Jess' Digital Marketing Apprenticeship diary

Jess Digital Marketing Apprenticeship diary

Digital Marketing Apprentice Diary

Our superstar apprentice of the quarter Jess Buck at Purple Creative Studios in Richmond Yorkshire has written a blog about her first 6 months.  Have a read here https://www.purplecs.com/news/jess-apprenticeship-diary-7 

It is amazing what Jess has learnt and given to both Purple Creative Studios and her digital marketing appretenticeship over the last 6 to 7 months.

It seems like just yesterday when Jess contacted us about a career in digital marketing.  After her assessment centre success back in 2019 we knew she would be fantastic for our partner Purple Creative Studios.  Purple Creative Studios put us through the mill and really wanted to ensure that they had a partner that would be a success for them as they had used other providers in the past.  We think it is match made in heaven and are really proud of Jess and what she has achieved.

Digital Marketing Apprentice Award

Testament to everything we have said Jess won the Apprentify apprentice of the quarter award in May 2020 and smashing her exams throughout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently Jess also helped out with a video for our partners at Cheshire and Warrington Apprentify from Learn Live.  The video was a interview with our Head of Talent Scott Austin, Development Coach Gemma Swindlehurst and Jess to learn about the apprenticeship.  This has been sent out to schools and colleges across the region to help promote apprenticeships. Why not have a look at the video that Apprentify and Cheshire / Warrington LEP put together with Jess last month.

Get in Touch

If you are interested in an apprenticeship have a look here https://apprentify.com/apprentice/  or if you are looking for your next superstar read more here https://apprentify.com/digital-marketing-apprenticeship/

 

 

6 Time and Trauma Saving Digital Technology Tips for Working Remotely

Have you ever watched someone at the computer seemingly typing a 1000 words a second and darting between a dozen windows without lifting their hands from the keyboard, making it all look so easy?

Whatever device you are using, the chances are that it has dozens and dozens of shortcuts built into it to make it easier to use and to help you work more efficiently. Some are obvious, some slightly less well known. I want to show you a few of my favourite short cuts and time savers that have helped make working from home much more relaxed.

Huge Time Saving Shortcuts for Creating Links and more

The first life changer I need to share with you is this little trick to turn something into a hyperlink; it’s incredibly useful when writing blog or e-learning content as it allows you to quickly place a link to a source document or more information easily, without all that right clicking and searching for the right button.

Hyperlink Shortcut

Try this; highlight some text, then click CTRL-K… take a moment to let that sink in, think about all the minutes a day you could save. It may seem like I’m over-exaggerating but believe me, in my role, this one is life changing.

Open link in a new tab shortcut

Don’t you just hate it when someone has placed a link that takes you away from the page you were looking at when you just want to open it for reference. Why not try CTRL-click next time you find a link and watch it open up in a new tab every time.

Shortcut to find something on a page

When there is just too much text on a page and you cant find the bit you are looking for, try CTRL-F to bring up the “find” box; then type what you want to find and it will take you to the next time this word occurs on a page.

Classic shortcuts

Let us never forget the importance of our long-time friends:

Password Protecting and Encryption files on Office

Working remotely in most companies means working on the company shared folders or cloud services, whatever that might be; OneDrive or Dropbox to name a few. There is always the risk that you might save a file that needs to be kept confidential in a place where others in your company could see it, when perhaps they shouldn’t.

Of course I am not talking about confidential information protected by GDPR regulations; by now everyone should have that under wraps, but those secret plans for the office party quiz, or those documents outlining your colleague’s poor performance review should probably be protected.

In this video I explain how to do this using; File>Info>Protect Document>Encrypt with Password.

Saving Presentation Slides to the Small File Size PDF

At Apprentify we have been delivering online training and remote virtual meetings since we first started, and I think it is definitely fair to say that we are pretty good at it by now.

One thing we have found is that after every online session, there are always a few people who ask for a PDF of the slides and resources we used. Sometimes these files are huge and not suitable for email, however Microsoft office has a facility to save as a PDF in a really small file.

