PT experiences here and there

My name’s Tino, and I’m about to graduate this December. During my practical training I’ve been working at a couple different companies, mostly doing social media management and marketing. I’ve spent most of my PT in a Dutch technology company that manufactures gaming keyboards for computers that utilize a unique technology. This fits me perfectly, as I’m a natural-born gamer at heart and interested in marketing, communication and PR as a career choice. I’ve learned a lot during my time there – maybe some of you will find this short text about my experiences interesting. What I write here sums up my experiences from all of my practical training, not just at the technology company.

I’d like to start off by mentioning that I did most of my practical training remotely, meaning that I worked from home and organized projects through Skype and Slack. This possibly sounds pretty awesome to some of you reading this, but I have to warn you: remote work is not for everyone. The amount of self-discipline and goal-orientation you have will quickly make itself apparent when you try to work remotely long-term. Think of all the comforts and distractions you have at home. Wanna take a nap? Sure – just log off and hop into bed. Wanna take a break? Sure, just log off and take a break. It’s easy to fall in the pit of “I’ll browse Twitter for a bit and then continue” or “I’ll just take a break for a while and then continue” and never pick work back up for the day again. It’s super easy to just be done with it for the day and continue tomorrow. But working remotely teaches you that you have to take action, even when there’s no one around pushing you to. Just log back on, get to work, finish what you are supposed to, and then log off for the day. I learned that my best friends were strict deadlines. If I want to get something done this week, I’ll just set a deadline for myself for Friday and convince myself that it’s the end of the world if I don’t finish by Friday.

As for the work itself, I started with social media marketing. Without going into too much detail, I learned that social media marketing is a whole lot more difficult than one is lead to believe. It’s not just about posting stuff every day and magically it’s all going to work out – no. It’s just as involved as any other field of marketing. Research and data are your biggest friends, with creativity coming close third. You cannot be a successful social media marketer if you don’t know your customers. Know their personality, know the demographics. Know the platforms they use. Know the tone of voice they want to hear. Know the type of content they want to see. And then execute. I didn’t succeed at this at first at all. I barely do now. Social media marketing is difficult, but super rewarding when you start figuring things out.

In communication, it all comes down to the message you want heard. The message has to be something your customers want to hear too.

I’m really fortunate to have done most of my PT in a company where I had the opportunity to learn from my mistakes first-hand. When I first started, the company’s communication/PR was atrocious, with most communication being one-way, from the company to the customers. During my time I’ve managed to build a deeper bond with our customers, changing the dialogue from one-way to two-way, with us communicating with our community as much as they are communicating with us.

Overally, I’ve learned a lot about time- and resource management, content marketing, project management and working in a multicultural team during my practical training. If you’re thinking of picking up a remote job, I recommend it. A remote job gives you more freedom, but also more responsibility. I think one can really grow at a remote job.