Writing in a Book

February 15, 2024, by aayjr12

Exploring opportunities: my journey to a placement at LeftLion

By Josephine Ruffles, student blogger

During university there are endless amounts of opportunities to get involved in, from internships and societies, to placements and careers fairs. The university partners with many different organisations that offer term long placements which is a great way to learn about different industries and grow your CV.

What placement did I do?

In the spring term of my second year (2023), I did an eight-week placement at the Nottingham Arts Magazine, LeftLion.

Where did I hear about the job?

I heard in my first year about the opportunity to take a work placement module with the School of CLAS (School of Culture, Languages, and Area Studies). This is open to students from many different degrees and although it’s quite a competitive module to get on, with only 60 spaces, you are guaranteed a placement. These placements could be local, like mine with Leftlion, or with the Nottinghamshire County Council, or could be a national business, in areas such as marketing.

What was the application process like?

The first term of the module, you learned key skills such as writing a great CV and practicing interviews. You then had to choose your top choices from the placements available, writing what you wanted to gain from them and what you could bring to each placement. After going through multiple rounds of interviews with your top 3 choices, you were then matched up with a placement who also chose you.

What was involved in the job?

  • Interviewing members of the community for the monthly magazine
  • Preparing questions for interviews
  • Researching new ideas for next week’s posts
  • Writing weekly short form blogs on topic ranging from film to food
  • Writing by weekly posts to the university on what I had been learning on the job

How did I balance this with my studies?

I set aside a full day a week in my schedule to go into the office. Luckily I had one day free on my timetable, but I know of people who changed seminars in order to make a full 8 hour day work for them.

What skills did I learn that were transferable?

  • Improved my written communication skills.
  • Being dynamic. Not one day was the same, I needed to be adaptable such as last minute changes to my schedule to accommodate an interview.
  • Interviewing skills.
  • Working under extreme time pressure. It felt like working in a news room but in the best way possible. Everything I wrote was published the next day or as soon as my editor read it, and it meant I was always working on new pieces that needed to be written quickly.

Do I recommend it?

Absolutely. LeftLion is an incredible local organisation to work for and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, learning from the other writers, and having the freedom to choose what I wrote about.

A placement in general I also really recommend. It gave me the opportunity to learn about a new industry and work in a setting I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to work in, if I didn’t have experience beforehand. It taught me a lot of new skills and helped guide my ideas of a career path. I felt extremely supported throughout which was important to me.

I am just about to begin another placement with the Nottingham Advantage Award scheme, for The Ditchley Foundation. So if the CLAS placement is not available to you, the NAA is another great way to get involved in a placement, and is open to all university students, regardless of your degrees.

If you’re interested in building your experience through placement opportunities and developing transferable skills to boost your CV, visit the ‘What can I do?’ page on the Careers and Employability Service website today.

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