Lessons from my Placement Year
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There’s always the temptation when given the opportunity to rush to the finish line of graduation and skip out a placement year – especially when you realise how much work there’s involved to secure one!
But trust me – it's not an opportunity you want to pass up on.
Already nearly 10 months into my placement, I’ve learnt so much and feel much better equipped entering in the working world post-graduation thanks to my placement experience.
From the real responsibility I’ve been given, to having the chance to contribute my ideas, my development has been huge, and I can genuinely say that no two days have been the same!
Because of this incredible experience, I wanted to share some valuable lessons I learned during my placement at ProspectSoft.
1. Prepare to be introduced to new software
As someone who is doing a degree in Economics and is definitely not a pro in the CRM/software field, the idea of working for a SaaS company was one that daunted me – I won’t lie!
Sure, university equipped me with a good foundation knowledge of some of the well-known software systems and programmes such as Excel, Outlook and Microsoft Office, but a CRM was something completely new to me.
Once I got over the initial shock of doing a demo to the Director in the first week of training (gulp!), I realised that being exposed to this new kind of software was in fact an opportunity to learn.
Little did I know at the time how integral CRM software is to many organisations – big and small! Getting under the skin of new software is now something I love, and I know how transferrable these skills are. As a result, I’ve been able to really develop my technical abilities, and am now able to use a range of different marketing software programmes and the CRM in my everyday role.
A great thing about ProspectSoft is that the first month of the 13-month placement programme is purely committed to offering students training on all aspects of the software.
Senior members of staff give interactive insights into all aspects of the company and the previous years’ placements also assist with getting you up to scratch during the placement handover period.
This comprehensive introduction was a huge relief and meant I felt more confident and well-equipped going into my role.
2. A placement is a real job
There’s always that cliché about a placement year being a tea and coffee making course or a year of filing paperwork, but this couldn't be further from the truth! Following on from the training I did at ProspectSoft, you’re operating as a fully-fledged team member, contributing in just the same way as all your peers. I was pleasantly surprised by the level of trust and responsibility given to me, which created an environment where I could contribute my ideas and see this come to life.
Right from the get-go, I was given the responsibility of running both the corporate and placement social media channels. No sooner had I entered the login details for the accounts, I was managing the account content and was able to have creative input at every turn, something I relished in!
These social media channels are a crucial element to the success of the department, so despite being daunting at first, I wanted to give it my all and even came up with my own campaign that resulted in a boost in applications for next years’ placement roles.
3. Embrace social opportunities
The transition from university to the 9-5 working world was a big adjustment, so having fun social events to get involved with makes it a great deal more enjoyable and created a community atmosphere within the company outside the day-to-day working environment.
Particularly working for an SME, there’s an unmatched culture and family feel. Making the most of these activities can really help you settle in with the company, make friends and most importantly, enjoy it!
4. Get involved in anything and everything
When applying for placements, there was always some concern regarding how much I would actually be able to get involved with and how supportive the team would be. I very quickly learnt that this was not something to worry about, especially as a Marketing Placement at ProspectSoft!
In 10 months, I’ve been able to get involved in a diverse range of tasks individually, within the Marketing team, and even with the Sales team. Not only that, but I’m a member of our Social Committee, which means I get involved with planning and organising upcoming social events for the team and is something I couldn’t recommend enough if given the chance.
I’ve truly got so much out of my placement year and couldn't recommend one enough – it's a brilliant opportunity to try something you’ve never tried before without having to commit when the year is up.
My biggest piece of advice? Put in as much effort as you can because the more involved you get and the more opportunities you take on, the more you’ll develop and learn on both a personal and professional level!