Hello, hello, today this post stems from the fact that I get asked a lot how on earth I got to work in Marketing when I studied Geography. I don’t think appreciated that in Marketing certainly people tend to do a business or marketing degree and then go from there.
From Geographer to Marketeer
When I finished Uni I had no idea what I wanted to do. I originally did want to become a primary school teacher but after some work experience I realised that, that wasn’t the path that was most suited to me. Whilst working as a cleaner over the summer I applied for literally everything and anything and the job I got was to a Market Researcher year long internship at a students’ union. I got the role and as the role was in the marketing department I pitched in and helped out. The year flew by and a Marketing Assistant job came up at the current students’ union where I worked. I got the role and worked my way up to my current position as coordinator. Since then I have passed the CIM Certificate in Professional Marketing as I wanted to have a bit of academic knowledge to back up my experience.
I want to go down a different route to what I did with my degree. What can I do?
Firstly, be realistic. There are a lot of vocations where a degree is essential such as becoming a Doctor. If your vocation doesn’t require a degree look at doing some voluntary work or work experience in or around that area, as it gets your foot in the door. Look at joining some professional bodies, I am part of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Most employers want evidence to see continuing professional development and joining a professional body is one way of doing this.
If you want to gain another qualification then again a professional qualification may be the best way of going about this. They are often cheaper than a three year degree and a lot of employers either want the degree or the professional qualification.
I also look at Linked In at other people who are in Marketing roles to see how they got to where they are, it really is fascinating seeing the routes over people have taken. Finally don’t under estimate your soft skills either. Try and position your skills on the application form in a way that if you don’t have the right key skills other skills you have may plug the gap.
Have you made the move from one career to another or landed a different job to what your degree originally was. Let me know in the comments below.
As many students are starting or making there way back to university it has got me thinking about my time at university and how I didn’t really make the most of it. I left university two years ago graduating with a 2:1 BA Hons Geography degree.
I have been lucky and had a job I really enjoy since graduating but I know for a lot of recent graduates this has not been the case and it has been a hard time facing unemployment. When you drill down to the reason why jobs are so hard to come by for graduates, it is usually the lack of relevant experience. University isn’t a three year piss up anymore, with employers looking for more than just shop experience for you to stand out about the increasing volumes of applicants. This has made it tougher than ever to land a meaningful role. This post goes through some of the decisions I have made and what I would tell my 18 year old self now.
Choose a Course with a Placement Year
My course did not include a placement year. Looking back this does put you at a disadvantage for a variety of reasons. A placement year is a great opportunity to try a career path or to explore a new one. A previous friend of mine found that the career path she originally wanted to follow (journalism) was not the right path for her after going on placement at a local radio station.
Placements lead you to making connections which will help you in the future and could even lead you to a job. My fiance got a job after a week’s work experience at a newspaper. These days employers do not want to spend time to train up employees (not necessarily something I agree with but that’s a different story) so by gaining experience in a variety of different areas will make you more desirable.
Admittedly I did go on a ‘placement’ module which was helping one of the university academic’s with research. I was interviewed which meant being up against my course mates so was thrilled when I got the placement. However this wasn’t enough. All my research could be done from home so I wasn’t in a physical work area where I could interact with people, the consequence of this was no networking. Nonetheless juggling two research projects in my final year (the other being the dissertation) showed potential employers that I could deal with pressure and I think was one of the reasons why I was employed in my first role after university.
Gain lots of work experience in a variety of different areas.
In three years the only job I held down was a full time cleaning role in the summer holiday and about four weeks work experience in a school because at the time I thought I wanted to be a teacher. Therefore I had tonnes of spare time in term time and just wasted it. I should have written down two or three career paths I was interested in, got on the phone and asked places if they would take someone on for a few weeks. A student on my course at one point held down five different paid and unpaid jobs in her degree so gained many transferable skills that made her stand out. She deservedly was the first student on my course who landed herself a graduate role.
Research the jobs market
Studying Geography I was focused on the environment and humanitarian work. However I didn’t research if there were many long term roles in that area and what skills are required. If I had researched this I would have been able to tailor my experiences to fulfill the skills requirements or broaden my horizons a lot more.