"The title was largely irrelevant, it’s what I made of that job which ultimately helped me get to where I am now”
My professional journey as a Marketing Officer
Freddie studied History at undergraduate level and then an MA in Broadcast and Digital Journalism. While at UEA he was History Society President alongside taking part in Livewire, Concrete and the Futsal Club. After graduating Freddie worked as an Account Executive for Mongoose Sports and Entertainment, working with teams such as AFC Bournemouth, England Rugby and Team GB. He has since joined East London Sport as Marketing Officer working with High Performance athletes and local sports clubs among others.
I came to UEA not really knowing what my next step would be and so chose to study History based on my A levels and the cliché that it ‘kept doors open’. Really, this wasn’t far from the truth; good written communication is crucial to many jobs and the ability to analyse and interpret data (in this case written text) is also coveted.
However, it became clear to me that with almost 200 people taking the same BA as me that building experience elsewhere would be key come graduation. While I played an active role in clubs and societies, including President of the History Society, since entering the professional environment I’ve found that internships and work experience make you stand out the most. Funnily enough it was a friend who sent me a job vacancy on CareerCentral and I became a Football Analyst for Opta Sports from the start of my second year.
I frequently see friends turn down jobs because they aren’t the dream and strictly speaking I didn’t want to go into data analysis. However, I took this role based on the skills and experience it would give me being in the footballing press rather than the job title and I can’t stress how important this is. Since working for Opta, the ability to show how I’ve been given large responsibility at Premier League games and using communication in often high pressure situations has never failed to impress employers or colleagues. The title was largely irrelevant, it’s what I made of that job which ultimately helped me get to where I am now.
Going into third year, there was the classic rush for graduate schemes, but I found that it was very rare for a graduate to go straight onto a grad scheme. I’d go as far as saying I didn’t know anyone at UEA who had been completely successful with grad scheme applications. As a result, one thing I’d advise is of course apply for them if they take your fancy, but don’t let failed applications define you. If anything, it’s important to realise that most grad schemes are consultancy or finance focussed – I was very hard pressed to find any in media or communications.
I came out of my undergraduate degree pleased with a 2:1, but after just missing out on my dream job in communications with Fulham FC I decided to pursue a masters in Broadcast & Digital Journalism. I chose this based on the modules and the idea that having qualified digital skills and experience as well as being able to work on projects would put me in a strong position to get a job afterwards. It came as a surprise to my course leaders when I said I didn’t want to become a journalist, but as said already, it’s important to remember that a line on your CV isn’t massively important compared to applying it and showing why it makes you a strong candidate. I was able to show my video project on Norwich City or radio piece on public affairs in interviews, for example, and that’s what caught attention rather than the fact that I had a masters.
After finishing my masters, I had a range of interviews and eventually chose to join a sports PR agency as an Account Executive. As well as highlighting my skills mentioned above and relevant work experience, one aspect they were impressed with was my extra-curricular work. While I’ve said that work experience and internships are more important, if you’re able to spin your extra-curricular work in a positive and engaging way this can come across rather impressive. If anything I’ve been told that mentioning my experience as a football referee is shows that I’m keen on showing a unique side to my personality.
In particular, I drew upon my experience in societies in different ways. As History Society President, I was able to show examples of being a project lead and working with budgets, for example the Spring Ball, and with my time spent with Livewire I was able to show my confidence of talking on air. These may not seem like eye-catching points to start off with, but when the former was compared to managing and marketing events in the professional environment and the latter was used to show confidence on the spot and using insights to engage audiences, all of a sudden activities done in my spare time had me impressing employers.
After impressing in that role I have now become Marketing Officer at East London Sport. I never thought I would go from a History BA to working in marketing, but I feel it shows that regardless of what route you take in education, you can shape your future with how you spend your time. Don’t get too bogged down by the ‘norms’ for your degree if that’s something you don’t fancy and take advice on how to make yourself a well-rounded character. A big tip I would offer is making a note of all your achievements/projects completed in the professional environment. It will make interview preparation a lot easier and if anything will remind you of your worth and maybe areas to improve!