As it’s A-level results day, we did some office research into which members of the Honchō team chose to pursue a university degree and who decided to kickstart a career after leaving school, and how they began their careers in Digital Marketing.
Here are some stories from a variety of people in our team that will hopefully inspire anyone to start a career in digital marketing – with a degree or otherwise!
After A-levels, I knew that I was going to go to university to further my studies; mainly because I wasn’t ready to face the real world of work yet and wanted to delay committing to a 9-5! I really enjoyed writing and my sociology A-level, so had applied for several degrees in Journalism. I later discovered more about PR and communications on the taster days and the rest was history. I started my digital PR career six years ago after studying Journalism and Public Relations at the University of Lincoln, where I graduated with a 2:1.
You certainly don’t need a degree to get into PR though – for me it was an easy way to learn a little more about marketing and branding beyond my A-level courses, but it’s definitely a career where you learn on the job. Apart from the CSR and corporate strategy side of my degree, little else prepared me for the day-to-day in PR agency life. My advice for anyone looking to get into a PR career is to think about how you can self-learn as many things as possible. Have a look at your skillset too and see where you would best fit. PR requires someone to be organised, outgoing, confident, articulate, and you need to really enjoy writing, reading and everything about brands.
I ended up in SEO by accident. An old school friend and current colleague of mine, Stacey, advertised some temp work online, which conveniently coincided with the end of my university placement at TJX Europe (TK Maxx). Following my first month at Honchō (formerly iThinkMedia when I first started out) I discovered for the first time what Search Engine Optimisation really was. More importantly, I realised how essential SEO is for businesses with online operations. It sparked my interest in this constantly evolving industry and I made the choice to return here after uni to make a career out of it.
I studied Business Management with Accounting and Finance at Nottingham Trent University. My intentions were originally to get into management accounting. I always had a business-focused mindset and loved working with numbers, so this felt like a natural path for me. After my “fork-in-the-road” moment, I took the SEO route and have been working at Honchō for nearly four years since then. My knowledge, experience and confidence in the field has done nothing but grow over this time and I still get ‘the buzz’ when my work has led to great results for a client.
All the way through school, I never really knew what I wanted to do. With A-levels in History, English and Drama, I went to university to study Classical Literature and Civilisations – very far removed from the digital world I now work in! Although I really enjoyed my degree, I didn’t really think a career in academia was on the cards for me, so instead I pursued a career in Fashion. While the area of the Fashion Industry I ended up in – Merchandising – wasn’t a good fit for me (far too much maths!), working with the Digital team got me interested in Digital Marketing as a whole.
I joined Honchō just over 18 months ago and I’ve already learnt so much about the industry. I’m glad I went to university, and if I went back in time I would definitely choose to go again, but I would say not to worry too much that your degree subject is different from possible career options. If, like me, you’re unsure of what you want to go into career-wise, choose something you’re interested in and enjoy learning about.
For me (rightly or wrongly), university is one of those things where you either do it because it is an essential part of your career or you don’t.
So, whether your A-level results went the way you wanted or not, I wouldn’t worry about it. Doors will still be open to you and opportunities will come your way if you have the right attitude, energy and tackle day to day challenges with a can-do, problem-solving approach. I personally chose not to go to university, and was still able to get myself into interviews and onto the employment ladder. By my early twenties, I already had a solid background of hands-on experience in a digital environment, including exposure to real-life business situations such as pitches and boardroom/shareholder meetings; all while my friends were still studying something may of them would never use again. Not to mention the fact that I had money in my pocket, savings in the bank and time to visit my friends at uni for the weekend!
If you’re a recent university graduate, or you’ve just received your A-levels and you’re looking to start a career in Digital Marketing, get in touch! We are looking to speak to people with all levels of experience, or be the start of your journey in SEO, Paid Media, Content or PR. Give us a call or send a prospective CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.