Graduate story: Emily Cocker Digital Marketing Executive at Bigfoot Digital

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Emily shares her story of breaking into a Digital Marketing career… without a marketing degree!

I graduated back in 2014 with a First-Class Honours Degree in Magazine Journalism. In many ways, time has flown by and I honestly do love my job. It only seems like yesterday that I was sat at home nervously waiting for career-changing results that would shape my future. It sounds scary when I put it like that. But now I look at that degree certificate every day before leaving for work to remind me of how far I have come.

 

 

What do you do and how did you get there?

I work at the leading London SEO Agency, Bigfoot Digital, as a Digital Marketing Executive. I decided quite early into my studies that being a Journalist was not for me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved (still do) to publish impactful content that really speaks to people. I was interested in the online world of marketing and wanted to see if my degree could support me in a search for ‘SEO Executive,’ ‘Copywriter,’ ‘Digital Strategist’ and ‘Content Writer’ positions. I started my job search online using apps like Reed, Total Jobs and LinkedIn to connect with companies. After sending what felt like 1000+ emails and application forms, I was invited to interview for a Copywriter position in Lancaster. I moved miles away from home to work in a sector I knew little about. The majority of people considered my position to be out of reach, a commute and “a risk”. All of these are true actually, but I didn’t let that stop me. I had a short-term plan to gain experience in the industry, learn everything I could about publishing online and work hard. My long-term plan was always to move back and work for a digital agency I could see myself at for years to come. I’m now working at that agency.

What do you like most about your work?

As soon as I walked into the building for my first interview, I knew this was the right place. The atmosphere, the culture, the people, everything just seemed right. While I have experience in digital marketing and SEO, Bigfoot Digital will always consider graduates with a passion for online marketing.

What do you do every day at work? When it comes to marketing, every day is different. Some days I am reaching out to outreach prospects to share collaborative content, other days I’m focused on producing search optimised articles and client reports, and more recently, I have taken on the responsibility of marketing for Bigfoot Digital, which is very exciting. I would recommend working here to any graduate looking for a rewarding career in digital marketing or social media. My advice to graduates would be to start early, plan ahead and don’t give up. It’s easy to feel deflated when looking for a graduate job. You’ll get this a lot: “Graduate job: must have at least 3 years’ experience.” It’s annoying, but you will get there.

My top 5 tips for getting into a career in Digital Marketing:

  1. Get some internship work under your belt. Looking back, one thing I wish I’d done is get work experience in the digital industry. First-hand experience will enhance your skills, confidence and ability to secure a graduate job.
  2. Ask questions. There’s no such thing as a stupid question. I was really nervous in my first job and didn’t speak up enough. As a graduate, you are not expected to know everything.
  3. Use LinkedIn to connect with companies. There may not be a job advertised in your local area, but that doesn’t mean you can’t express your interest. Write to agency owners and show that you are passionate about the industry, so when it comes to recruiting, they will remember you.
  4. Do your research. Digital Marketing is changing all the time. What’s best practice today will be gone tomorrow. It’s always good to do a little research before your interview so you can impress with your knowledge.
  5. Use transferable skills in your digital career. No matter what your degree, the skills you accumulate will stay with you as you move into working life. Are you a great communicator? Do you find it easy to build relationships? Communication is key, and with that under your belt, you’ll stand out above the rest.

 

 

If you want help with exploring what you will do after your degree get in touch with the university careers team: http://www.sunderland.ac.uk/futures

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