This video explains how to save the file this way by:

Freezing Rows and Columns in Microsoft Excel

When it comes to using Microsoft Excel, people have mixed feelings; some folks love it and use it for all manner of complex computations, perhaps to the point of vastly over complicating matters. On the other hand some people shy away from anything that looks like a spreadsheet, being overwhelmed by all that data.

This video explains a very simple technique to make your data more accessible and less confusing. Firstly by Freezing the top row to preserve all your column headings, then adding filter buttons to your column headings to allow you to look at only the data you need.

To freeze the top row, click on View>Freeze panes> Freeze top row

To add a filter, select the entire top row then click Home>Sort & Filter>Filter

Navigating your own Documents Super Quickly

In Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) circles; people often talk about including keywords in your headings, but did you know you can do the exact same thing in Microsoft Word too?

First you need to highlight your heading lines and click on the correct Heading setting in the Styles section on the home tab for each heading. Note this is the same in Google Docs, Pages and WordPress and many other Writing tools, offline and online.Adding Styles to Elements

Next, click on “View” then click on the checkbox for “Navigation Pane” and this will show a contents panel for the entire document, where you simply click on the heading you want, to go straight to it.Display the Navigation Pane in Word

Instantly Styling your Documents to Look Professional

Finally, as we have just been talking about using headings, you can take this one step further. Once all your document is split up into headings, you can change the overall style of the document in the “Design” tab; Word will even provide some template styles to start with.Choosing a Design Style in Word

You can also quickly change the colour scheme...

Microsoft Word Colour Scheme ...and... Microsoft Word font scheme...the font scheme.

 

You can even add a contents page following the same style.Adding a contents section in Microsoft Word

You can explore this further and make fully personalised style sheets for all of your documentation, to make branding any company documents as simple as selecting it from the design templates, though I will explore this in more detail in a later article.

Thanks for reading

Please let me know if any of these ideas were helpful; and let me know if you have any shortcuts that have made remote working easier for you. Thanks very much!

Digital marketing apprentices – Succeeding at your Interview

Interviews are tough in all industries and especially for those apprentices who have never experienced them before. So, what is good practice to ensure you succeed at your digital marketing interview?

Interview

Similarly, to my previous blog ‘Writing an effective CV’, the aim of your interview is to showcase your skills, knowledge and personality to the employer. However, this time it is face to face and not on paper.

There are not many out there who can say that they enjoy being interviewed, but unfortunately this is a vital step in the process to achieving your apprenticeship position. Some people are naturally talented when it comes to interviews, say the right things and leave feeling positive. Then there are others who are less confident, get flustered easily and struggle to get their answers across well. This blog will hopefully assist you with a few pointers to boost your chances of being successful.

Planning

Preparation

location

It sounds straight forward but looking into the location of interview is vital. You don’t want to be rushing, getting flustered as you can’t find the building and potentially being late. Some locations can be tricky to find so going to look at the location or using google maps should put your mind at ease.

Job Description

You may be asked by the interviewer questions specific to the job role so ensure that you have thoroughly read through the job description so there will be no surprises on the day.

There may be some parts to the role that you are relatively new too or only have basic knowledge in. Ensure that you spend some time researching these so that you can provide a strong answer if required.

Research

One of the more important steps whilst preparing for an interview is researching the company. You will either be asked what you know about the company or given an opportunity to ask questions, either way you MUST complete research.

You can never do enough research with this so ensure that you review their social media pages, website, locations, size, history, owners and their product.

I would also recommend using LinkedIn to view the interviewer as this will let them know that you are taking the time to complete research.

Prepare for common questions

You will never know beforehand what questions you will get asked during an interview so make sure you have covered most of them in your preparation, especially the most common ones;

Relevant news

Keep up to date with relevant news within the digital marketing industry, you never what you may be asked.

Success

Interview

Time

Another basic one but also very important. I would recommend 10- 15 minutes arrival before your interview. You certainly don’t want to be late and there is such a thing as being too early.

Prepare questions

You will always be asked at the end of an interview if you have any questions. Always have at least one question prepared and preferably two. This is a perfect opportunity to ask specifics. Avoid questions like pay or number of holidays you get, this can be discussed later down the line. Asking about the company, the job role, their history or something you have seen on the website are all great questions to ask.

