Am I able to give career advice? I’m only 22 after all.

I’ve been helping out at my old university – King’s College London – with their careers and employability office. A couple weeks ago, I went in to speak to current undergraduate and masters students at a career festival for the Film Studies program. After graduating in July, I now have 7 months of experience through my full-time job in a media agency. Walking down the all-too-familiar corridors created an interesting sensation:

Here I was in the exact same location and it’s very clear that it’s me who has changed and not the environment. In fact, the architecture, smell, feel, and people looked exactly the same as last year (when I was attending this career fair as a hopeful final year student). But this time, there was a different confident stride in my steps, not one of getting a first, but one of having job security figured out.

Most of the students were there looking for a way into the film industry. In that respect, I was their counter example of someone who veered away from the ‘artistic’ satisfaction of the creative arts for the more corporate world of marketing and advertising. I think speaking to the students was just as informative for me as it was for them. Nevertheless, I stood tall and explained my role and plans for the future in the business world.

Two weeks after the speaking event, the careers office asked me to write a blog post for them. And it finally came out, so I thought I’d share it (which was the point of my whole rant above). Enjoy:

http://blogs.thecareersgroup.co.uk/humanities/a-case-study-in-digital-advertising/

It offers some insights and advice to university students trying to figure out what they want to do after graduating by drawing on my own experiences of job hunting/soul searching.

I obviously still have so much to learn about the world of work: what skills are most employable, how to change jobs, how to progress, how to balance work/life, etc. However, I still feel that I can offer advice and help to university students, especially because the experience of transitioning lifestyles is still so fresh in my memories. It’s important for people to stay in touch with university students as they progress in their careers because, essentially, those students are the future of the work force. Their desires, mentality, and capabilities are a direct reflection of generational changes, economic situations, and cultural values. And it’s very hard to know what the future holds if you don’t understand the people that will be working it because let’s be honest, most business are people-led first and foremost. So an understanding of the younger work generation is ALWAYS key to any company that wants to grow.

Full-Time Working Gal … in a Media Agency.

Ahhh… the bliss of Sunday! After my first two weeks of work, I have re-found my love of weekend relaxation. DSCN4644

I’m currently employed by Starcom MediaVest Group – a media agency – as a graduate media trainee in their London office. The program is a 13 week rotation scheme in order to gain exposure to different aspects of the business! The basis of media agencies, although difficult to explain at times, is their position between brands and consumers. The agency acts as the liaison between their clients [ ex. CineWorld ] and media owners [ex. The Guardian ]. With the data-driven research and expert knowledge, media agencies solve business problems through marketing campaigns. 

As a media planner…. here are some of the typical questions you would have to ask/answer:

1. From all the data on consumer behaviours, what is the one simple, meaningful insight into your target audience?

2. How can you use different media channels [press, radio, TV, outdoor, digital…] to create one unified message for the consumer? What do you want your brand experience to be? 

3. How well is your campaign performing? Can you optimise the budget to maximise the return on investment?

4. How are you going to get the right message in front of the right people at the right time? 

Starcom-MediaVest

Thus far, media as a career path has only been positive! The industry is extremely young [ the average employee age is around 29 ] and very fast-paced [ with digital technology, the rate of change is faster than ever ]. The work is intellectually stimulating and heavily relies on communication and networking skills within the small world of brand managers and media owners. Despite being a niche speciality, there is plenty of opportunities for travel and career mobility. As an arts and humanities graduate, I was lost in the sea of Google search results which suggested I would never find a job. But they were wrong. I love my job. [ SMG has ‘hot desking’, running clubs during lunch, chalkboard walls, free cappuccinos, and hilarious brainstorming sessions.] At the moment, it’s not very well-paid, but hey, you gotta start somewhere! And in 5 years time, I’ll have the expertise, the salary, and the happiness. How about that? 

“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.”

-Earl Nightingale

What makes you happy?

What makes you happy?

I am a coffee shop enthusiast who collects loyalty cards like lucky pennies. Coffee shops are my third home. I love everything about them: the smell of black coffee, the sound of foaming milk, and the short bursts of wind that brush against my skin when the door opens. Just thinking about the wooden tables and skinny soy lattes can bring all my senses to life. I’m one of that person who owns four ‘Coffee Shops of London’ books, knows the barista’s name and often goes ‘exploring’ for new hidden gems. It may not be a prestigious hobby, but finding a new coffee shop with Wi-Fi brings me instant joy. I’ve written countless essays, had numerous important conversations, and discovered new music in coffee shops – and every trip manages to make me happy. A simple “black coffee for here” can always brighten a gloomy Saturday afternoon.

I also love to look around the population of each coffee shop: old friends with foreign accents that are catching-up, awkward first dates, students in-between lectures trying to stay awake after a night out, a business man with the daily newspaper and his iPad, an old woman with a Sudoku puzzle, and the struggling artist with a notebook filled with short stories and drawings of his half-empty cappuccino. For all you know, the person sitting near to you could be the next J.K. Rowling. Nevertheless you still avert your gaze after making accident eye contact. Coffee shops are the hubs or intellects, stressers, and artists alike. There’s no better place to people watch…

Being in your 20s.

Being in your 20s.

Yes, there’s a lot of articles on Thought Catalogue about being 20. Most of those articles are lists including titles such as “23 things to do before you get married at 23.” Truth is, everyone is panicking. Everyone is unsure. But everyone will look back at this time as some of the best years of their life, so…

Calm Down and Enjoy. You’re a work in progress. A college degree is not a completion certificate.

White Text on a Black Background.

White Text on a Black Background.

David Ogilvy HATES white text on a black background. I’m being serious… He states this fact at least 5 times in his book Ogilvy on Advertising. Statistics show that inverse text reduces readership. But I’m not trying to sell you anything, so hopefully this won’t upset the advertising gods out there. Please prove the legendary Ad Man wrong and read this quote because its content is well-written. 

It’s fun to break the rules sometimes, no?