by Michelle Almeida
BA Journalism Studies
Trying to get a job in the middle of a global pandemic, when businesses are shutting down and employees are being laid off, tends to demotivate you from scrolling through LinkedIn to find work that is suitable for you. You’re anxious to pull up your CV from somewhere on your laptop, and you are struggling to find the words to fill in those blank spaces on your resumé.
After months of trying to find jobs that suited my interests, I secured a three-month internship for the then start-up brand Toddle through a flyer shared on a WhatsApp group.
Toddle is an online company which provides child development and early learning subscription boxes crafted for toddlers. As the Covid-19 outbreak put a hold on the functioning of schools and nurseries, Toddle boxes were created to help parents balance work and life while ensuring their toddlers get some form of early learning education.
My role involved writing up a series of blogposts for the website related to parenting and the early stages of child development. I was also a social media strategist and content creator, where I worked with influencers to promote the brand and helped create Instagram content such as ‘Toddle Tuesday’ facts.
Along with the creative side of the job, I was also the point of contact between potential clients, customers and my employer. Given the restrictions and the increasing Covid-19 cases at home in Dubai, my activities were remotely conducted, with daily meetings and calls to check in on the status and progress of the work.
What I really enjoyed about this work placement, besides the writing and content creating aspect, was that I was able to gain some insight into administrative work, which I believe is beneficial for any corporate role.
During my first year as a journalism student, the things I learned helped in terms of research, coming up with new and fresh angles on seemingly exhausted topics around parenting and childhood. Armed with those skills, I produced some quality work that was approved and published by my employer.
This role opened future opportunities for me because I was co-ordinating with organisations in the media industry through which I made new contacts and was even able to build a positive impression about myselfMichelle Almeida
The placement with Toddle was a wonderful experience because it helped me realise that I enjoyed blogging, content writing, feature stories, and magazine work while also getting a feel for working from home in a corporate context.
Another aspect this placement helped in was minimising the dread of communicating with clients or customers, which really helped when reaching out for interviews in my second year. This role opened future opportunities for me because I was co-ordinating with organisations in the media industry through which I made new contacts and was even able to build a positive impression about myself.
Finding out about this role and being employed for it came across as a total surprise because I had no prior work experience. My knowledge of the work field was limited to contributing articles for various online platforms, launching my own website, joining the university paper (Forge) and magazine (Liberty Belle) and studying for a journalism degree.
However, I found that working on these skills and participating in department events such as the International Journalism Week projects really supported my CV, which led me to this position.
I enjoyed every bit of my work placement, learnt so much and even improved my writing through it. I had a good rapport with my employer, with whom I could share ideas and receive constructive feedback from.
The biggest take-back from this experience was that bagging a job does not always depend on your previous work experience. During my first year, I banked on developing my skills and grabbed any contribution-based opportunity that came my way to produce written work which I found benefited my application for this position.
Having learnt so much from being a content creator for Toddle, I started my second year of journalism as a confident student, determined to gain more feedback, experience and skills for future opportunities.
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