Remember, you are there for a digital marketing apprenticeship, so keeping your answers relevant to this will bring you across stronger and more in line with what they are looking for. Its hard I know but be yourself, the interviewer is wanting to get to know you in the short amount of time they have and must try to ensure that you are a right fit for them and their team.

Conclusion

You won’t know what sort of interview you will be walking into; will it be formal/informal, will they want to just to get to know your personality or will they want to ask lots of questions about your skills and previous experience.

My advice is plan for lots of questions and be prepared. The bottom line is the more you practice and prepare the stronger your answers will get and the more confident in providing your answers you will become.

Practice, Practice, Practice!!

 

If you are interested in a digital marketing apprenticeship and would like to know more, please complete one of our online submission forms https://apprentify.com/apprentice/ and a member of the team will be in touch.

Digital marketing apprentices – how do you write an effective CV?

Writing a CV can be challenging, especially for apprentices. So, what do you need to include to create an effective digital marketing CV?

One of the main purposes of a CV is to catch the readers eye enough for them to invite you in for a face to face interview. It is at this point where you can really sell yourself, your skills, knowledge and  your passion for digital marketing. Look out for my blog next month where I will look at succeeding at interviews.

There are many different templates, formats and styles to write a CV and none are right or wrong. Everyone views CV’s differently and this includes those who review them too. The below is what in my experience works for apprentices looking to get to that interview stage for a digital marketing role.

Template

There are many different templates out there to write your CV on. As you are looking in a creative industry, my advice would be to get creative with your CV. Digital marketing is a very popular apprenticeship, so standing out from your peers could make all the difference. Microsoft Word have more than enough free options to go at, so I would start here.

The Basics

Generally, whoever is reading your CV will be reading a few, so you don’t want to waffle on throughout your CV. Keep it clear and concise.

Stick with the basic personal information such as name, contact number, email and address. Nothing more is required at this point of your journey, so avoid pictures and other personal data which is not relevant.

Profile

A key area on a CV, where you will have to catch the readers eye for them to keep reading on. So again, don’t waffle and keep to the point. I would include 2 or 3 shorts paragraphs here on your current situation, main skills, why you want to enrol on a digital marketing apprenticeship and what you hope to achieve from this whilst working at their company.

Skills

Another important area of a CV is your current skills. Having read the job description what soft and digital marketing skills are they looking for. If you possess these skills, then you must include them. Bullet pointing is the easiest way to go and you can add a little description if required. Below is a list of some of the soft & digital marketing skills they may be looking for.

Soft Skills

Digital Marketing Skills

Work Experience

A relatively straight forward section of the CV but one to ensure you are clear and concise. Start with the most recent role first and move backwards. You should include the company, job role, duration you were there as a title and then a small paragraph of specifically YOUR responsibilities.

Education

Again, most recent first and move backwards. The title should be where you studied and at what level i.e. GCSE’s with your specific subjects and grades following.

Volunteering & leadership experience

This is a nice addition to a CV that can showcase any volunteering you have completed or any projects, teams or clubs you may have led.

Portfolio

Creating a portfolio will not be for everyone, however if you want to stand out from your peers, this is a great way to go about it. A simple link on your CV to a portfolio is a fantastic and simple way for you to showcase some of your skills to the employer.

References

You can write your references on your CV, however for an apprenticeship role, simply writing ‘References available upon request’ is enough.

If you are interested in a digital marketing apprenticeship and would like to know more, please complete one of our online submission forms and a member of the team will be in touch.

 

Working from home - is it used or abused?

 

Is working from home really more productive?

Last weekend my wife and I were round our friend's house for our thrice-yearly CDWM (Come Dine with Me) experience. As usual, I was asked about how my job was going and Apprentify in general. The topic of 'working from home' (or WFH) was raised and the floodgates opened...

Apprentify focuses on businesses across the North of the UK with primarily focus on proving digital marketing apprentices in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and York. However, I live in Swindon. A little too far to commute on a daily basis! I spend most of my working time at home, travelling up to Apprentify HQ on average every other week for 2-3 days. Without this flexibility, and alongside my swimming and football coaching commitments, working for Apprentify would be near-on impossible.

