Mille Vardheim has recently completed a Digital Media & Marketing course at Manchester Met. She chats to us about her next steps including her upcoming Graduate Digital Executive role at Reason Digital in Manchester and the important role networking played in securing her graduate job.
Why did you decide to apply for this role?
One of my tutors hosted a couple of workshops outside of University. People from different companies were invited to be our mentors for the evening and introduced us to work techniques used in the digital industry they were from. This was really helpful as we learnt about how the industry works, and also about the companies in attendance. I basically got to know Reason Digital through these workshops. I first and foremost applied for the role mainly because I really admire Reason Digital and the work they do, and I wanted to be part of their team! I think it’s really important to not just consider the job role itself but also the ethos of the company. Secondly, the job seemed very flexible and it provided the opportunity to try different job roles within the company, which is always great when you’re first starting out with your career.
Where was the role advertised and what was the application/interview process?
The role was originally advertised on the company’s site. However, I actually found out about the role through Manchester Talent Day, a large digital careers fair, where I spoke to different companies. The application process varies depending on the company you are applying for. I had to send over a CV and cover letter, then I had to hand over a portfolio of work and finally, I was called for an interview.
What experience/employability skills did you gain whilst at University to help you to secure a graduate role?
Some of my units at university were really practical and we actually got to work on live projects from real companies. In my final year for example, we got given a mentor and a project that we had to work on as a team. This taught us so much about both client and team work. Working in teams on so many projects has been a very valuable experience.
In our final year, our course also encouraged us to reflect on our past experiences and achievements by writing a reflective essay, and this was a really helpful step before applying for graduate roles, because I had already considered my strengths and weaknesses.
For our final year project we were encouraged to find a sponsor and create a product for them, working on a brief set by the organisation. This allowed me to gain some valuable project management and client experience and I think these skills in particular helped to make my CV stand out. To begin with, it felt like all of the skills developed didn’t tie up but eventually in my final year everything came together and made sense and I now realise that my degree has given me solid experience and skills in a variety of fields.
Looking back, what advice would you give to students to better prepare themselves for their graduate job search?
Get involved as early as possible with University activities! I didn’t get involved until my second year, when I applied as a reporter for MMU Futures but it looked great on my CV and helped me so much when I did apply for a graduate role. The University has so much to offer, but you really need to be proactive to make the most out of your time. What REALLY helped me was going to career fairs, events and workshops, hosted by the University on and off campus. Not only will you learn about the kind of jobs that are out there, but it’s also a great way to network. Finally, do some research around what jobs you want to apply for, as some jobs might require you to present a portfolio of previous work.
Did you use Careers & Employability in your graduate job search and how did it help you?
I used Careers and Employability a lot, especially when it came to workshops. It was really useful in order for me to improve my CV, learn where to find jobs and how to write good cover letters. You think you might know all of these things already but once you actually go to the workshops you realise how much you don’t know and you can get feedback from people who have a lot more experience than you.
If you have recently graduated and you are still searching unsure what you are going to do next, we can help you to find work, explore the options available to you and get expert advice www.mmu.ac.uk/careers/graduates.