Reanna Francis’ story is the perfect example of two things that we really shout about here at GoThinkBig – standing out in your application and shadow days. Reanna not only impressed in her application to work shadow the CEO of MediaCom, Karen Blackett, but showed so much intelligence and enthusiasm for the company that she was recommended for a job in their Birmingham office, where she now works full-time!
“While I was at uni I was looking on GoThinkBig just for various opportunities. I applied for a presentation day where publishers from Bauer Media came into my university and gave various presentations on how to get into the industry which was quite interesting and that was my very first appearance at a GoThinkBig event.
“Since then I’d been looking on there every now and then for any work experience placements and that’s when I came across the job shadowing for Karen Blackett at MediaCom in London,” the De Montfort graduate explains. “I didn’t really think I’d get it to be honest, yeah I just thought at the end of the day I might as well go for it, you never really know.”
Her shadow day started with a tour of the different departments and an introduction to MediaCom, before Reanna met Karen and joined in on her meeting with the MediaCom apprentices. More meetings followed (one of which was with Claudine Collins, one of The Apprentice interviewers) but rather than being boring and corporate, Reanna was in her element.
Towards the end of the day, Reanna got some one-on-one time with Karen. “She was really, really friendly and approachable and was happy to answer any questions. I just wanted to get some advice from her, whether or not I was on the right on track, doing the right things, what I should do next, things like that. You wouldn’t get that opportunity at any other time to actually sit down with the CEO of a media agency to get that hands-on advice!” she says.
It was at this point in the day that Karen said she’d pass Reanna’s details on to Paul Bramwell, the MD of MediaCom’s Birmingham office and Reanna admits that although it was kind of Karen to do so, she didn’t think anything would come of it. But it did! Reanna came along to the GoThinkBig MediaCom insight day to find out a bit more about the company, then had an interview with Paul and then she was offered the role of Digital Media Assistant!
“We look after a range of clients so we’ll get briefs through from them and we’ll pull together a media schedule, which is basically a plan of action of where we want to place our advertisements – I was working on one for Universal Resorts actually yesterday – and we use research tools in order to understand what is the best website to advertise on for that certain demographic that they want to target,” Reanna explains of her role.
“Without a doubt, if I did not go through that process [of applying through GoThinkBig] I wouldn’t be in this position I am in now. And the fact it gave me such an insight into a company, you wouldn’t get that kind of opportunity anywhere else,” she says. And although she’s set her sights high (“I’d love to be Head of Digital or something along those lines in the future or even Digital Director!”), for now, after just over a month in her new role, Reanna is enjoying it.
Reanna’s route from shadow day to full-time role was a bit of a whirlwind so we asked her for her advice to you:
Go for it! I can’t even put into words how glad I am I applied for this placement, ‘cos I thought to myself and I was saying to my friends,’ what’s the point in me even applying? I’m not gonna get it, there’s gonna be hundreds of people’.
Go for every opportunity! I’d been applying for jobs beforehand and getting rejections. And as you do, you get a bit fed up and you just think ‘clearly no one wants to hire me or give me a chance’; you just have to go for every opportunity you can!
Consider shadow days! Looking on the GoThinkBig website in the past I hadn’t seen anything like the job shadowing before. It was usually a work experience for certain lengths of time and a lot of them were based in London and for me, it just wasn’t plausible to take time out of my job to go down to London for a week or two, so the job shadowing, because it was just for the day, that was ideal for me.
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