People who work from home are MORE productive - Daily Mail

How to work from home - Hubspot

Is working from home more or less productive? - YouGov

My friend and I debated about the pro's and con's of WFH. His argument was mostly centred around his team and knowing that he has individuals within it that he couldn't trust to WFH. In his words, 'they would pretend they're working, but actually they'll be at Starbucks having a coffee!'

My response was, 'does it matter if they're doing a great job?'

I have had colleagues that openly admit that they 'can't do it' and that they just 'don't have the discipline.' I'm not naïve enough to think that working from home is for all businesses and/or individuals.

However, here are my top 10 benefits from WFH:

  1. I wake up and can be in my office within minutes. No frustrating commute or angry drivers to put me in a bad mood first thing
  2. Comfy clothes - No shirt, tie and trousers for me! Stick on my joggers and a hoody and I'm ready for work
  3. Refreshments and lunch on hand, saving me money not going to coffee shops or visiting a local supermarket for the £3.50 meal deal
  4. Company for our pets, particularly our 2 Jack Russell's that absolutely love our lunchtime walks when I need some time away from the laptop
  5. Peace and quiet - No office noise or interruptions. I even get to play my own music to match my mood or task at hand
  6. Contingencies - If a phone call from the school comes through because one of my children are ill, I'm there to collect and look after them
  7. Work space - I work from kitchen table. I have lots of natural light, ventilation and a comfy chair
  8. Change in scenery? No problem. I can walk up to our local high street and work from one of the coffee shops
  9. Productivity - Based on all the factors above, I get so much work done. I can focus and work at the times that suit me. I am also in touch with the entire Apprentify team by using effective communication tools such as Microsoft Teams and Adobe Connect. I'm on hand when they need me and visa versa. I'm hitting my targets and I strive to work harder and smarter for the great company I work for
  10. Personal Commitments - I coach swimming and football 3-4 evenings a week. I try and keep active myself by swimming, running and cycling. I enjoy cooking and I'm there for when my children return home from school and I get to eat dinner with my family round the table

All of these results in one happy, productive employee

Needless to say, I think I won the argument 🙂

How to use technology to create 'Outstanding' classrooms! [3 top tips.]

Technology is no longer a "nice to have" in a classroom environment.

We are long past the days of classrooms merely containing a projector, your stock PowerPoint and whiteboards as our primary education tools. The modern pupil doesn't just have the distraction of technology to overcome, but expects to use technology in their education. Used properly, technology can support your delivery so effectively that it increases engagement, retention of information and overall quality of their experience. Technology in the classroom encourages student collaboration in group activities and is an excellent way of freshening up activities such as assessment for learning.

I've spoken previously about Apprentify putting technology first in our Digital Marketer apprenticeship, but with a few months behind our first cohort now I wanted to reflect upon how to use tech to create an 'Outstanding' classroom.

 

Encourage Collaboration

Using any kind of classroom, your students should engage in both individual and group activities to develop a wide set of skills. Research activities can be an effective way of getting a class to dip their toes into a topic and then collaborate in a shared project. Tools like Google Docs with it's shared editing features in the browser allows students to collaborate on work in real time and consolidate the research they've performed with others. Not only are you developing the skill of online research, but also developing wider skills in project management and professional contribution to a project.

Did you know?: Google Docs allows you to comment on individual sections and leave annotations in work for students to review. You can also tag students using their Google account so they receive notifications informing them the feedback is directly intended for them.

 

Ensure Privacy

Any experienced educator will be aware of the importance of being able to read the classroom and identify students who are struggling with the content covered in the class, which allows for direct intervention and support. However, students often are reluctant to share their struggles with the class for fear of embarrassment - this can naturally hinder progress if students are unable to express their struggle to their teacher and leave the session with a knowledge gap. Technology can support this so effectively - tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack are superb additions to a classroom to speed up resource sharing, but they can also be used to allow students to message you privately if they don't feel comfortable discussing a topic in front of the rest of the group.

Did you know?: Slack and MS Teams have a wide variety of plugins available to enhance the experience further, including video conferencing tools through the browser which can facilitate instant conversations with students in interactive formats.

