Evidence of further training

For my second year of university, we all have to focus on the professional field we’re interested in and try to find out about it as much as we can.  Doing that will help us decide if the field is suitable for us and whether we need to experiment and find something else instead. Having that in mind, I started spending time looking into the PR/Communications field.

The first thing that helped me understand what the professional field is about was CW1 for 201MAPA. We were asked to draw a profession map and outline the most important parts of the jobs in that industry. That’s why I did a lot of research and collected numerous pages with important data for a Google Doc, analysed dozens of different job adverts and tried to sift out the information. I wanted to find out what the main job responsibilities are what skills employers are looking for.

Following my research online, I did further my knowledge by attending numerous events. I attended a couple Careers events (CU CareersFEST at university and  NEC Recruitment Exhibition in Birmingham) where I interacted with the employers or representatives from  different companies and organisations. My goal was to speak to as many people as possible from various companies (Sainbury’s, Lidl, Toys R Us, TkMaxx, Hilton, etc.) and figure out how they promote themselves, how they do PR and why it works for them. In addition, I incorporated my search for placements as I asked if any of the employers offer short placements in the PR field.

In addition, I attended a few workshops/meetings that were taking place during the Careers events. I went to see Julia Speeds from Enterprise Rent-a-Car talk about how to do networking and interact with employers at a conference called “CU CareersFEST Networking for Success with Guest”, listened to a presentation on the best ways to find a suitable job (“Top Job Searching Techniques”), went to see an employment specialist for a CV drop-in session so that they can give some valuable feedback on my both creative and ordinary CVs.

Besides all the events, I watched my first panel discussion with Mark Wylie, Sim Lee, Steve Stopps and Jason fox about their own experience working in the creative industries (“Careers in the Creative Industries”). That event helped me the most as I got the chance to hear about real life situations of real people and have a little chat with the guests afterwards. It was interesting to hear about daily challenges and obstacles that they had to overcome in order to become successful.

I made a great decision registering to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/ as I can be notified which useful and interesting events are happening in town. I already registered for a few future ones such as “CAREERS EXPO 2018: Student Diversity: Unlocking Potential” and “Coventry Jobs Fair”,which, as well as the placement that I am going to do during spring, will help me strengthen my knowledge and help improve as a professional person.

 

 

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Professional Experience Plan:

A Proessional Exprerience/Developement Plan PDP is supposed to help people to set career goals and strategies how to reach them.

I decided to write my own PDP in order to evaluate my current professional state and identify the skills that I need in order to achieve my goals and get on the track of success.


I entered the professional careers field only some time ago. Mainly because I graduated school a year and a half ago, therefore, I prioritised getting ready for the exams and and sorting out my future studies plans. However, as soon as I moved out from home and started my university journey, I started focusing on my career.

During my first year, I attended the Careers Fest, however, I didn’t really know what to expect from it and how to approach the employers. That’s why I wasn’t too concentrated on a certain goal. I also was looking for any kind of jobs that would just help me pay the rent. Again, no certain goal. The beginning of my second year was different as I realised it’s time to start working towards something that would have a meaning to me. I found a proper job where I can improve a lot of skills such as written, verbal communication, problem solving, teamwork, etc. I attended numerous profession-related events which led to me forming a different understanding of the creative industries and learning about the employers perspective.

As everyone else, I want to be successful in life. My kind of success is me graduating university and finding a job (not necessarily straight away) that I love going to everyday and being able to support myself fully, without too much hassle. In order to be successful, I need to find the field that is the most suitable for me, where I can feel independent and free to express myself.

As for now, I am really interested in PR/Communications/Marketing field which is really broad. In order so succeed in it, according to my research, one has to have skills such as ability to work independently and collaboratively, ability to meet tight deadlines. In addition, confidence, great negotiation skills,  creativity and a “can do” approach are really common within PR field. I would say that I already managed to cross out a few skills from the list. For example, I improved my teamwork skills at university due to numerous group tasks, developed the ability to work on my own, without too much supervision at work. Also, I consider myself a creative person who is not afraid to take challenges and is willing try out a lot of things, however, there’s still something holding me back and I would like some aspects to be perfected and improved. For instance, sometimes I can be really unorganised, therefore I struggle to meet tight deadlines. In addition, I never knew how  and never really had a proper chance to negotiate as I’m quite naive.

