Graduate Stories: Nicole Gray, Senior Marketing Executive
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 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. Our next story is from Nicole Gray, our very own Senior Marketing Executive! Nicole graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2017 with a degree in German Studies. Prior to joining us at Only Marketing Jobs, she was freelancing as a Brand & Content Developer and running a blog & online portfolio. Read about her journey so far in this interview:
How did you get into marketing in the first place?
I sort of just decided on it. I had always had an interest in advertising, and had loved the marketing elements of other jobs I had done. It wasn't really an 'I fell into it" kind of thing, because I did decide it was the career path I wanted, but it wasn't necessarily the logical one!
Did your university degree/experience help you when it came to your first marketing job?
God, no! Not at first glance, anyway. (Although that’s not how I framed it when I started applying for graduate marketing roles.) I studied German, which on paper does not provide you with any marketing skills whatsoever. What it does give you, however, is a love of communicating with people and finding common ground. I specialised in translation, which came in very handy when it came to writing great copy. These, as well as some extremely useful transferable skills, all played a role in how I approached my first marketing job.
How did you identify which area of marketing you wanted to get into?
Honestly? I didn’t. I’m still working it out. In my experience, the term ‘marketing’ can cover a vast number of responsibilities and disciplines. I have found myself wearing a lot of different hats in my current capacity as a marketing executive, so am learning quickly what does and does not work for me!
What advice do you have for graduates looking to get into marketing?
Get experience!!! I cannot stress this enough. When you graduate, your CV can look a little sparse, even if you have had weekend jobs and got a 1st in your chosen subject. A key thing for me was having some relevant internships and references so that I stood out. It made me more confident in interviews because I was able to provide specific examples of what I had done and what I was good at. If you can, go to your Careers Advisors at university – so many of my friends had never been to visit ours, but they are so helpful! They can walk you through how to format your CV, what to include, prep you for interviews or put you in touch with local businesses who are looking for graduates if you want a few hours of work experience a week.
What advice would you give graduates who are currently searching for their first marketing job?
Never stop working on your CV. Tailor it for each job. It sounds tedious, but it is so, so worth it. Have one basic format for each type of role you’re going for (digital/content/charity...) and then rework the ‘Profile/Intro’ section for each one, picking out key words from the job description. Make it as easy as possible for the hiring manager to realise that you’re the perfect person for the role! Include a personal statement wherever possible, especially for a job you really want. Then, guess what? Tailor that too.
If you could give your post-graduate self any piece of advice, what would it be, knowing what you know now about the industry?
Find people you know you can count on, and stick with them. Listen to your gut. If something doesn’t seem quite right, it probably isn’t.