 

Create to Embed

Let's be honest - didactic teaching is just the worst. It doesn't matter how engaging, how passionate or how energetic your tutor is - it's impossible to follow a topic when someone just talks at your for long periods of time. An excellent teacher will loosen their grip on a session and allow the pupils to teach themselves at points rather than explaining a subject to within an inch of it's life in the hopes it sinks in. Use technology to embed the learning by asking students to create something new. Digital marketing is packed to the brim with tools that students can use for free! Tools like Funnelytics or Moqups are fantastic visual tools that bring to life concepts for students - these can be contributed on by groups as well as worked on individually, and allow for instant assessment and discussion around the work.

Did you know?: Funnelytics allows you to map online and offline features in your company's sales funnel which is a great activity to visualise a learner's business if they have a combination of activities in their sales funnel that aren't exclusively online.

 

With Ofsted launching their new Education Inspection Framework for September 2019, Apprentify have recently gone through a large piece of consultation about the changes it makes to our programme and the renewed focus on curriculum quality. Our programme is designed with employers in mind, and at the heart of our curriculum is encouraging new technologies and widening a student's learning beyond the core of the apprenticeship.

 

Get in touch with us to find out how our ground breaking programme could boost your sales.

Annual appraisals - impactful or just a tick box exercise?

All around the world, Performance Appraisals (or Performance Reviews) are recognised (amongst a number of performance management tools) as an annual event that aims to ensure individual performance is contributing to the overall department and/or business objectives. Little by little, businesses slide away from this rather archaic format of telling employees that 'Layla? She's electric,' 'Where did it all go wrong?' or even 'Hey now! Listen up, little James. You are one of The Quiet Ones but you're still my Rock 'n' Roll Star.' If your preference is this type of process, I acquiesce your decision. Imagine having to Soldier on during an Appraisal like this?

A Quick Peep at our CLIMB objectives

Round our way at Apprentify, we have developed a unique staff appraisal and monitoring process called our CLIMB programme. For each of our six business GROWTH objectives, we have five individual 'steps' for staff to CLIMB, increasing in challenge to achieve. Monthly, our staff will discuss their performance against their own individual objectives/targets/KPI's (Record of performance) and then given the opportunity to provide evidence against the 'steps.' Not only will this provide healthy competition between staff, there is also challenge and motivation for individuals to progress, all contributing to the development and success of the business!

D'You Know What I Mean?

I hope, I think, I know that the core function of the Appraisal is as important as ever, however conversations on performance should be an integral part of regular meetings with line managers. The masterplan should be if meaningful, open and purposeful conversations happen regularly, and they will won't let you down.

How many Oasis song titles did you find in the text? Leave a comment and I'll post the answer in due course.....

Getting Career Ready

Paul Drew photo

Digital Marketing Apprenticeships

Our research of our digital marketing apprenticeships in Manchester 6 months ago identified that employers and apprentices felt that they were not getting career ready when they graduated from their apprenticeship.  Although every apprenticeship has been developed by employers it is hard to categorise a broad subject or area like digital marketing.

 

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is a vast area where roles fit into many silos.  These areas are not just a linear programme of subjects.  Digital marketing is the art the covers all that centres around a companies website/s or digital channels like social media and email marketing.  It also covers the sometimes forgot art of analytics.  The beauty of digital marketing is that it is a multi layered solution but the return on investment can be tracked and identified.

Online marketing

So what are Apprentify doing?

Well after speaking to lots of digital marketing apprentices across Manchester and Leeds we found that there were four distict areas that needed employers and apprentices ended up in.  So at Apprentify we designed our programme to offer 4 routes or paths which are over and above the current digital marketer standard.  These paths are designed to get our apprentices career ready in key areas that work for their employers and bring the best results for them.

Engagement - These are the superstars that manage campaigns on social media or the wordsworth of this world dealing with engaging content.  Attention in this world is the most valuable commodity. If you can get someones attention in a world where we are exposed to millions of messages a week.

Search Marketing - Another valuable role for companies are those lead generators.  Businesses are moving away from commodity selling and to SaaS models.  Digital is also the future today the first step on the sales ladder is research through Google or Social Media.  Advertising on these platforms is a science and to get this right means business survival in most cases.