Looking at all the skills that I could improve, I decided to be stricter on my daily routine and organisation skills. I will also try to overcome my stage fright and a fear of public speaking by taking more opportunities and approaching/speaking to as many people as possible. I will also do a placement in Wembley’s IKEA (the Service Office) which will help further my knowledge even more. I expect to talk to people from the PR field and find out about their stories, how they got in the industry, what they think is required in order to stand out, etc. I will also attend as many events related to carriers/creative industries as I can so that I can see the professions from different perspectives. I will talk to the guest speakers that are coming to our lectures just to find out about their professional experience and to expand my network.

I will put more effort in finding out if this path is suitable for me and hopefully, by the end of this year, I will know what I would like to do when I graduate.

Skills Audit

For my 201MAPA module we were asked to look at our skills critically and evaluate them.

The task:

Part 1 

The table on the following page provides a list of 12 transferable skills that you may have acquired during your time at university (academic or extra-curricular), while working, or through other experience. For each of the skills in the table, give yourself a score, ranging from 1 (low) to 5 (high), indicating what your level of competence is for that skill (see my answers bellow)Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 13.42.48

Part 2 

Look at 5 of the skills that are your strongest. Try to think of an occasion when you have acquired that skill, or put it into practice. Don’t limit yourself to course work – try to think of other activities and interests – e.g. being involved in the running of a society or travelling abroad (see my answers bellow)Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 13.43.08

Part 3

Look at the 5 skills with the lowest score – or five skills that you think you should develop – and consider how you can do to improve (see my answers bellow)Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 13.43.21

 

 

Networks

When working in creative industries, having a great network is a huge advantage. You can expand your network using LinkedIn or by going around, introducing  yourself and taking to people. That’s what I tried to do during my first semester of second year in university.

At the beginning of the second year I made a networking map with my main connections. I made an updated version roughly 3 months later and it really shows how many people I managed to contact and speak to (see images bellow and a pdf here: NETWOKRING)

Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 14.36.28Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 14.36.16

Placement applications/employer exchanges

One of my modules at university (201MAPA) requires us to find ourselves a placement within the professional field we are interested in.

The concept of a placement is really interesting for me and it’s a totally new field as I have never been an intern. Therefore, I had to do a lot of research to find out what it is exactly and how to find one. I will share my journey here.

I began with registering to loads of different websites that offer placement adverts for student. The best ones I found: https://www.studentemploymentservices.co.uk/ ,http://www.e4s.co.uk/ , https://www.studentjob.co.uk/ , https://creativeaccess.org.uk/opportunities/ . I looked around and tried to figure out which roles suit me and my course the most.  I sent my CV to a few (Marketing Communications, Editorial, Digital marketing) however, didn’t receive any replies.

As Jules McCarty (BBC journalist) said in one lecture, you are most likely going to achieve more and better results by showing up to places and talking to people face to face rather than writing generic emails. That’s what I decided to focus on. I decided to attend employment events and try to speak with the employers directly and see what’s out there. Overall, I went to two career fests, a couple more events which I will talk about in another post, but the outcome wasn’t as pleasing as I would’ve liked. Most of the companies either didn’t offer any placements, they offered some but not in my professional field or they suggested a gap year placement. After all the unsuccessful tries, I decided to use my network.

I work at IKEA which is a huge company, thus I thought there might be some perfect opportunities for me. I will demonstrate a timeline of actions.

  1. I talked to a colleague who worked in IKEA for 10+ years and asked her for advice. She gave me some suggestions on which departments could suit me.
  2. I talked to my team leader and my manager. I was curious to find out whether IKEA offers placements in general and I wanted to gather more information about the procedures before taking any further actions. I found out that IKEA as a company is really supportive of people who are interested in exploring new departments and they don’t mind taking interns.
  3. I went to HR and asked if they have any available placements in PR/Communications field at the moment. However, I found out that Coventry’s store doesn’t have a separate PR department (it is combined with the Marketing department). Got an email address of a woman who’s a marketing leader in Coventry’s store.
  4. I emailed the Marketing leader and asked if there are any possibilities of getting a placement in the store (see email bellow)Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 02.28.53
  5. Received a reply with a suggestion to contact a more appropriate person – Communications Manager of UK and Ireland (see emails bellow)Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 02.29.09Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 02.29.25
  6. As my manager has worked in many cities and many departments, he knows a lot of people. That’s why I emailed him before sending another email to the Communications Manager. I just wanted to double check if that’s the right person (see email bellow)Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 02.29.59
  7. Received an approval from my manager (see email bellow)Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 02.30.09
  8. Sent an email to the Communications Manager (see email)Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 01.54.21
  9. After a really long time waiting, I received another email from a different person saying that the man that I emailed at the first place has left the position and there are new people in charge (it explains a long wait). I got referred to a Consumer PR Manager (see emails bellow)Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 01.54.55Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 01.55.34
  10. I sent an email with more information (see email bellow)Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 01.55.49
  11. Haven’t received a reply in a bit, therefore wanted to double check if they would like to receive my CV or cover letter (see email bellow)Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 01.56.18
  12. Got a reply saying that it is being sorted and I don’t need to send anything else. However, the time is really busy and they will come back when they finally arrange the schedules (see email bellow)Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 01.56.41
  13. Talked to my manager about all the interactions made before, he promised to follow up with this case and make sure they manage to schedule me for a placement. He called the appropriate people and confirmed that it is being sorted.

