Student Blog Squad

My Placement Year at FireCask

Hi there, my name is Dorothy and I’m a marketing student in my final year at Leeds Beckett University. I’m going to tell you a little bit about my placement year with Manchester-based digital marketing firm, FireCask, so read on to see what I got up to...

Woman smiling at a Postgraduate Open Day

Finding a placement

My journey with FireCask started almost two years ago with a two-week work experience at the company. I initially contacted Anna, one of the company’s directors, enquiring about work experience to take part in over summer, but little did I know (or expect) that they’d still be stuck with me over a year later! They graciously offered to oversee my placement, and of course, I accepted and never looked back.

It wouldn’t be fair to let readers assume that I walked into this role. It took a lot of applications, interviews, assessment centres and many (oh so many) rejections to get to this point. But I can wholeheartedly say that the pain was worth it and that you certainly won’t regret it if you choose to complete a placement year too. The employability and placement team at the university also provided lots of assistance with finding suitable placements, helping to prepare for each stage of the recruitment process and giving that much-needed motivation to keep going throughout this lengthy period.

If you’re on the hunt for a suitable work placement, some of the websites that I found to be helpful during the search process include:

  • LinkedIn Jobs
  • (International)

In addition to this, if you know which company you’d like to work for, it’s always worth contacting them directly to see if they have any roles available!

Life within a digital marketing agency

As FireCask is a digital marketing agency, it was the perfect place to learn about the vast marketing landscape and learn new skills that would help me excel in my final year, as well as in my future career. I found my home in the content team as a ‘Junior Content Executive’, however, the close-knit nature of the business allowed me to move around from time-to-time and learn from the developers, the SEO and PPC team, social media manager and graphic designer. It also is worth mentioning that everyone was incredibly friendly, supportive and knowledgeable, all of which made the learning experience that little bit easier.

It’s near enough impossible to list every individual task I carried out over my placement year, but some of my key responsibilities as a Junior Content Executive included:

  • Creating and uploading blog posts
  • Carrying out keyword research
  • Creating social media and blog graphics
  • Social media scheduling and planning
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • Proof-reading blog posts and articles
  • Market research
  • Thinking of new content ideas
  • Outreach and digital PR

I was lucky in that I was treated as a fully-fledged team member rather than a ‘placement student’ from my first day in the office. This means that my experience wasn’t ‘watered down’ in any way and I was given the same responsibilities that any other employee in my position would have been given.

FireCask is a relatively small agency made up of around 10-15 people, but I saw this as a positive rather than a hindrance. Working within a smaller company gives you the opportunity to work closely with a wide range of people, learn about different roles within the organisation and grasp many skills. Therefore, I would highly recommend supporting your local organisations rather than going for the big-name brands if you’re considering undertaking a placement year.

Dorothy and colleagues at FireCask

Top tips for placement students

No matter whether you’re still searching for the perfect placement, or you’ve already secured your role, below are a few key tips that all placement students could use to make the most of their experience.

  1. Make sure your placement is relevant
    When you’ve been searching for placements for weeks on end, it’s only natural that you’ll broaden your search a little bit to increase your chances of finding a suitable role. However, it’s important to make sure that the placements you go for are relevant to your course and, more importantly, relevant to your potential future career. This will make your experience even more enjoyable and will help you to learn skills that you can use in the industry after you graduate.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
    Everyone makes mistakes, and knowing how to correct them is a key skill that you’ll use in all areas of life. Make sure you ask questions when needed so that you maximise your learning and gradually improve as you progress throughout the year.
  3. Get stuck in!
    It’s likely that some of the connections and friendships you make during your placement year will remain with you as you leave, so it’s important to get stuck into every aspect so that you make the most of your experience.

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