Graduate Stories: Laura Cunningham, Marketing Executive

Laura Cunningham

The world of work can seem alien to a recent graduate. Even those who have completed a significant amount of work experience can find the real thing daunting and overwhelming. Our #graduatestories series brings you career advice from marketeers who have been in the same boat as you. Hopefully their advice and their stories encourage you to take your first steps in landing your dream marketing job. Next up in our series we have Laura Cunningham, a marketing graduate from Kilmarnock. Laura graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2017 with a degree in Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communication and currently works as a Marketing Executive at MindGenius, a computer software company. Prior to this, Laura has experience in similar roles both agency-side and client-side as well as a number of internships and work placements. Read about her journey so far in this interview:


How did you get into marketing in the first place?

I originally applied for a journalism course back in 2010, however, in the interview the interviewer said he felt a media studies course would be better suited for me. From there, I have studied communications for 5 years both in college and at university. Luckily, communication is a massive part of the marketing profession and it just came naturally to me. 


Did your university degree/experience help you when it came to your first marketing job?

Not necessarily. University taught me the importance of deadlines and professionalism, but there's hardly anything I learned in uni that I use in my day-to-day. There definitely needs to be more focus on digital marketing in university courses in the future.


How did you identify which area of marketing you wanted to get into?

Initially, I did work experience in a social media team for a well known creative media agency in Glasgow. Everything just came naturally to me and the processes and job made sense. I just knew afterwards that that content marketing and social media marketing was going to be for me.


Is there anything you’d have done differently starting out in your career?

I don't think there's anything I would have done differently. Whilst I was at uni I did work experience at a few different creative agencies and eventually got a part-time position as a marketing assistant. I'm very fortunate to be able to say I had one years work experience before I had even graduated. 


What advice do you have for graduates looking to get into marketing?

Create a CV that stands out! I taught myself basic Adobe Illustrator skills and made a creative CV that reflected my personality and showcased my best skills. Also, definitely consider graduate jobs. My current position was on ScotGrad and it's been a dream. The expectation isn't quite as high as they know you are newly graduated and there is generally more room to grow your skills and hone in on the style of marketing you want to practice.


What advice would you give graduates who are currently searching for their first marketing job?

Again, make a CV that stands out. Make sure your prospective employer can't forget seeing it. 


If you could give your post-graduate-self any piece of advice, what would it be knowing what you know now about the industry?  

Hmm, I'm not really sure. Just be confident in the weight your degree holds when you are applying for jobs. You've worked hard for that! Oh and this is definitely not the end of learning, There is so much more to learn.


Laura touches on a few important points here, especially with regards to the value that work placements can hold in helping you settle into your first, post-graduation job. The advice of your peers and of people who have been there before you can be the most valuable, and we've got plenty of it here in our graduate advice blog. Good luck finding your dream marketing job!

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