What to expect when you’re expecting placement

Who knew that a placement with The Irish News could give you so much real responsibility? Not that I’m complaining I LOVED it and you will love it too when you start your placement.


You’ll find when choosing placements that it’s not about the salary it’s about the experience and which business/ organisation will stand by you when you graduate. For me all the workload and responsibility shaped me into the person I am today. I have developed and improved my skills and knowledge as well as learning new ones, impossible to learn from a text book or a lecture class.


So I figured why not share my insight with you!

I remember my first week like it was yesterday. The thoughts and fears that everything I learnt from my CAM degree over the past two years was not enough and that I was going to be an awful employee who could hardly spell their words right! WHO’S WORKING FOR A NEWSPAPER!! No pressure Shannon, no pressure!

But as the months went on and the previous placement students trained me I realised I can do this. I can organise myself, plan competitions, remember to email people and organise events, yes this is working!

I’ll skim over the fact that I let a few ads run with typos, because my boss had forgave me, so I forgave myself and without those errors I would have not experienced how to better myself and avoid future errors.

My words of wisdom to the new placements students this year; is to “make mistakes, realise what they are and learn from them. You’re not going on placement to be a perfect employee your there to learn.”

My advice about placement now: be yourself and be the best you can be.

Personally, I am a very sarcastic and outgoing individual who likes a bit of crack around the office to keep things interesting. I would often challenge peoples personalities and test the waters on how far their humour can go as humour is an excellent way to build genuine relationships with people in your office. Plus it makes it that bit easier getting up in the morning…


Be passionate!

Everything I do I love! I want to be the best that I can be. I believe “If they can do it then so can I! Challenge accepted!” There is nothing more an employer loves better than passion. If you’re keen to throw out your opinions and challenge their suggestions then your boss and colleagues are going to trust and value your opinion on the team.

challenge accepted

On another note my passion for food on my placement led me and my colleagues to assign food days to the week. In our office we had “Treat Tuesday” which always involved some bars, snacks or biscuits. “Wee bun Wednesday,” a day where we would go around all the local bakeries week to week in Belfast and try them out (delicious) and “Sausage bap Friday,” the day were I would go on our break to the local restaurant on the corner of Donegal Street and get sausage baps for our team each week. I can honestly say these assigned days for food really helped you get through the week and get excited for work the next day.

I highly recommend.

Which leads me on to…building relationships & Teamwork

Within The Irish News we had many different departments which all relied on each other at different times. Teamwork is essential. You need to build relationships with the guy downstairs who you may ever only see getting a coffee in the canteen because it could be his number your dialling next week to ask for a huge favour!

in girls

When you’re working in a small department you’ll realise you get close with your colleagues and teamwork is on top priority, especially with tight deadlines and large volumes of work.

Developing good relationship with external companies is also key as you need to build up a good rapport with the client and the PR companies you work with. It’s always easier to agree on terms and make changes with people when you have took the time to create an established relationship.

Stay organised!

My final word of advice is to stay organised. In the beginning of my placement one of my flaws was forgetting to write down my daily tasks and forward planning. Organisation is key to success! I think we’ve all heard that before, but it’s true. From writing a task down to planning an event or taking contact details it’s the small things on the organisation side of things that will trip you up.

From what I’ve learnt on placement my 5 top tips would be to:

  1. Try not to multitask
  2. Have a diary/ planner
  3. Write a list of your tasks for the day
  4. Make sure to take breaks (I recommend a lot of tea and buns)
  5. Make sure your desk is clean (Mess makes it impossible to find things – trust me I’ve been there)


But to sum up PLACEMENT IS AWESOME! It’s nothing like studying the theory at university. Its real and its happening and you are the person who is doing it! If you’re still considering whether to do a placement don’t consider one, just do it. The skills and people you meet in the short time your out will carry you more than any degree alone ever can! So go for it and if you’ve already done placement and agree ‘High five’.


Shannon Doyle is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @shannond_761 / Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/shannon-doyle-28b827109