Any further information is to be confirmed. Whenever they confirm the dates, I will be having my placement in Wembley’s IKEA store as they have the biggest PR/Communication department there.

 

 

 

Guest speakers

I’ve listened to a few guest speakers that came to my university and I’ll reflect on three people who I found inspirational and relatable.

***

I listened to Lauren Bromley who now works in the creative industry and is a social media manager in Birmingham. In my eyes, she seemed really genuine, down to earth and even relatable because, as Lauren Bromley mentioned, she wasn’t really sure what she wants to do after university and what direction she wants her career to go which I can apply for myself as well. She pointed out how big creative industry is and that there are opportunities for everyone which I didn’t realize at first as well.

Lauren Bromley was nice enough to emphasize the main skills that will help preparing for the interviews or already at work. The main tips were about being communicative and, as I have expected, hardworking. Something really essential in the creative industry is staying on top on the game and being up to date as well because every company, every employer wants better than others, the first one, the faster one, etc.

After the speech I came to a conclusion that it is okay not to know exactly what you want to become in the future and what path you want to take in terms of jobs. Lauren is the perfect example. If you work hard enough to get to know yourself and if you are not afraid to make stupid mistakes and decisions in life, you will end up where you belong to. You just have to be prepared and ready for anything and everything.

***

Jonny Fewings was another guest speaker who’s a media consultant with many years of experience. He comes from a sphere that I’m not really familiar with so I was really intrigued find out more about it.

His main topic was money and where to get it from when making a successful film. Jonny Fewings pointed out that the main part of the money is spent on effects, talents, locations, special shots, music.

I loved how casually he was mentioning these huge amounts of money as if it was super casual and easy to get, let’s say, 1,2 or 3 million pounds for movie making.

At the end, I was really happy to see how professional, successful that man was and how he got the chance to work with such famous companies and movies. Even though I am not thinking about making a movie any time soon, he really motivates me to become successful with my career and do what I like to.

***

Another guest speaker was Abbie Trayler-Smith who has more than 20 years of experience as a documentary and portrait photographer. She seemed like a very knowledgeable person and  I was inspired by how extremely stubborn to achieve her goals she is. As an example, I could mention that she was the first female photographer at The Telegraph.

I admire how she was so personal and made her speech really entertaining by giving examples of her own work experience and sharing her own pictures.

Abbie Trayler-Smith pointed out a couple times how it’s important not to focus on the rejections and make them put you off. It has to be the complete opposite. Rejections have to be like fuel to push you forward to achieving the set goals. In addition to that, she explained how competitive this sphere is and how important it’s to be different and not afraid to experiment and stand out because that is exactly what makes you wanted, or at least noticed and remembered by the employees.

In conclusion, I don’t know if I would like to relate my future with photography but this guest speaker was still really inspiring. The main tip I got from the speech is I need to keep growing some thick skin which will help to deal with rejection and that I have to know what I want and question HOW MUCH I want it and what meaning it has to me in order to never give up.

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Thank you for reading!

Sending best wishes,

Akvilė♥

 

183MC reflection

 Reflection on  183MC – Media and Cultural Fields

This is the last module of the year which means I haven’t finished it yet nor do I have a y feedback though I can tell that I will definitely enjoy it from the very beginning. Even though it’s super intense and challenging because there are two days a week of the same module and we only have 4 weeks to learn all the material and finish weekly tasks. I’m really satisfied with the lecture/seminar themes and assessments because they seem quite diverse. We’ll be talking about adverts, zines, YouTube videos, apps. The only thing I’m a little bit concerned about it the fact we have to work in groups pf 8 people. Sometimes I found it difficult and tiring to work with 5 people so I don’t really know what to expect from this group work. I hope to finish the first year with a bang with this module!

