29 April 2021

Jessica Barrett

Jess graduated from UEA in 2020 with a 2.1 in English Literature, she is now working as a Content Assistant at a Property Consultancy. 

My journey from a foundation year to being a Content Assistant

I began my time at university as a foundation year student. My unique start meant I constantly felt like I needed to prove myself and my abilities throughout my time at UEA. I began looking for work experience mid-way through that year, so I could show others I had what it took to succeed after I graduated. I secured a paid role as a Marketing Intern for 12 weeks that summer. I had applied for the role speculatively, I believe expressing interest to a company in this way shows how enthusiastic you are about learning and working in your chosen field.   

After returning to the company for a second internship before the final year of my degree, I left feeling confident. Over that summer I had shown that I had a strong work ethic and that I was proactive and diligent. Demonstrating your skillset is so important, particularly now as the jobs market is so fierce. That December, I was offered a job and signed my contract to begin working in June 2020.   

Everything about my career so far had been smooth sailing, but then the pandemic hit and I couldn’t begin working. To show I was resilient and hard-working, I enrolled on every relevant career course I could find. Completing short courses that only took a few hours, to a 40 hour intense digital marketing course, to short internships for companies such as KPMG. I also tried my hand at freelancing, so I wrote a few blogs and did some copywriting to keep busy and earn some money. Although I may have annoyed some of my LinkedIn connections by regularly publishing posts with my course certificates, work experience progress, and blog posts, I believe my display of determination showed the LinkedIn community that I had the skills needed to succeed as a new graduate.   

After a few months delay, I began working as a Content Assistant in November. My day-to-day role is a mix of marketing and PR; I write a mix of blogs, articles, and content to go up on our new website when it launches. I’ve always loved writing and this role allows me to write in a variety of forms and styles. Seeing my work published on our website and occasionally in magazines and newspapers fills me with pride. I love having a creative role and working with words every day.   

Looking back on my time as a student, I really appreciate all the opportunities that were available to help me strengthen my skill set. From completing the UEA Award, to being a School Convenor, and writing and editing UEA’s student newspaper - I have developed so many qualities that make me an attractive employee. The job market is cut throat, and it’s naive to think a well-paying job you like will just fall into your lap once you graduate. I’m a firm believer that if you work hard, you will be rewarded. So, make sure you seek out opportunities to develop skills and gain some experience - it really is invaluable. 

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