I can’t believe that the day has come that I am saying farewell to Creode and retuning to my studies for my final year at Leeds University. It has been an incredible year working 9-5 almost everyday as part of a placement year with two well respected companies. Although I have had plenty of amazing moments with successes, there have been quite a few negative times as well. I decided to give my friends and others who are about to graduate fairly soon a little taste about life at a digital agency and some advice which I hope would be fairly useful. Particularly to those who are maybe unsure about what the future holds or curious about the positives and negatives you may first experience when starting your first full time employment.
After taking a month off and spending a holiday in Texas with my family, I decided to apply for a role at Creode for the Digital Marketing executive. As soon as I saw the job specification, it is exactly what I had in mind to do for the last couple of months before University starts again. The main reason behind my application was because I hadn’t worked in a marketing position for an agency before and I was curious to see whether I would prefer it to an in-house position.
I went through a phone interview with the Managing Director James Hannaford, which came as a surprise as I didn’t expect to talk to the Marketing Director Rob Owlett as well. After thinking I didn’t do so well with the interview, I was jumping up and down with delight when I received the email offering me the Digital Marketing Executive position starting the same month. I touched down on quite a few marketing projects whilst at my previous placement at Predator Nutrition in regards to Magento and more of the technical marketing tasks than social media responsibility. Therefore I was comfortable with the software I was using on my first day at Creode and the other tasks Rob assigned to myself.
To name the work I completed in a nutshell, I completed a lot of onsite SEO marketing, updating content and creating content to make sure Creode’s clients ranked #1 on page 1 of SERPS (basically Google). Of course with the new work I was completing whilst learning the tricks of the trade, I was in charge of 4 social media accounts. This involved taking responsibility for 4 clients and their social media channels, which was updating their Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest pages.
The positives of working with Creode, a digital design agency in Leeds and London. To start, I would say that I have gained valuable skills and knowledge in SEO, PPC and how Google works. For example, I didn’t realise how much knowledge and expertise is needed to help many companies fight for that desired page 1 on Google search results. I would also say, I really liked gaining the experience and working in an agency environment. Sometimes I found that when you work for an in-house company, you can feel tired of the same work as your essentially dealing with the same company day in day out. With Creode though, when you have a number of clients that you are catering for with different preferences and projects, it can add a sense of variety to the workplace. Although it may be demanding at times, it makes the day go quicker for myself and if I need a break from one project, I could always come back to it and focus on a totally different task in the meantime.
To say which one I prefer, in-house or agency, I think I prefer to go with an agency in the future. Another positive I would say is that I am lucky to have under taken a years worth of experience to give me a real taste of real working life and what to expect after university ends. Even though I have had one of the best years of my life, (cheesy it sounds I know) I am very excited to return to University to make the most of being a student for one more year and see more of my friends and get the degree done. I think my other Graphic Design course friends would agree that completing this year in industry will soften the blow of finishing university and starting that highly anticipated first job. Lastly, I think the office environment in Creode was far better than the most I have experienced in other jobs. We play a Spotify playlist whilst we work, have a ‘Creode lunch’ once a month where we have pizzas ordered to the studio, after work drinks, meals out and the occasional stress ball that gets thrown around, which I am unfortunately the easy target!
Now for the downsides I experienced at the job. I found that working throughout the week is pretty hard and got tired very easily especially when I fit in my social arrangements, gym outings, basketball training and university commitments outside work. There has been a couple of times I have become ill from just simply doing too much or as my dad says, ‘burning the candle at both ends’. From Creode and Predator Nutrition, I learnt the hard way sometimes that you have to take criticism on the chin and often go along with what the decision maker wants even though you may think your option is the right choice. Always try and fight your cause is another piece of advice I would pass on, its easy to be swallowed up in an environment where you could agree with what anyone says and never voice your own opinion. This was a real test at Creode with teamwork skills, trying to convey your opinion but hearing what offers have to offer. It was a challenge at times, especially when you work on a project which involves all aspects of the team and it can be a challenge to establish who takes ownership and to which stage the project is at.
I want to thank everyone in the Creode family for having me for the past 8 weeks, it’s been an absolute pleasure to get to know the team and I hope you all don’t become strangers!