A100DVA reflection

Reflection on  A100DVA – Visual Presentation Techniques

Visual Presentation techniques was my Add+vantage module that I had to choose from a huge list at the beginning of the year. At the beginning of the term I was scared to start it because I didn’t know what to expect as there weren’t enough information about it and a have a mild stage fear. After I’ve finished it, I made a conclusion that it wasn’t as difficult and tricky as I expected. It was really enjoyable and entertaining because the lecturer incorporated a movie screening, a few video watchings and a trip to the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. We learned the importance of visual communication, the difference typography makes and loads of presentation tips. The final assessment was a 6-minute presentation about anything. Even though I don’t have the grade and the feedback yet because of some moderation issues, right after my presentation I was told that it went really well. It was professional, aesthetically pleasing, well narrated and interesting. Even though my fear kicked in and in a way I got in the shaky body/voice mode, I managed to guide the audience through the presentation perfectly. Overall, I enjoyed the lectures and I believe that I will be able to use the knowledge that I got from this module in the future projects.

First year summary

Hey, hi, hello!

I have something to tell you.

This academic year is coming to an end faster than I would’ve expected and less than in a month I’ll be able to say that I’m officially done with my first year of university. I think I need quick moment to think about this because it seems crazy. Time flies so fast! I think it’s the best time to recap the whole year and think about what I have (or haven’t) done/achieved.

I would say that this year, in terms of being socially active, wasn’t as successful as I would’ve liked. Mainly because I was a bit too afraid and cautious about unnecessary things. I feel like it just wasn’t meant to happen even though I tried (NOTE to self: you can always try harder). As an example, I could tell you my hopeless situation with university societies.

Being a complete fresher during the first month of university I decided that joining some sort of society will help me become a more outgoing girl, give me plenty of opportunities to meet amazing like-minded people and just spend my free time by doing what I truly enjoy. It took me a couple weeks to decide which societies to join which at the end came out to be a Fashion Society and a Baking one. Fashion – because I really wanted to meet and hang out with creative stylish people and go to London’s fashion week! And baking… Well, I have always enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen and who wouldn’t like to learn a couple more perfect brownie recipes?

Now, Akvilė, how is it not successful if you found the perfect societies? Well, these societies never became active. There were 0 updates, 0 meetings held (maybe 0,5 meetings because there was one Baking society’s meeting but nobody, including people in charge, showed up and I just waited 30 minutes next to a locked classroom). At first I had a thought that people who created the societies need a little bit more time to get the required amount of members to get everything running and I waited, waited, waited hoping for some updates until it was probably too late to join a different society. It’s the beginning of May and nothing has happened since October. As sad as it sounds, I just wasted my fresher’s year in terms of societies.

BUT, there are positive things at the end of every story. Mine is not an exception. First of all, I managed to find people who bring me joy and I bond with really well. I always found it a bit difficult to invite new people to my life so finding myself a small circle of friends feels really rewarding and heart-warming. Thinking about it now, I can’t imagine my life without these precious human beings.

Secondly, I have been working on my confidence and I believe that joining the gym was the one of the factors that boosted my elf-esteem. I have been an active person for probably ~4 years so exercising isn’t something new. Having 2-3 week breaks wasn’t something uncommon but the last year was an exception. I have been working during the previous summer and physically couldn’t find time or energy to get back to working out which means that I had a pretty long break. After that, I moved to England and started university. It took me a couple more months to find a proper gym and a work out buddy because I didn’t feel comfortable going alone at the time. A couple months passed and I started noticing that the strength that I had at some point started coming back, and after a 5+ month break I felt more flexible, energetic and not as sluggish again. I have never been a part of a gym when I was at home (Lithuania) because it didn’t really feel right and I thought I wouldn’t be able to focus on myself because of all the people but here I discovered that people are just minding their own business and everyone (myself included) is trying to achieve their own goals. Now all of the self-consciousness disappeared and I happily go to the gym on my own without hesitating which is a huge step as well. Going to the gym makes me stay on track, have a routine and helps to improve my relationship with my body and my state of mind.

In addition to that, I traveled a little bit as well. I ended up visiting quite a few cities. The close ones such as Birmingham, Kenilworth, Warwick, also London, Newcastle and a few more (Oxford, Southampton, Sheffield, Leeds) which I visited by accident by getting on the wrong coach… Of course, I wish I travelled more and I can’t wait to visit Bath, Bristol, Dublin, Glasgow and many more.

So, this is a short summary of pros and cons of my time spent in university… I would love to be able to add something more exciting but I definitely wouldn’t take anything out. I value every experience and I can’t wait to see what future is holding for me.

giphy (1)Thanks for reading.

Best wishes,

Akvilė ♥