Gaining experience in your chosen industry whilst studying can be tough. If you’re not panic reading a 300 page book in the library, you’re struggling through crap-loads of boring housework or staving off a hangover in bed, regretting last night’s decision. Not only finding the time, but finding the opportunity (especially if you aren’t in a major city) can be difficult, so in time for PrettyLittleThing’s back to uni series, I thought I would run you through what I did to boost my marketing CV during uni.
If, like me, you chose to go down the more “traditional” degree route, pursuing English Lit, History or even Law, you might be feeling stuck when it comes to gaining experience without the year-in-industry that sandwich courses offer. On a similar note, you might be in the midst of a marketing degree itself, and wondering how you can give your CV that extra edge when it comes to post-graduation.
I always find the advice “go and get real life experience” the most unhelpful and unrealistic ever. It’s not that simple, and offering that as a serious piece of instruction is pretty narrow-minded. For those who can’t afford to take a whole summer off working for free, or don’t live in one of the major cities like London or Manchester where most internships are available, strolling out of your door and into a work experience placement is a dream at best.
There are ways to tackle these troubles, however. I broke down some of the smaller things I did that can make a big difference in the long run, to hopefully help you boost your marketing CV whilst studying.
1. Take and make your own opportunities at uni
Honestly, I “ugh” at this too, but bear with me. Being a person that wasn’t in any societies, didn’t go to any socials and just had a close group (read one-two) friends, I wasn’t the first to nominate myself for English Lit President. But, if you are a little bit more social (a.k.a. not so reclusive), seize these opportunities with both hands and make the most of marketing your club events and announcements in any way, shape or form. Keep a record of what you’ve done and what worked, and use this to your advantage in interviews. I was a PR Rep for my halls at my first uni for about two months before I gave it up, but I still call upon that from time to time, citing my experience pulling together leaflets and banners in Photoshop. If, like me, you don’t want to get too involved, you can still do things from a distance. Why not email the uni bar or some of the socials and ask them if they need some design work done? Or if they need a hand pulling together social media strategies? Any experience is a bonus, no matter how little.
2. Approach small charities and do small bits of free work
Knowing that I wasn’t in the position to take on a three month long internship in London for a mere pittance to nothing at all, I reached out to small charities and offered them my marketing services for free in return for the experience. This ranged from creating infographics advertising dogs for adoption, to creating an animal charity blog and uploading news stories and pictures. You don’t have to do a mountain load – unless you have the time – but showing willing and doing whatever you can will not only add to your experience in the industry, it will show your drive to succeed.