Guest Post – Joanna Spencer from Code Computerlove Offers Top Tips to Agency Life Students

A great guest post from Joanna Spencer who is a Marketing Executive at digital agency Code Computerlove, based in Manchester.

Established in 1999, Code’s 80-strong team collaboratively offer cross-platform digital solutions that include Strategy & User Experience, Design & Build, Performance & Optimisation, Mobile Apps, Campaigns & Social and Search & Media, and they’ve worked with clients including Oxfam, the BBC, NUS, Hillarys, Betta Living, Chester Zoo, PDSA, Brother, Refuge, The Woodland Trust and First Group.

Joanna writes:

“A little bit about me

While I was studying, I worked for Carat Media in both their PPC and Social Media teams. These roles provided me with invaluable experience, specifically around reporting and research. Upon graduating last year with a BA in Marketing Management, I was offered the amazing opportunity to join Code as their first-ever Marketing Executive, working with the PR Manager and the New Business Director to raise the profile of the agency in order to attract the right clients as well as future talent.

Nine months on and I am happy to say I love my job. I have the unique opportunity to work in a client-side role within an agency, and this naturally means that I get to get involved with a variety of projects. But, most importantly, I have a huge amount of autonomy, I’m constanting learning and I get to work with some amazingly talented people.

The successful Agency Life applicant will get an opportunity to work with me on various projects across the business.

Why I think this opportunity is important

The Agency Life scheme offers proper work experience, and I can personally vouch for the fact that getting out there before you graduate to find out what working life is actually like is really valuable. Plus it enables you to get a taste of the career you’ll hopefully enter after graduation.

Previously, students were just automatically placed with an agency, but, this year, they’ll need to apply. Personally, I welcomed this change – I think that having to take the initiative yourself ensures you get placed with the right employer, plus it means more on your CV if you’ve had to compete for your role.

My expectations

I’m looking for someone who is enthusiastic, and is looking to learn. In all honesty, I’m not expecting the CVS to be filled with reams and reams of relevant stuff, experience-wise – I’m after someone who clearly demonstrates keenness, interest and attention to detail, and am up for meeting with anyone who seems to fit the bill to find out more.

Unfortunately, I recently read an application that gave me plenty of reasons not to invite the individual in for a chat. So I thought I would share some tips on the best way to approach applying for an Agency Life placement:

1.     Be honest

I know there’s always a temptation to embellish or exaggerate on a CV, but it’s just not necessary.

At this level, we aren’t looking for past experience or extensive working skills, as we know it’s unlikely you will have had a chance to develop them yet. In my opinion, your CV for Agency Life is an opportunity to demonstrate enthusiasm, whilst also providing an overview of what you enjoy doing and what you want to do in the future.

So be honest, or you could end up spending seven months doing something you don’t enjoy – plus there’s always a chance that a little white lie could catch you out somewhere further down the line…

2.     Check (and the double-check) your spelling and grammar

It sounds basic but it’s important to demonstrate that you’re at least sensible enough to use spellcheck – especially if the role you are applying for entails writing copy (and most do). Does what you’re saying make sense? Read through your application thoroughly, and, if possible, get someone else to take a look at it for you before you send it to avoid silly mistakes.

3.     Keep it simple

Don’t throw in overcomplicated words just for the sake of it, or make broad, clichéd statements that don’t really mean anything, like ‘I’m the full package and always give 100%’ – they can actually work against you.

4.     Be aware of your online presence

If you mention any Twitter feeds or blogs that you manage in your application, a potential employer’s certainly going to look at them. But it’s not just the stuff you include on your CV that you should be careful of – many potential employers will Google you, too, so you need to make sure that your entire online presence reflects you at your best.

Change the privacy setting on any social media accounts you wouldn’t want them to access and delete posts or blog that has your name attached to it which could be seen as contradicting anything you’ve mentioned on your application – and certainly don’t include links to work you’ve done that’s not up to standard on your CV.

5.     Be enthusiastic

This is quite broad advice, but it applies to both your application and your interviews. Do your research, be interested, ask questions…. First impressions count so be friendly and approachable from the get go.

I hope these tips help, and don’t forget to check out Code Computerlove’s opportunity – we want to hear from you! Read our tips we give out to graduates and the ideas we gave to students on Talent Day.”

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