Megan graduated from Birmingham with a BA in French and Italian and now works as a Content and Brand Supervisor at Worktop Express. She spoke to Seamus Hilley about transferring skills acquired at University to the working world.
How did you get your current job?
“I was interested in retail and started working for John Lewis in Cambridge after graduation. Having worked there for a year, and done work experience twice at John Lewis Head Office in London with the teams in Buying and Brand, I knew I wanted to go down the Marketing route. I then found an entry-level position at a company in Gloucestershire, where I am originally from, and began studying for a Marketing qualification in September 2015. I’m really passionate about interior design so I jumped at the chance to start working for DOS Ltd when I saw the Content and Brand Supervisor position advertised. They’re the parent company of a range of popular brands, so I write and learn about the impact of colour and design in the home on a daily basis, as well as the sourcing and preparation of ethically-produced materials.”
How relevant was your degree subject to your current job?
“On the face of it there’s not much connection, but in reality my time at Birmingham has been a huge influence, not just on my career but on my life! In practical terms, studying language was a great preparation for writing content. But the most important thing is the way that University changes you, gives you great friends, and opens up new horizons. I also believe that having a four-year degree on my CV (including a year spent living and studying in Italy) demonstrates a commitment to learning and pushing boundaries, regardless of the subject of study, which is advantageous for any job application.”
Describe a typical working day.
“It varies so much from day to day. My responsibilities can range from writing blogs, information guides and webpage content, to devising optimum meta descriptions and Google Products descriptions for achieving the best click-through rate and search engine ranking, to putting together informative and creative Pinterest boards for each of the company’s brands.”
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?
“I love doing a job that has a direct impact at the company’s front line (i.e. the website) and consequently on the bottom line too. It’s great to be in an environment where I’m surrounded by people with broad depth and range of expertise who I can continue to learn from. In the competitive realm of e-commerce, new ways to enhance content, optimise webpage rankings and boost conversion rates will continue to develop, so my understanding will evolve with it and I hope for my career to progress in line with the company’s steady expansion.”
Finally, what three pieces of advice would you have for others who are about to graduate?
“Don’t be afraid to try a few things! Fresh out of university, you’ll be keen to find your feet and start building your career, but it’s not always as straight forward as that. You may need to work in a variety of sectors before you really find your niche.
“Remember employers are looking for the whole package - Personality is key! You may find yourself up against a fellow-graduate with a 1st when applying for jobs, but don’t be put off - employers are looking for someone who will fit in with their team and company culture too, and that person could be you.
“Do something you’re passionate about! Maybe you studied Law, and after three years, you can’t imagine yourself becoming a solicitor. Not to worry, you have a wealth of transferable skills that will stand you in good stead for a whole variety of career paths. When you consider the average person spends 90,000 hours of their lifetime at work, you want to be sure that’s time spent doing something you enjoy!”