Jennifer is a final year student of English Literature & Linguistics at The University of Manchester. In addition to her studies, Jennifer has built up experience through a variety of voluntary and intern posts.
You have volunteered for various marketing roles alongside studying at university can you explain your experience of volunteering and how you came about these opportunities?
The volunteering organisation, Do it, is extremely helpful in finding a wide range of volunteering opportunities. You short-list opportunities that interest you and complete a short application form or email organisations directly to let them know your interests and skills. From this website, I discovered a voluntary marketing role with the charity, Safe Haven Cambodia. There, I contributed posts to the charity website and employed MailChimp to design and deliver the charity’s first newsletter. Luckily, I was able to work remotely as the charity headquarters are located in London while I’m from the North! Since 2012, I’ve also volunteered for a content marketing company as a volunteer blogger. For each article, I’m sent a title, an SEO keyword and a short brief. From that, I write an article and source an accompanying image in compliance with copyright laws. They are then published on various websites.
How have you found volunteering and interning beneficial?
Overall, volunteering is brilliant for helping you feel part of a community. You can volunteer in almost any sector and really put your skills to good use. More practically, volunteering for a content marketing organisation has been indispensable in developing my portfolio, improving my writing skills and learning more about the art of SEO marketing. I’ve also expanded my network, researched very quirky topics and learnt how to source images correctly. With Safe Haven Cambodia, I was introduced to email marketing software and was given a lot of responsibility over this project. This summer, I also interned at my university. The work I completed during my internship (reviewing employability activities and events, writing reports and content for websites) will be great experience for my future career. I also have a great reference from it!
What opportunities has volunteering lead to?
I believe every opportunity I’ve taken is a stepping stone to the next, strengthening and building my CV, profile and credibility.
What would you describe as your biggest personal strengths and assets that have ensured success in your career?
Whilst I am still at university and yet to start my career, so far I’d say my biggest strengths lie in writing, blogging and design.
If you could give a single piece of advice to someone looking to get into their career what would it be?
Marketing is a highly competitive industry so it’s worth building up skills and experiences in smaller organisations first rather than hitting the big companies.
Is there anything you do outside of volunteering to galvanise your skill set and improve employability?
I really enjoy blogging, graphic design and setting up websites so I launched my own blog and graphics page in August this year (http://www.pennedbyjenny.co.uk). It’s a blog on life advice, life thoughts and blogging tips and also hosts my writing portfolio. I also offer free graphics to bloggers and web designers on there. In addition, I’m secretary of my university’s blog society and write for the student newspaper.