For a lot of people, their first shot at work experience in school doesn’t really stay with them. In fact, the very first placement I did work experience at once tasked me with going out to send off some post for them. That sure was insightful!

The second round of work experience I did was something I enjoyed a lot more – and it was back in 2011 when I spent just a couple of days with the team here at Crowd Media.

Until that point, I had no real idea that people could truly complete some great work and still have fun doing it. I guess I always thought it was one or the other. Looking back now, I realise that it was the nature of the workplace itself that really made me want to follow it into a career. The difference between school life and work life was massive, but really exciting; I had jumped from this place where I wore the same uniform every day, followed the same timetable, and boring educational posters lined the walls – to this place where everybody was there because they wanted to be, every day felt different, and Jo’s quaint CROWD letter decorations sat next to a picture of Simon’s face crudely photoshopped onto a bodybuilder’s body. That’s when I realised…

“This is for me!”

Nearly three years later, I’m just about to start working with Crowd after finishing sixth form. Next week, in fact! I’ll be joining the team as a Trainee Account Executive on Monday, and I’m excited to be entering a role where I’ll be learning new skills whilst still getting to work with the team day-to-day. This first year will be my chance to find out where I fit in an agency like Crowd Media, discover what sort of roles I enjoy, and simply learn more about the industry!

I’ve met a few people at sixth form, who have wanted to enter similar careers, that have told me that their plans have been to finish A-Levels, get a University qualification and then hope that they can get a job with it when they get back from Uni. It’s 2014. It doesn’t really happen that way any more – competition is fierce and vacancies aren’t constant, and you simply cannot rely on qualifications alone to get you places. This is probably the most important thing I realised after doing work experience and meeting local people with similar interests.

I realised that whether you go to Uni or not, unless people know you want to work for them or be a part of their industry, they’re not going to be able to help you.

I found that making connections and getting real experience can give you so many opportunities – and that’s what I usually end up telling people when they ask me how I got my job; get out there and let people know who you are. Maybe do a few days of work experience. By doing that, you’ll likely make some great connections who will help you get to where you want to be.

And hey, even if the work experience you do isn’t as great as you were expecting, or they make you go out and do their post, at least you’ll be able to write a snarky blog post about it when you finally land in the right place.