In my final year of a Bachelor of Communication, majoring in Public Relations and Journalism, I know the importance of gaining hands-on, real-world experience in the industry. Without this opportunity, finding a job straight out of university would be extremely overwhelming and scary. However, after 80 hours with The Creative Collective team in Newcastle, I can safely say that I feel ready to tackle any challenge that comes my way.
Through my time with The Creative Collective, I have come to realise that there are a number of skills that are vital for success in the communication and media industry including:
Independence and Initiative
Working in a client-focused environment, it is so important to be comfortable working independently and with initiative. Everyone has their own clients with individual responsibilities and deadlines that need to be met. In my third week of placement, the Newcastle team attended a conference in Melbourne which meant that I had to complete tasks without assistance. When I faced problems, it was important to take initiative in producing a creative solution independently.
However, when I did require help, The Creative Collective Team were extremely friendly and generous with their time. With clear communication pathways present in both the office environment and through online portals, the team were able to keep in touch and support one another when necessary. Through these pathways, I was able to speak to team members in the Sunshine Coast, complete tasks for them and pick up on a number of tips and tricks that will be useful in my future career.
Speed and Efficiency
As a self-titled perfectionist, the hardest part of any writing assignment is the start. Many students can understand the frustration of sitting in front of an empty word document, struggling to decide the best way to begin. In such a fast-paced agency, I learnt that there is not enough time to sit there, fearing imperfection and that it is so important to jump headfirst into a task. Through researching and writing three blog posts for The Creative Collective, I was pushed to just get started, trust my instincts and produce quality work more efficiently.
Fearlessness and Flexibility
The work placement environment is much more hands-on than in the classroom. Theoretical concepts discussed in class are brought to life with the opportunity to try a range of digital tools and programs necessary for a career in digital communication and marketing. During my time with The Creative Collective, I gained experience working with WordPress, Canva, Hootsuite, Google Spreadsheets, Facebook Creator Studio, SaneBox, Slack and Teamwork. While I may not have known how to use all of these programs, it has been important to give everything a go, learn new skills and not be afraid of failure.
As no two days are the same at The Creative Collective, team members must be incredibly flexible. I have learnt that it is necessary to manage a number of tasks at once, depending on what is most important at the time. In a single day, I was required to jump in on an impromptu product photoshoot, skype with a client in Japan, write blog posts for SEO and create graphics for Facebook and Instagram.
Creative and Detail Oriented
Working in a creative industry, I found that it was extremely beneficial to have a creative and detailed eye. Producing out of the box solutions for sourcing and creating exciting social media content is extremely important to help clients stand out from the crowd. Most businesses only have one chance to create a good first impression so attention to detail is crucial in creating a positive experience. Having a personal interest in creative design and aesthetics, I found it very satisfying to tap into my own creativity when tasked with producing mood boards and Instagram layouts for clients.
Working in an agency that provides such a large variety of services, I have gained a thorough understanding of digital communication and marketing skills including social media, SEO, public relations, events, web design and photography. I am completing this experience feeling confident in my own abilities and ready to take on the workplace when I finish my studies at the end of this year.
The Creative Collective has been extremely welcoming and it has been a pleasure getting to know the Newcastle team. I have enjoyed every minute of my work experience and have even made some wonderful friends along the way. I will miss spending time with such a vibrant group of people and will especially miss hanging out with Sullivan, the office dog.
I am grateful for my time with The Creative Collective and would recommend this opportunity to any media or communication student looking to broaden their horizons and sharpen their skills in a fast-paced and supportive environment.
Thank you to Kat, Yvette and the rest of the team!