Guest Blog: What I Learned From My Internship At A Fast-Growing Startup

Guest blog from Dániel Hegman, SOAS student, BA Politics (Graduating summer 2017)

Please note that the views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not those of SOAS Careers Service. If you consider this content to be in breach of the SOAS values, please alert careers@soas.ac.uk

How did you start working for start-up?

In my first year at SOAS, I was really keen to get some real work experience. So I went to SOAS Careers Service to ask for their advice. They drew my attention to a couple of interesting opportunities that I could do part-time. After looking through them, one stood out – a Brand Ambassador position at a start-up. I liked the fact that the company is based on an innovative idea and that they are  providing a relevant service for students. They are sorting out summer storage for students, amongst many things, in an innovative way. So I applied and became a Brand Ambassador.

What is your work like?

After my successful application, I received marketing training and I was then responsible for running my own online and offline marketing campaigns. For the offline marketing I put up posters in strategic locations around campus and handed out flyers to students. For the online campaigns I researched relevant SOAS societies on social channels and crafted personalised messages for each one to increase awareness. These efforts resulted in me being the top Brand Ambassador in terms of generating sales! This has not only given me first-hand experience in marketing but also boosted my confidence.

After the successful campaigns, I joined the company as a Finance and Sales intern. On the one hand my job is to ensure the financial sustainability of the company by analysing our expenditures and incomes then making sure all the payments go through. On the other hand, I am helping the sales department with market research and contacting potential customers. However, being a startup I am helping out other departments too.

What is the favourite part of your internship?

My favourite thing at the start-up is the friendly atmosphere. The teams are under the same roof, there is no strong sense of hierarchy and everybody is free to sit wherever they wish. As an intern I get to interact with the different departments and I sometimes have the chance to engage with other aspects of the business. On one of our record days, I got the chance to join one of our drivers on his collection route in London. These experiences truly made me understand how the business is run from different perspectives.

On my first week when my father asked me about my internship the following analogy came to mind. I am working on a ship as a chef, responsible for cooking. However, the ship is in a constant storm so I often have to help out on the main deck!

What advice would you give to others?

Definitely give it a shot and try the start-up life for yourself! Life is too short to spend it all in a corporate office. Start-ups are not for everybody but they provide a unique atmosphere where you can grow and feel that you are truly part of the team, working towards a common dream.

Many thanks to LOVESPACE, the student storage company, for providing the internship! Check out their website if you’re interested in future internships or becoming a student brand ambassador.

Dániel Hegman, SOAS student, BA Politics (Graduating summer 2017) June 2016

 

Guest Blog: How to Use Social Media to Secure a Job

Please note that the views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not those of SOAS Careers Service. If you consider this content to be in breach of the SOAS values, please alert careers@soas.ac.uk

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When you think of social media the first things that may spring to mind are connecting with your friends, sharing your recent holiday snaps and watching hilarious videos. What you probably don’t realise is that 95% of The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers use social media in their recruitment process. A recent study also revealed that over 50% of employees look at candidate’s social media profiles before making a job offer.

This is a fairly recent trend which may not have been covered in your college or university employability coaching along with CV and cover letter writing tips.

Recruiters use social media channels throughout the recruitment process from connecting with relevant people in their industry, browsing profiles of people with desired qualifications or skills, advertising job vacancies and researching candidates.

Here are 3 top tips for using social media to secure your post-graduate job:

1. Polish Your Profile

First things first you need to decide which social profiles you would like potential employers to see. LinkedIn is used purely for professional purposes, so this is a must have. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc are more personal, so only allow these to be public if you are comfortable with potential employers seeing the things you post. You can opt to create separate accounts on these platforms for recruitment purposes if you wish, but ensure that all of your professional accounts have a consistent name and profile picture so you can be easily found.

Once you have all of your social media accounts set up you need to add as much relevant detail as possible including your location, qualifications, skills, experience and anything else that you would usually include in a CV. Use these platforms as a way to sell yourself to potential employers by showing them exactly what you have to offer. Make sure you include all relevant keywords so that you are easily discoverable.

Finish off your profiles with endorsements and recommendations. Approach family, friends, Past and present colleagues, employers and lecturers and asks them to contribute. These will sway a potential employer to consider you, much like reading a positive product review when online shopping!

2. Make Connections

Now you have a highly polished set of social media profiles, you should start making useful connections. You should follow/connect with:

 Recruitment agencies

 Local businesses which are of interest to you

 Graduate recruiters

 Directors / Employees of all of the above

 People with similar skills

 Relevant groups

Where possible you should interact with all of the above to raise your profile, to show potential employers that you have good communication skills and are passionate about what you do. Don’t forget to maintain a professional tone at all times.

3. Apply to jobs

And finally… go ahead and apply for jobs!

You can apply for jobs directly through LinkedIn which improves your chances of having your profile viewed. If the application process takes place via the company’s website or email then you can incorporate social media at any stage.

Follow the business and employees prior to interview stage, thank the interviewer after the interview and if you were unsuccessful on that occasion stay in contact so that they consider you for future opportunities.

Guest blog by: Samantha Condliffe (Digital Marketing Exec at Infinities Designer Menswear)