As marketing practitioners, at ALT the belief that knowledge should influence all strategic and creative choices is the foundation of our business. So when Marissa approached the team about getting some work experience for her journalism course, we were excited to welcome her into the team and help hone her writing and communication skills. At the end of her week with us, where she worked predominantly on PR planning work as well as content writing, ideation and ad copy projects for various clients, we asked her to write a reflective piece on her experience with ALT.
The best career advice I have ever received was a corny quote from my dad: “love what you do, and you never have to work a day in your life.” It’s a utopian ideal, granted, but it was instrumental in informing my decision to study journalism and pursue a career in communications, a field which I have always been drawn to.
As a third-year student gaining valuable work experience in public relations and marketing is a must to compete for a graduate job, and I was lucky enough to land a work experience placement with ALT during my spring reading week. I had no idea what to expect on Monday morning when I arrived, but my nerves were subdued within minutes of entering the office. The ALT team is warm, witty and kind; they made me feel at home right away.
Over the course of the week I was given a variety of tasks to work on which gave me a holistic insight into what working at ALT full-time would be like. I learned how to build a content calendar and create press lists as well as benefitted from the opportunity to pitch copy ideas for clients, brainstorm topics for blog content and write press releases.
Perhaps most importantly, this week was a really important exercise in confidence building. The ALT team was always there to answer any questions and help me feel at ease in the office environment. I was encouraged to share my ideas with the team which helped develop a sense of critical engagement with my work over the week.
As a journalism student, the experience of writing from the public relations and marketing perspective was a welcome challenge. Writing from a business perspective is an important lesson in developing an adaptable writing voice. Every client has a different set of language tools for connecting with their customer and being in tune with how businesses want to get their message across is paramount to writing successful copy. Research, insight and understanding are vital to an effective marketing strategy.
The office culture at ALT was also central to my work experience. I have the utmost respect for the importance that the business places on wellbeing. Not only did we have a canine colleague, but the office itself was filled with natural light, greenery and chic mid-century décor. They offer employees a flexible working structure, and the positive working relationships made the office incredibly hospitable.
I would like to thank everyone at the ALT team for this week: David, Laura, Nicola, Tala, Emma and Julie. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time and look forward to entering the communications industry as a graduate. While technically on work experience, I must admit that I enjoyed my time so much that it didn’t feel like work.
During Marissa’s time in the office, it was important to not only introduce her to new ways of working and industry processes, but to maximise on her writing skills. Her talents proved incredibly useful in brain-storming sessions, where she in turn exposed our team to alternative ways of thinking. Having a work experience student in was as much a learning exercise for us as it was for Marissa; as we challenged ourselves to summarise what we do and make the week a valuable learning experience for her.