This Graduate Story is from Emma Martin, a Digital Marketer from Belfast. Emma graduated from Ulster University in 2018 with a degree in Marketing. She is currently employed as the Digital Marketing Executive at Secure Broadcast and Marketing Manager at Northern Ireland Opera having undertaken a number of marketing jobs during her 4 years at university. Her marketing experience includes roles in PR, content and technology consultancy and we were lucky enough to nab a few minutes of her time to find out about her experience so far. Check out her story here:
How did you get into marketing in the first place?
When I was younger I always wanted to be a writer and enjoyed meeting new people and my uncle suggested that marketing might be a job I would be interested in. The first experience I had in the marketing industry was during work experience when I was 16. Luckily, that same uncle managed an arts company and I went in to learn about marketing and communications. After my work experience week I decided that I would apply for marketing courses and five years later I have just graduated with a first class honours, about to start my master’s degree whilst continuing to work as a Digital Marketing Executive.
Did your university degree/experience help you when it came to your first marketing job?
My university degree was great as I learnt the theory behind marketing, but, it wasn’t a necessity. I more enjoyed the challenge of university and developing my knowledge of the subject. However, there is other avenues into marketing like the Chartered Institute of Marketing courses that are valuable as a starting point. Networking played a huge role when finding my first marketing job as I was able to find opportunities through my network.
How did you identify which area of marketing you wanted to get into?
Throughout my university journey I constantly worked in different marketing jobs for different companies. This meant that I gained a wealth of experience in lots of different aspects of marketing and meant I could decide which parts I enjoyed the most. For me, I enjoy the content creation and strategy side of marketing.
Is there anything you’d have done differently starting out in your career?
I don’t think there was anything I would do differently when starting out in my career. I was fortunate to have had lots of different roles in marketing and left university with over three years marketing experience. The only thing would be I wish I had some international work experience under my belt.
What advice do you have for graduates looking to get into marketing?
- Use LinkedIn, it is a fantastic platform to expand your network and find out about opportunities. I messaged a few people who ran agencies and different marketing companies about work experience and that turned into jobs. Never be afraid to reach out and start conversations with people.
- Another piece of advice would be to approach a local company and ask could you manage a marketing project for them, whether that is developing a marketing strategy or managing their social media. This will give you practical marketing experience that you can put on your CV when applying for jobs.
- Look for networking events and meetups, this is a fantastic way to interact with people in your industry and expand your network.
- Don’t just go for the ‘big brands’ you learn so much more from working in a small company. For me, working in SMEs I have developed and experienced so many different things that working in a larger company I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do at my young age.
What advice would you give graduates who are currently searching for their first marketing job?
When looking for your first marketing job don’t be afraid to be confident. Any experience you have can be tailored towards marketing, so don’t feel like you don’t stand a chance. Since, we all have grown up in the digital age we already have a wealth of transferable skills that can be utilised in a marketing role. If you like the look of a company reach out and ask about possible work experience and use this as a way to gain as much experience as possible. I have always found being enthusiastic and hard working has always landed me work experience.
If you could give your post-graduate-self any piece of advice, what would it be knowing what you know now about the industry?
You’re not the finished product! Just because you have a degree doesn’t mean you know everything. Always continue to learn and ask for more responsibility.
We've got plenty more graduate stories where this one came from so check them out and be inspired!