As the sun sets on my final week as a Baptee in the social department, I’ve taken some time to reflect on three tips that help with progressing from university student to industry worker:
Utilise the opportunity to unlock new ways of thinking and harness valuable skills that will compliment your degree, rather than go for the easy credit points. If you delve into QUT’s list of electives you’ll find a plethora of relevant subjects that can give you an added edge in the industry.
Over the past four years I’ve signed up for logo design, creative writing, short stories, visual communication, script writing and last but not least – a poetry class, scheduled for my final semester next year. Each area has contributed differently in expanding my lateral thinking and flexibility for formulating ideas for brands in the social media realm.
For instance, visual communication and logo design have helped hone my creative conception for social media visuals, whilst my writing electives have helped prepare me for the diverse range of short copy posts required to develop social media calendars for BCM clients.
After all, no brief is the same, so a broad skillset and open-minded approach can really come in handy when tackling different projects. Clients typically want to work with people who’re going to deliver above and beyond their expectations, so variety can go a long way. Therefore, gain the upper hand by choosing a challenge when plotting out your electives, rather than sticking to your comfort zone.
It’s a big leap from student life to industry hours; the days become longer, deadlines become shorter and you’re work load becomes more constant. You can end up cooped up at your desk staring drowsily at the screen for hours if you don’t devise a productive work system.
I think I can speak for a lot of uni students when I say procrastinating and cramming are two of our favourite past times. Unfortunately, these don’t transition well into industry work, especially when you’re working as an intern in the social media department of a busy agency like BCM! If you’re like me, you will need to change up some of your student ways in order to adapt a more professional work ethic that can tackle the fast-paced world of social advertising.
For most of us, our social media presence is purely a novel expression of our own personal brand, something we’re free to update whenever we please. Yet, for professional brands it proves to be a full time responsibility. When you’re managing well-developed social platforms for big name brands, you’ll need to have your content ducks in a row.
I’ve found the real challenge in leveraging social media for businesses is planning out content months in advance, that help make instantaneous connections and build up authentic relationships with a large (and often strongly opinionated) user base.
I’m constantly learning how to use the right balance of personality and professionality to represent each client well on social platforms. It has been really important to research the clients to gain an in-depth understanding of the brands I am working with and the way they communicate, because you’re not submitting your work to a tutor anymore, but to a mass audience.
Ultimately, my advice is to work like a social media post— be timely, professional, personable and in tune with society.
This one is a bit of a given considering the ever-constant advancements in advertising technologies and trends, but I’m already beginning to feel out of touch. Fancy that, a tech dinosaur at 21! This realisation began to sink in during my first week when I had to Google what ‘Pinterest’ was, opted for a PC over Mac and became dizzy from using a double screen.
It’s nearly the end of the six-week internship and with great patience and guidance from my mentor, Emilie, I’ve transitioned into monitoring and updating client social media accounts, scheduling and boosting Facebook ads, and have a Feedly account up and running.
When you’re working off and on by semester at university, it’s very easy to get rusty with new programs and processes you’ve learnt briefly during your degree. So make an effort to keep up to date with useful industry tools and trends!
I’ve shared my top 3 tips for uni students transitioning to full time work, but what advice would you give to someone like me?
Tyler Baillie is a Baptism 16/17 Intern