“Your placement year is the most important year of your uni experience. Get your CV up to scratch, and for God’s sake, make sure it’s somewhere you’ll actually want to be”. That’s what I was continuously told during my second year. Thankfully, I can return to uni in September, without a shadow of a doubt that I had the BEST placement experience at Createful.

Question time

Researching placements is a huge task in itself, and can take MONTHS. Do you want to work agency-side or client-side? Are you more interested in account management, marketing, or a creative role? Why are YOU so perfect for this position? Can you balance a walking stick on your head, while singing Kum Ba Yah? (I have never been asked the last question, but some questions on applications seem just as daunting).

I knew early on that I wanted to work in an agency. Having interned at agencies before Createful, I knew I’d prefer to spend a year working within a close-knit agency atmosphere, with the opportunity to experience a variety of different tasks and clients. Like most interns, I wanted the chance to learn and develop my skills; not be out of my chair every five minutes making coffee for each and every office visitor.

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Home from home

Everyone will have experienced that feeling, of walking into somewhere new, and feeling ‘at home’ – comfortable and welcome. That’s exactly what I felt when I walked into the Createful office in November 2014. Bright, open space, music in the background and an overall feeling of creativity, professionalism and fun.

I had been liaising with Managing Director, Kriss, for a couple of weeks before my interview. I got the impression he was friendly, eager to assist students and keen to learn about what a potential intern would like to get out of their placement year. I couldn’t have been more correct. Within seconds of meeting Kriss, any nerves I had about this meeting had disappeared. He was interested to learn about what I’d done at university and previous internships. More importantly, he wanted to know how he could shape a placement around my needs and what I wanted to learn.

This was echoed by Creative Director, Toby, who was keen to find out how I’d use my experience to help Createful and their clients. This was also my first introduction to what I now refer to as “Toby Fashion”. Who ever said you can’t wear a scarf, on the same day you’re wearing shorts?

I was offered the role as Digital Marketing Executive. All I had to do was complete second year and look forward to joining the team.

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Welcome to Createful

There was a 10-month gap between my interview and first day at Createful. As I completed the 35 minute bus journey to the office, I found myself nervous again, wondering if the rest of the Createful crew would be as welcoming as Kriss and Toby. I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Every single member of the team was eager to meet me and made me feel at home immediately. My allocated computer was next to Digital Designer, Michelle. I soon came to realise, that apart from getting to see some of her awesome design work, I would also come to be tempted by her delicious breakfasts each morning. Peanut butter on porridge is now something I eat regularly.

I was treated as a Createful team member from that point onwards, starting with the Monday morning stand-up meeting. Standing up for these meetings is the best way to avoid people getting too comfortable and nodding off, after the crazy weekend we may have had. I love how the Monday stand-up meeting has evolved during my time here:

  • Stand-ups now occur every morning at 8:45 sharp, in order to keep up to date with what everyone else is doing, so we can offer our input when required
  • Monday stand-ups finish with a challenge, set by a different team member each week. This can be anything from brainteasers, to scavenger hunts and building challenges.
  • Begin with a stretch, to wake us up and prepare us for the productive day ahead (when we remember)

I told Kriss and Toby that my main interests lie within social media management, where I could interact with people through various social media channels, promote Createful and their products, gain ideas for social media campaigns and ensure I am always up to date with digital industry news.

Toby immediately tasked me with getting to grips with Tweetdeck, where I could search for keywords and interact with Twitter users. Createful’s iPad Wedding Planner became my baby. I interacted with stressed brides-to-be and promoted the app, while sharing interesting content they might have found useful during the planning process. It’s rewarding to see the impact this has made on overall impressions, engagement levels and visits to the iPad Wedding Planner website.

I engaged in similar activities for the Createful social media presence, sharing content, interacting with other agencies and generally making sure people were hearing about all the awesome activities going on in the office.

My role as Digital Marketing Executive definitely did not mean I was tied to just one task. Over my ten months, I had the opportunity to try some design work, research tasks and software testing, as well as attending some exciting digital events in Bournemouth.

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C is for Createful (but also CAKE)

I’d heard rumours about how tempting office treats can be, but disregarded most of them as exaggerated stories. Boy, was I wrong. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]The Createful team love nothing more than tucking into a slice of cake[/inlinetweet], at any point during the day (unless you’re Michelle, in which case you MUST wait until at least 11am). I’ve lost count of how many cakes I munched my way through during my time with the team.

The best thing about the Createful cake culture is the social element of it; it brings people together and encourages us to celebrate. At Christmas, we had an office bake-off, where everybody had to bake something. Their creation was then judged on presentation, taste and “Christmassyness”. Things got pretty competitive at some points, and by Friday, it was a struggle for many of us to stand up, due to the extremely heavy sugar coma. Someone’s birthday? More cake. Eurovision? Another bake-off. Wednesday? Obviously an occasion for cake.

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Saying goodbye

June came around way too quickly for my liking. As my last week grew closer, I was getting e-mails from the Createful Taskmaster, Nicole, urging me to create handover documents, so that my work could be continued once I’d left. If I’m completely honest, I started these a lot later than I should have – purely because the thought of leaving made me too sad!

I was told by forth-year students that I may find it hard to leave my placement, especially if it was a 40-week one. It turns out it wasn’t the time frame that made it so hard to leave. If anyone were to ask me, “What makes Createful special?” I would not hesitate in saying “the people”. During university, other internships and industry networking events, I can honestly say I have NEVER come across anyone with the same amount of passion for what they do. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]The Createful team absolutely love what they do[/inlinetweet], and put their absolute all into every single project they’re tasked with. They work hard, communicate well, and above all, recognise the importance of enjoying their work.

There wasn’t a single day during my time at Createful that I didn’t laugh. Not many students will be able to return to uni saying that. Createful taught me to love what I do, ask questions and speak up when an idea comes to mind.

Thank you, Createful, for turning a daunting placement year, into a year-long adventure, with some of the best people I’ve known.