Abbie Johnson: Worthwhile work experience

  • Aug 21, 2017
Abbie Johnson
Here at Shape we allow a number of students to visit our studio for work experience at certain times throughout the year. Here's a great little article from Abbie, our latest recruit, and her opinion on 'worthwhile work experience'.
When I was a student, I understood the importance of gaining valuable experience in the industry, mainly because Mark Scargill and Tash Willcocks drilled it into me (and I trusted them). I advise as a University Lecturer that everybody should get at least 3 placements during their University course. But some students either don't seem to understand OR don't have the motivation to go out and get placements.
I asked Abbie to give me her thoughts on the process of getting in touch with Shape and how she felt whilst she was in the studio, so... here you go, hopefully this will give a great insight from the students perspective.

"A few months ago I found myself scouring the internet to find worthwhile work experience that would help me stand out from the crowd. As an English student the stereotypical ‘what are you going to do with that degree?’ pressure can occasionally bother me and send me in a panic. Furthermore, as I am from all the way up North in Teesside, I do believe there is a significantly less amount of opportunities to take, so I knew I would have to take matters into my own hands. I found an array of things from newspaper writing, journal writing, ad writing but it wasn’t until I came across MadeByShape that content writing had even entered my mind.

I came across their website rather randomly in my Google search and as it loaded I instantly noticed how it exulted modernity. I hesitated slightly in contacting them because, in all honesty, I knew next to nothing about websites and still wasn’t 100% sure if there was a relevant place for me there. However, I left a message for them on their contact page.

I was so grateful when Andy got back to me as quick as he did and he explained that he thought there was definitely things for me to learn at Shape if I could answer a few questions about myself. I knew as soon as one of them was ‘do you have a sense of humour?’ that this was definitely a company I’d be lucky to spend time at. Months passed and my three week placement was approaching quickly with emails still passing back and forth as Andy introduced me to the concept of SEO, something he promised I would know lots about by the end of my time there. He wasn’t lying.

On my first day, I was introduced to Mark Preston, an expert in SEO, who spent a day explaining ‘the basics’ to me. Andy then went on to help me get my mind around it and before long I knew the importance of keywords, the thought process that has to go into website content before it’s published and how to ensure I’m targeting the right audience in my writing. Each week I was introduced into something new, from the analytics of websites, to blog writing, Photoshop and InDesign; I used programmes I’d never heard of, was throwing phrases such as ‘optimising outreach’ like they just slipped off the tongue and I was starting to understand the technical jargon that all the lads were throwing around. I felt like quite the tech head. 

When graduation time finally comes around I can say, honestly, that I hope whatever job I find myself in has the atmosphere that Andy and his team have built over at Shape. From the get go I was made to feel like one of them and found myself laughing 90% of the day. The studio itself mirrors the same feeling that I got when I first found myself on their website, a modern professionalism that has a contemporary edge to it which I think further reflects just how they work over at MadeByShape. They know how to work hard but have fun doing it and, even from just at my time there, I can see that Andy is a boss who understands how staff who feel appreciated will do more than is expected.

If you’re currently in the middle of deciding whether or not to work with Shape I’d put it as simply as: do it. From a behind the scene look I can see a team who are working with their client’s best interests in mind, spending hours a day perfecting website design layouts, content, SEO and logistics all to keep company’s customers pouring in. They use their skill and talent to share the modern feel that first attracted me to their company, with their own client’s websites.

I thoroughly enjoyed every day that I spent down in Manchester with all of the team and I have walked away with a new, technical facet of my degree that will vamp up my CV and give an edge to the English skills I leave University with and with new experiences that will make me appealing to the more technical industries, all of which I have MadeByShape to thank for."

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