Why small businesses should value work experience as a marketing strategy
Compelling content marketing ideas for small businesses to drive engagement and increase sales
There are some businesses that view work experience as a burden, however, thinking of work experience as a marketing strategy is a fantastic mindset for multiple reasons.
Marketing comes in all shapes and sizes and is delivered to us in all walks of life. Social media influencers, billboards, magazines, newsletters and press releases are all elements of a typical plan. So, why don’t we class a CV as part of that marketing strategy?
Marketing is about getting your brand in front of people and sharing what you stand for.
By offering work experience to students, you’re creating a marketing hack for yourself. Yes, you will have to put some work into planning out their days with you and reviewing their work. But, the payoff could span that student’s entire career.
Why work experience is good for business
Work experience plays a crucial role in marketing and building brand awareness.
When students or aspiring professionals gain hands-on experience in a particular industry, they become ambassadors for the company they worked with. They carry the knowledge and passion they gained during their work experience and spread it to others, creating a ripple effect of positive reputation and brand recognition.
Of course, a company will have to put some effort into ensuring the student actually gains experience and feels welcome. But this time investment is well worth it.
By viewing work experience as a marketing strategy, brands will benefit from:
While building on your company’s reputation by offering work experience, there’s the added CSR (corporate social responsibility) bonus of contributing to the growth of future professionals.
By investing in young talent and providing them with valuable learning opportunities, companies demonstrate their commitment to nurturing the next generation of leaders.
Work experience allows individuals to develop essential skills that cannot be taught in classrooms alone. It provides real-world exposure, enabling them to understand how businesses operate, adapt to different situations, and make critical decisions.
The students who gain experience with you will be eager to list you on their CV. We all know how competitive the jobs market is these days so it’s likely they’ll be sending their CV to many employers. This means your company name is being seen by a variety of employers.
Students will also have conversations with friends, relatives and teachers about their work experience. These people are more likely to remember your company as they would then have a meaningful connection to your business.
Your commitment to providing work experience helps build a positive reputation among potential employees, customers, and partners.
When other employers read a CV and the projects they’ve been involved with in your business, they’ll start associating your business with success and expertise.
Fellow businesses may view your company as a trustworthy and reputable one and be more likely to form partnerships with you.
Industry leader status
Moreover, highlighting work experience opportunities can strengthen your position as an industry leader.
For instance, when students and job seekers see that your organisation offers hands-on learning experiences, they are more likely to view you as a credible source of knowledge and expertise.
Word-of-mouth recommendations are incredibly powerful in today’s digital age. When people hear about the great experiences others have had working with you, it enhances your brand image.
By showcasing the opportunities you provide for students and job seekers to gain valuable experience, you not only enhance your brand awareness but also attract top talent.
Low and behold, you could actually gain some helpful insights from work experience students.
Trust in their abilities and allow them to show you their skillsets. Task them with things that will actually lighten your team’s workload and see how they go about completing the brief.
It’s always valuable to gain insights from the next generation. You may learn more from them than you anticipated.
Here’s what our latest student said about her work experience with us at Cross Productions:
Going into my work experience, I had very little idea of what to expect. I had little knowledge on what marketing was or what Cross Productions offered, nor had I had any experience working within an office. In fact, the image of office jobs I had built up in my head was based purely on television shows and movies.
How it actually panned out was totally different to that idea. However, I think it was far more preferable. I got to work near everyone, rather than closed off in individual offices as I had anticipated, and this created a friendly and sociable atmosphere. I could work in my own bubble while simultaneously listening to the engaging, and sometimes, random conversations that sparked. Overall, my time with Cross gave me a very positive impression of what working in an office in a small team could be like.
I was with Cross for six days, with one of those days working remotely from home and the hours each day were very flexible. I think that length of time was optimal for getting a good introduction into a work day and the different marketing opportunities available.
Learning about marketing
Prior to this week, I would have described marketing as promoting something, perhaps more commonly online and likely in the form of adverts. However, this experience has taught me that marketing is much broader than I could have imagined. There are so many different ways of marketing and within each of those, different elements to consider. Adverts on social media are not the only thing that I now know constitute marketing: blogs, leaflets, events and more options are all possible ways of marketing and boosting exposure.
I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to explore a variety of different options which made each task exciting as it was never the same as the one before. Furthermore, it made the whole experience feel more valuable as I feel like I have gained a wider variety of skills and more knowledge. As well as this, the tasks I was given were practical and actual tasks that would be used, rather than forgotten about after the end of my time.
The first task I was presented with was to research, write and design a double page spread for a magazine issue. This was something that I had been interested in and therefore, had a lot of fun doing. Receiving feedback from a couple of members of the team also gave me beneficial insight into elements that I would not have considered, such as how to go about sourcing images that I might want to include. I was guided along the way which meant that the task did not feel too daunting but equally I was allowed free reign on the project to do as I wanted.
What I gained
I feel like my work experience here also made me more confident in my own abilities. Knowing that what I was producing would actually be used for something as well as having that much freedom to create as I wished, I felt much more assured in my work.
Something that surprised me was how much I enjoyed the design element, especially because it was something I had no experience with before. When given the opportunity to create a poster for an upcoming event, I thoroughly enjoyed creating something original. Though I took inspiration from examples, it gave me the opportunity to do something completely different and I enjoyed it much more than I had expected I would. The task also allowed me to explore Canva, which was a website I had heard of but was unfamiliar with.
I found my time with Cross thoroughly worthwhile and would happily do it again. I was given valuable opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise have and that will definitely benefit me in the future, with university applications or future jobs.
Going into this experience, I had a few vague ideas of possible careers I would be interested in pursuing in the future and my time has only confirmed my assumption that I would enjoy a career in or related to marketing.
When you provide opportunities for students to gain work experience with your business, you’re not only educating and inspiring the next generation, but you’re also marketing your business.
In short, work experience as a marketing strategy can serve as a powerful tool that helps build brand awareness while helping others shape a successful career path.
While there is some effort required on your part to direct and help students during their time with your business. However, this is an opportunity to gain more from providing work experience than you might have previously thought possible.