Our new copywriting intern, Lucy McLeod, gives us a run down on what it’s like to be an HX intern and why getting on-the-job experience is so important:
Being a poor student, learning my craft in the midst of a recession, I was very aware of how beneficial, possibly vital, gaining work experience was. It is not enough these days to find a job based on textbook theory alone. I did, however, find that when I told my family I was applying for internships, I was met with an aghast and almost sympathetic look. The term “intern” has apparently not yet shaken its association with office slave labour based on tea runs and printer ink refills. I needed to be with a company that wanted me to be there as much as I did. Cue Holiday Extras.
HX was pretty much the sole focus of my second year as an advertising and marketing student at Canterbury Christ Church University. Nearly all of my 6 modules involved media plans, presentations or assignments based on the company. Very quickly I went from never having heard of Holiday Extras to knowing how much they spend on Pay Per Click advertising and their favourite marketing methods.
As a result of this, I became aware of the “We Love Students!” initiative, and through my copywriting module leader, sent in a few example writing pieces to HX, fully expecting not to hear back. Somehow, I bagged an interview. It swiftly went downhill after that. I had the mother of all terrible interviews, truly astonishingly abysmal. As I left the building, I consigned myself to saying goodbye to a life in copywriting. I needed the professional experience to go from blogger to writer. Without it, the transition would not be smooth nor quick.
Thankfully, the interviewers, Sarah and Neil, saw through my nerves and gave me a chance. About a week later, I got a call to tell me I’d got the placement. I happily accepted and collapsed in a heap of gratitude – finally, I could get the professional training I needed.
Since my interview went so spectacularly badly, I was keen to make a good first impression. With my parents’ worries, I wasn’t sure I’d be taken as seriously as I would like. I needn’t have worried. I was welcomed in and made a cup of tea by my editor Seamus, before settling in at my desk next to my manager Neil – the same Neil who was lucky enough to be present at my interview.
Being an intern, I was expecting to be making tea, or doing busy work. To my surprise, I was thrown in at the deep end and asked to write actual content for the website straight away! I joyfully accepted.
I really rely on the knowledge and support of the copywriting team, and particularly ended up leaning on Neil’s expertise quite a bit. Thanks to their generosity and help, I got the hang of things fairly quickly and was soon writing in the Holiday Extras style and living the Holiday Extras life.
I remember growing up in fear of working in a soulless box of an office, surrounded by water coolers and clocks telling me the times in different cities. I find most offices incredibly uninspiring, and as a writer, a space that doesn’t allow for creativity and imagination is pretty much the worst place you can be. What a relief to be working in a large, light and open space like this in the middle of the country. It’s so peaceful and calm that I find myself writing better then I ever have before.
Because of this placement, I have become confident in my ability as a professional writer and the calm, mature, yet fun, working environment has really contributed to that. I pretty much gave up on writing when I left school, as I didn’t have the confidence in my writing to try and make a career of it; but, as Neil assures me, anyone can string a sentence together, but not just anyone can write. Thankfully, Holiday Extras was willing to take a chance on my talent and give me the support to develop it.
So cheers HX, Neil and Sarah, you’ve given me an entrance into a career I gave up on too easily, and it’s nice to be back.
For more information about joining Holiday Extras and our internship program, see our careers site.