Web Design - Once people get to a website or receive an email it is the look and design that appeals.  It is no good getting the engagement / attention and directing to something that does not look amazing.  Web design is an art and a skill that companies really need

Web Development - Other side to the web coin is how a site or app functions.  Usability and function is what makes the whole cog turn.

We have had a few employers ask for a 5th strand which is a analytics and data.  So we are looking into this as a further option.

So our digital marketer level 3 standard that was designed by employers has been enhanced for what employers and apprentices really need.  This is going down a fantastically with our clients and apprentices.

Learner Journey

Code of Practice for Social Media

The BBC reported yesterday that Internet sites could be fined or blocked if they fail to tackle "online harms" such as spreading terrorist content, child sex abuse, so-called revenge pornography, hate crimes, harassment and the sale of illegal goods. It also covers harmful behaviour that has a less clear legal definition such as cyber-bullying, trolling and the spread of fake news and disinformation @ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-47826946

Working in Apprenticeships, one is used to Prevent training where one gains understanding of how vulnerable people can be drawn into such online harms or Safeguarding training to understand child protection responsibilities. Ofsted require all apprenticeship providers to uphold the procedures involved in such protection. The NSPCC has long since advocated an enforceable mandatory social media code of practice and an independent regulator to fine those in breach.

Working in Digital Marketing and Social Media, we can see how writing the proposed code of practice for tech companies will be a big task though very much needed. We all recognise that social media and the internet is omnipresent in everyone’s lives today.

Reaching out to all Digital Marketeers, what are your thoughts on this code of practice and how do you think social media should be monitored?

 

Top tips for bossing your digital marketing apprenticeship interview

How do you stand out against all those other candidates to land that dream digital marketing apprenticeship?

Before Apprentify I spent two years working at 3aaa (Aspire Achieve Advance). Working with hundreds of candidates from all ages to assist them in achieving their goal of starting their digital marketing careers.

You may not think it but being successful at an interview for an apprenticeship can be just as difficult as if for a normal full-time role. Some of the reasons are that you are still interviewing to become part of that company, part of their team, their ethos. No matter the role, you must be a right fit for them, and many employers follow the same ethos here at Apprentify ‘recruit for attitude, train for skill’. But with all the above reasons in mind, one of the main difficulties you will face is the competition.

Generally, you will be up against 2 or 3 other apprentices, seeking their dream role too. Over the past two years I have helped many apprentices play to their strengths and utilise their current skill set to stand out from their competition.

Here are my top tips for digital marketing apprenticeship interviews

Creative CV’s

There are many different aspects to a digital marketing role and apprenticeship, but a lot of it can be brought back to your creative side. A CV is like majority of things in life, the more you put into it the more you will get out.

You want to make your CV like no other before it, ensuring that the employer does not forget it. There are many templates out there that are free to utilise, but to go a step further, why not create your own with creative and appealing sections to showcase your skills.

Always remember what you are applying for and tailor your CV as such. If you are applying for a digital marketing apprenticeship, then I would expect to see skills and experiences with any area of this industry showcased throughout your CV.

Online Presence

If you have your own website, social media page, blog post or YouTube channel, then let’s shout about them! If you are applying for a digital marketing apprenticeship you will have a least one of the above and until you make them known they will stay in the shadows. Create these links and put them on your CV where the employer will then have easy access to view your skillset in a live environment.

Portfolio

The final interview tip for apprentices would be to create your portfolio. An online portfolio is one of the strongest weapons you can have in your arsenal as a digital marketer. It acts as a central point to showcase your most unique and creative work. It also gives you the opportunity write about your work including what tools you used to create it.

An online portfolio is a must, but why not have a printed snapshot too which you can take to your interviews. Not many of your peers will be doing this so if you want to go the extra mile then this is a step to take.

Conclusion for digital marketing apprenticeship interview

If you complete all or majority of the above, you will generally find yourself within a new role and apprenticeship in no time.

The bottom line is are you willing to put the time and effort into making yourself stand out in a crowd and if the answer to that is yes, then there is no time like the present……..