Ali Woodward – University of Bristol graduate, tells her story of finding work as a student and how Tasking on Paperound led to graduate job she really wanted.
I was doing neuroscience when I started my degree, I knew I quickly realised I wasn’t going to end up in research and following the typical neuroscience path. During my studies I started to be more creative with my own personal projects, whether that was graphic design or marketing etc. I had a lot of ideas and enthusiasm for that type of work, and I wanted to find somewhere to put that energy.
Getting work experience
I knew that if I wanted to pursue something more marketing related, a degree in an unrelated field might not be enough. I knew I needed to get experience but I didn’t know where to go for an internship, there’s so much out there it’s hard to know where to start in a way. I didn’t know enough about myself to know how to promote myself either, I just knew I enjoyed creative campaigns.
I knew in second year I would have to show a portfolio of real work to go into a creative role – I thought I would maybe just ask local businesses for bits of work, it would have been very manual. I did write out a ton of cover letters to companies which was super time consuming – even for positions that were short internships. I didn’t have the time to tailor everything to individual employers.
I ended up signing up for the Bristol PLUS award as it was something to put on the CV – this is a University initiative that requires students to work a certain number of hours during their degree to count towards work experience. It was from here I learnt about Paperound.
My first thought – “oh my god this site does it for me” – I don’t have to go out and find people to get this experience. It can happen here.
I could cut out that manual time of tailoring job applications and repeating really long processes, and stop randomly sending my CV out to everyone and everything.
Getting set up
It was really smooth to get set up and start going. The initial interview made me realise it was about serious work – not everyone gets on, it was about students who have some skills and the right attitude to deliver real work for real businesses.
I set up my profile super quick and set my availability (Mondays and Fridays weren’t good for me, so I just switched them off,) then I set my hourly price. From there businesses came to me if they liked what they saw. Each time you’re booked for a task you get an email notification to where you accept it then you work on the task liaising directly with the businesses.
When you complete the work, the business signs it off and Paperound sends the payment through directly to your bank account (the business reviews you too, which is another thing to show off!)
Being a Paperound Tasker
It’s a little different to an internship – You are your own business in a way, offering services. It’s not like an employer to take orders from, and there’s this kind of mutual respect with the businesses. It made me feel quite professional and confident to express my ideas, as it was more about just reaching the outcome of the project together with the business.
With it being a freelance gig, it also meant I could manage my bookings around my uni life (which was often chaotic) – so the flexibility was super useful for me. I felt very much in control of my life because of that.
What I also found with Paperound was that the type of projects I was personally more interested in, I would work on. It’s because I talked on my profile about the stuff I was interested in and had explored a little, it made me come across more suited to those type of projects.
I also got a range of different work come through which gave me some broader experience on the types of things businesses work on. Some of them were things I didn’t expect, UX design work for example – helping a business tweak their platform to create a better digital experience. I’m now in a startup which is very product led and all about creating something with an amazing user experience. So, even that little project came in handy, as it’s something I wouldn’t have done otherwise.
How I used Paperound
I put Paperound on my LinkedIn profile and also on my CV. Then within my CV I talk about the different projects that I worked on, in more detail. This worked great when it came to interviews for graduate jobs – straight away people were asking “what’s that?”, and it meant I had lots to talk about when it came to real world experience and real business outcomes.
On Paperound – one of the startups booked me for some work but at the time mentioned that this may be a full time role. Those first tasks I was working on was social media marketing and more general marketing work. Lots of creative work which I loved. I was immediately interested in the project.
The business thought I did a great job on those first few tasks, so they gave me 5-10 hours a week consistent work whilst I was still studying. A few weeks of that, and more opportunity opened-up for another company the client was working on – this time for a full-time graduate role!
So, to see it snowball was really good, from odd jobs to part time to full time graduate role. And it came from me just delivering on the things they booked me out for on Paperound. It kind of evolved from trying each other out, to them realising I can deliver on the work, then taking on responsibility and commitment for the full role.
The business side
I think it works great for the businesses too – they probably get to save lots of time and money with Paperound. It means less time recruiting and working out who to hire and more time just getting stuff done with students that are keen to prove themselves.
With Paperound, you can put out a single project and just pay for what you need. But then from there, you’re seeing how the student gets on and can start getting to know them. For those that are interested in hiring soon, it’s like a natural probationary period in a way – seeing how we can get on with a single project.
Feedback for other students
Sell yourself – you are on Paperound for a reason. Put out everything you have done or worked on, even if it was a small personal project – some things are worth more to businesses than you think!
Also be friendly and approachable. Go into everything thinking ‘this could lead somewhere’. For example the UX thing – I didn’t know about that before, but I was glad I gave it a go. You’ve got nothing to lose and lots to gain. Extra cash, real experience, employer connections…
I just really love Paperound – it’s a great way for helping students build up experience and it saves time randomly applying for tons of roles. A great way to get a taster of experience and a great place to figure out your first steps into a career.
Ali now works as a Partner Success Manager for FinTech startup Fygo.
If you’re a small business who just needs an extra pair of hands to get tasks done or to support a project you just haven’t had time to start, check out Paperound.com.