What does your job involve?
My primary responsibilities are looking out for online marketing opportunities and assisting our Sales Manager wherever possible. In terms of online marketing the main things I’ve looked after were the creation of a monthly e-mail newsletter for customers , and a search engine optimisation project still ongoing which hopefully will boost our online presence and make us easier to find. I’ve also had the opportunity to help out on the graphic design side a little bit which has been terrific experience. Meeting our local customers through tasting sessions is something else I get to do from time to time and it’s great to hear what they think (and it educated me on our products as you’re asked all sorts of questions).
What did you study at the University of the Highlands and Islands and how does it relate to your current job?
I studied Business and Management and some of the elements I studied obviously relate very closely to my job at Stag Bakeries. The marketing modules I did over the 4 years have come in very handy, particularly those I took in the last 2 years where I picked up a lot of knowledge of how marketing campaigns are conducted from start to finish. As a whole the course also gave me a good opportunity to look at all the different parts of a business, from the financial side to understanding what the key processes and strategies are that differentiate a business from its competitors. Modules on those subjects don’t relate to my day-to-day tasks, but studying them meant I had a better understanding of what Stag Bakeries does and what makes us different, which obviously helps as a marketer and made my transition into the job a lot smoother than it would have been otherwise.
How did you get into your job?
Following graduation I kept up with job sites to see if any jobs came up in the area that were related to my degree in any way. I have to say I was really impressed with the University of the Highlands and Islands’ jobs database for job hunting as it allowed me to keep on top of the marketing vacancies out there specifically. I was willing to move away from Lewis if the right opportunity came up but I was really fortunate that Stag Bakeries had a placement available shortly after I graduated and were willing to give me the opportunity as that allowed me to stay here in Stornoway and gain experience in a growing company that exports worldwide.
Where would you like to go with your career in the future?
Over the next few years I’d like to carry on gaining experience in a marketing role like the one I have at the moment. Of particular interest in the long-term would be getting opportunities to help out in the brand development process as that is something that is very interesting to me. I know that before I get to that stage though there is a lot more I have to learn as professionally everything I have been doing on my placement has been completely new to me.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Firstly, try and look into what makes a really effective CV. Previously, I didn’t take on board just what a difference an outstanding CV can make - and the CV’s I was sending out following my graduation reflect that as they were very bare bones. One of the tips I picked recently is to try and quantify the things you’ve done in previous work or study – so rather than just listing previous projects or activities, discuss them a little bit and provide some evidence as to your involvement and how you were effective. Provide something measurable that gives you more credibility. Also make it visually different so it jumps out of a big pile of CVs!
Secondly, if you’re struggling for motivation in your course try and think how the things you are studying will help you in your later career. Sometimes this helped me when I wasn’t taking things in and couldn’t focus on the content because it seemed too theoretical. Finally, try and get as much work experience as you can. I didn’t have any previous work experience to fall back on when I started at Stag so the jump was a bit of a big one! The more prepared you are for your career the better and I think placements really help with that.