Erin Lovett is doing BA (Hons) Philosophy & Management degree at the University of Leeds. She joined Engage Comms in October 2013 for a 12 month industrial placement – but we very much hope to keep her on throughout her final year and into graduation! Since we’re currently advertising for our next placement year intern, we thought it would be useful for her to share her insights into her time at Engage Comms so far…

Engage Comms Ltd Erin Lovett COLOUR PASSPORT SIZE

An industrial placement year is a great way to get the experience and skills that you need to stand out in today’s super-competitive job market, and if you enjoy what you’re doing then it can be a really fun year too.  I’m the current industrial placement year intern at Engage Comms, and as well as learning something new every day (or, more realistically, every few minutes!) I’m really enjoying myself.

Making the most of the experience means something different to everyone, and for me a big part of it was working in a small business.  I knew that I wanted to work in communications when I started looking for my placement, but I also wanted to learn more about how businesses actually work – not just how they are run day-to-day, but the long-term strategic and financial sides too.  I knew that if I was a part of a small business I would get more exposure to clients and important internal work, such as new business strategy. That exposure has been so valuable already.

Working in a small team means that I’m essentially being mentored by both of the Founding Directors on a daily basis, which isn’t a position most interns are lucky enough to be in.  Between their combined 20 years of experience and their success in setting up their own business in the heart of the recession, they have so much knowledge to share – and they are eternally willing to share it.

So far, I’ve had the chance to meet and interact with clients and partners, attend a major industry awards ceremony (the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire PRide awards where we won silver awards in both our categories!) and will be attending a Women@Work networking event next month. I don’t think I would ever have had the opportunity to do things like this if my placement was at large corporation.

CIPR PRide Awards 2013

I’d love to tell you everything that working at Engage Comms has taught me, but as that would be a much, much longer blog. Instead, I have managed to whittle it down to my top five!

1.My commercial writing has improved hugely, to the point where I feel totally confident writing a blog, emailing a client, and even writing web copy on a range of subjects I knew nothing about before!

2.I have gained practical skills, such as using specialist social media scheduling software

3.I’ve learnt the classic PR and business skill of being able to ‘spot a story’, and am able to apply it to digital communications to create interesting and relevant pieces of content from headlines.  Our clients are so good at what they do, but sometimes they don’t know what it is that makes them amazing, so it’s our job to tell that story

4.My research skills have also vastly improved – I’m more clued up on using social networking platforms and other digital media for research than I was before, and it’s had a noticeable impact on the amount and quality of relevant data I find

5.And probably most importantly… I know how to survive (and even thrive!) on avocado, coffee and cake!

I read an article recently that said of all the ways of measuring employee engagement, the only one you need is the we/they test.  When a person is talking about the organisation they work for, do they say ‘they’ or ‘we’? ‘We’ implies engagement and a psychological investment into the relationship because you enjoy your job, while ‘they’ implies that you’re able to distance yourself, and are less engaged.  I’ve been saying ‘we’ since about 11am on my second day at Engage Comms – and I guarantee that you will be too.

If there’s anything else you would like to know about the role, the business, or the team, you can tweet me and ask.  Just tweet @EngageComms using the hashtag #askErin, whether you want to know what specialist software you’d be learning to use, how much time you would normally spend with clients, or what kind of cake we normally get! Information about the placement that is currently being advertised can be found here.