I didn’t find the content writing job I’m now the proud owner of on Indeed or any of the other job boards. No recruiter phoned me up and mispronounced my name and then tried to convince me that this role ‘really is exactly what I’m looking for, actually’. I spied the job vacancy mentioned in a tweet on MadeByShape’s Twitter account and jumped at the opportunity.
How refreshing. A simple job ad explaining what you’d be doing in plain terms, and the type of skill set needed, advertised directly by the exact people who created the position. There was even a link to a blog by Ella on what the first six months of working at Shape were like. I admired the directness and transparency of the job specification.
The position is now filled by yours truly but keeping the job details on the website offers prospective candidates an idea of what’s required to work here. We’re always open to those looking for work experience and we know this kind of information is useful when going through websites looking for the right kind of opportunities.
These extremely tempting benefits helped to sway me too. Not only do these perks elevate the quality of life in the workplace, but they are a great indicator of how much the founders of Shape value their staff.
Join me as I retrace my steps through the MadeByShape website on my first visit. Working somewhere fulfilling professionally and emotionally is important to me (and anyone else). Investigating the website was a crucial step to get a feeling for the personality of the business and whether I thought I could find a Natasia-shaped space within the team.
Of equal importance would be the type of work. Writing content can become a laborious task at times, and many content writers will advise you to write in an industry or topic that you personally enjoy as it’ll make all the difference. Another reason for selecting an agency would be the opportunity for variety. I prefer being able to research and write about different topics to keeps things fresh and broaden my knowledge. So, I wanted to get an idea of the type of clients and the type of content I might be writing.
My first stop would be the client portfolio section of the website. When I first visited the website I was met with this list of clients which made me feel equal parts nervous and excited:
Shape’s portfolio is extensive but refined, showing a range of different types of projects in a mix of industries. The portfolio includes large, international clients but also small, independent businesses. I admired (and still do) the variety of work that showed how Shape cares about the content of a business and not its scale. There is a common denominator in all the clients Shape chooses to work with, and that’s marked integrity and passion for building their brand. This was definitely an ethos I could get behind.
Next up was the Culture section of the website. Browsing through pages showcasing company environment, team trips, sustainability, and mental health I warmed to the idea of working at Shape more and more. It demonstrates a good balance of creativity, innovation, productivity, and thinking outside the box all glued together with a genuinely happy, lovely team.
On the Ethos page of the website, MadeByShape says “We start every project with the idea that it's a collaboration, and aim to create a portfolio worthy piece for us and the client.” This simple idea drives a flexible approach to work, allowing the team to find the solutions that other agencies don’t, and produce the kind of results that have businesses literally queuing up to work with us.
Another element of the website I took in was Shape’s own tone of voice. This would give me an idea of the brand personality, and also what to expect if I ended up writing content for the website. Shape’s tone of voice really hits the spot for me. It’s simple, uncomplicated, and down to earth.
These responsibilities of the job stood out to me in particular:
Write SEO optimised content for website pages, blog posts & content marketing campaigns
Understand the importance of SEO (training provided)
Carry out keyword research using a range of tools (training provided)
Work closely with SEO Strategy Team to support content strategy creation
Having already worked in a digital marketing agency I have a good grasp of not only content writing for clients, but also search engine optimisation, something I’m constantly looking to grow my skills in. Writing engaging content, interwoven with unique brand personality is crucial to the integrity of any brand. Combine that with SEO and you supercharge a brand’s digital presence to really get results.
Many of MadeByShape’s case studies detail their carefully constructed SEO strategies that shift the needle for businesses through organic content optimisation. I was keen to broaden my capabilities in SEO, so these day to day activities sounded exciting to me.
Thinking of search engine optimisation had me wanting to check one final thing.
Bingo. MadeByShape at number one organically for ‘web design manchester’. If anything was a sign of an SEO agency I wanted to work for this was it. I submitted my application and all other job vacancies took on a new hue of grey as I waited to hear back.
I didn’t have to wait very long, having just scraped the application deadline. I had an email back from Andy the next day asking me to join a virtual interview. During the interview Andy and I discussed the role in more detail and what would be expected of me working at Shape, as well as the work environment in the agency. I felt we naturally got along instantly.
The next stage of the interview process was a writing task. Having to complete a task such as this is often a requirement in SEO, writing, design, and development interviews. It is usually beneficial to both parties in deciding the suitability of a candidate. I was happy to be presented with a writing task because:
It would give me an idea of what would be expected of me in terms of approach and substance of writing
It would be a true representation of my skills meaning that, if hired, I’d be more likely to progress quickly as I’d be a good fit for the role
It would help me decide whether I liked the work and wanted to pursue the position further
In the spirit of positive thinking, it’s good practice for future interview tasks if I’m not successful
I was one of three people who moved on to this stage of the process. From what I hear the review process for the writing task was rigid and formidable. Five members of the Shape team scored each candidate on different deliverables such as tone of voice, SEO capabilities, knowledge of content, and speed. Thankfully, I smashed it.
It’s now been just over two months since I started working at MadeByShape and I couldn’t be happier. Amid pandemic-induced national unemployment levels, and with Shape’s reputation as a leading web design agency in Manchester, I’m over the moon that I can now say I work with this fantastic team.
And it really is a fantastic team. Despite starting in this position remotely I’ve felt just as much a part of the team as if I’m in the same room as them. Despite lockdown, MadeByShape only continued to grow and expand, consistently taking on more exciting and unique projects that I’m thrilled to contribute to.