweet feeling seeing your hard work make print and having newspaper and magazine cuttings with your work attached.”

DSU role for NCTJ qualified journalist

By Natalie Whitehouse

Journalism graduate Jonathan Whitney has found himself back on the De Montfort campus, returning to the university in a role at De Montfort Students’ Union as Media and Communications Coordinator.

The NCTJ-accredited journalist stumbled across the vacancy by chance, and knew instantly that it was a job he could see himself succeed in:

“I knew it was exactly what I was looking for so I applied straight away. I got an interview and heard back the next day that I’d been successful! My first day was during Freshers – the busiest time of the year for us – so that was a bit of a baptism of fire, but I haven’t looked back since.”

Being thrown in at the deep end, Jonny began his role four months ago at the beginning of the academic year, and pays testament to his course and experience gained at De Montfort for assisting him in successfully securing the role at DSU:

“All of the skills I’d learnt on my course were big factors in me landing the job, but my previous experience was crucial. In my final year of study I was a Frontrunner in the press office at DMU, and the skills I learnt there in sourcing and writing news stories more tailored to a commercial setting was really important, and it was most helpful to me in learning how to write for different audiences.

“I was also a Media Intern at Leicester Tigers during that time, and spent the season honing my skills across a wide range of areas including press releases, social media and a little bit of video content.”

This vast amount of experience put the journalism graduate in extremely good stead for the position at DSU, which have allowed him to flourish in his role, as well as learn new skills on the job:

“I work in a small team, so I can find myself turning my hand to anything during a normal working week. I coordinate all of the news content that goes up on the DSU website, most of which I write myself. I’m also in charge of all of the main social media channels we have, so scheduling messages for, and monitoring, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others can take up a large part of my day.

“I’m also getting more and more into video content, which is one area that I didn’t cover so much on my course, but it still uses all of the traditional story telling techniques I learnt during my time studying at DMU.”

Jonny Whitney

Having previously wanted to get into sports journalism, the 21-year-old realised early in his time at university that his career path may change, as he began to lean more towards a career in communications:

“I wanted to be a sports journalist for a long time, but quite early on during my course my eyes were opened to the opportunities in PR and Communications and my goals have changed to suit. At some point in my career I’d love to work for a communications team in a sporting environment, but right now I’m really happy at DSU!”

Jonny seems to have found his ideal career – or along the lines of it. He fully enjoys his role, the projects he has been involved in thus far, and also the interesting people he gets to meet along the way:

“The most interesting bit I find is when you get some weird and slightly quirky stories coming out of the woodwork. I was writing one about a student, Maddison, who is BUCS champion in her category of Karate as our sports department gives her funding towards her training. Only as I was interviewing her did it come out that she was not only BUCS champion, but a double European and triple world champion! That was fascinating and made for a brilliant story.”

And as is the consistently fast-paced nature of the communications world, there’s always something to keep him busy, and most importantly happy:

“Right now is a really busy time because we’re in the middle of planning comms. around elections, Varsity, RAG week and a whole lot more. But I’m really enjoying it!

“I get a real buzz out of actually seeing the effect my work has – whether that be more engagement with a certain campaign, or more student sign-ups to one of our services.”

“Just keep motivated” – A graduate’s advice for securing a full time job

By Natalie Whitehouse

Patience and hard work are key to securing a full time job, says Shriya Pancholi; a Journalism and Media graduate who managed to get employed as a Social Media Assistant by Dunelm – without even having to go for an interview!

The 21-year-old fashion enthusiast applied for a host of jobs before securing the position at Dunelm, after already applying for a different role within the company:

“I originally applied for the role of Public Relations Assistant around August and had an interview for the role. My interviewer was very happy with the skills, qualities and experience I had but decided that I would be perfectly suited to a job in social media, and told me that if a social media vacancy ever came up, she would offer me the job.”

Shriya also notes that previous experience at the company assisted her greatly in becoming part of the Dunelm team:

“During my final year I managed to get a four week placement at Dunelm within the PR and Social Media Department. I put myself out there and looked for a placement, even though it wasn’t a requirement of my course. Because the manager and the rest of the team remembered me, she was more than happy to offer me a job.”

Experience definitely plays a major role in securing a full time job after university. As well as her placement at Dunelm, Shriya has undertaken a vast amount of work within journalism, most notably as a writer for The Demon and fashion blogger for Bonafide Supernova:

“Even if you don’t need work experience or a placement for your degree, it is really important to do it anyway,” she stresses, “I wouldn’t have the great job I have today if I didn’t put myself out there and give up some of my time – it was definitely worth it.”

Shriya Pancholi

As for her role at Dunelm, Shriya has been Social Media Assistant at the company since the end of September – after finishing traveling in the Far East, no less.

Some of her day-to-day duties include checking the social channels, liaising with the web and digital marketing team and speaking to external PR agencies, as well as being involved in projects, citing Dunelm’s recent Christmas competition as her favourite thus far.

Alongside this, Shriya also writes Dunelm’s quarterly company magazine, the Gazette, focusing on colleague information, managerial updates and financial reviews:

“I love writing the Gazette,” she adds, “Because I come from a Journalism and Media background, I love being able to merge the two in my role and it’s great to see the finished version of the Gazette once it has been printed.”

The diversity and constant changes within her role are also qualities which have made Shriya fall in love with what she does:

“I love the fact that I have something new to come in to everyday. Although I’m running the same social channels and focusing on similar content, there’s always something new that pops up. It’s really interesting learning something new every day. No two days are the same!”

But the graduate does admit she misses university life, and has a message for all current students:

“I absolutely love my job, but I do miss university. I would say to all students, make the most of your time at university, because it goes so fast! Yes, I hated the 9:00am lectures and yes I hated sitting through seminars that seemed to go on for hours, but looking back, I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.”

And Shriya also has some encouraging words for graduates who are still seeking employment:

“Even if you don’t have your dream job yet, just keep motivated, work hard and it’ll only be a matter of time before you have the career you really want.”