Lily: "Cows' bums didn't do it for me"

"So, you're applying to join our marketing department Lily? Could you tell us how you came to be here today and what led you into this field?"

They clearly didn't want to know that I'd caught the number 15 bus that morning, nor that I'd followed the map and directions kindly provided.

I thought I'd use this question, asked at a recent interview, to help me set the scene for my blog posts and then bring you up to date with what's happening now.

Here goes …

From a very young age, maybe 4 or 5, I wanted to become a vet… or a jockey. I grew up surrounded by family animals: dogs; horses; rabbits; chickens - you name it. Plus, I’m quite small; I could easily have given Frankie Dettori a run for his money. It seemed only natural that I’d end up in a career involving animals and that was Plan A and Plan B sorted.

Sooooo, here I am in marketing!

I loved animals ... but not THAT much!

“Well if you want to spend all day with your arm up a cows bum ….”. That was Plan A out of the window, thanks Dad.

In all honesty it wasn’t my dad trying to mentally scar me for life that prevented me from becoming a vet, it was the boredom oozing from my pores in my Year 10 double biology lessons that probably did it. That boredom was obviously telling me something.

Finding a path …

Despite that, I left school with a good number of GCSE’s, but with no real idea what I wanted to do with my life. I went to college, to study and to give myself time to find some inspiration, because who knows what they want to do with their lives at 16?

At 18 I still didn’t know what to do with myself.

Like many people, I signed up for a degree that I saw as generally useful - in my case International Business Management with Spanish. In my third year of this sandwich degree I went abroad to live in Spain for a year. I wanted to perfect my Spanish language skills and immerse myself in the culture.

Whilst there, I realised my actual passion - advertising and marketing - and promptly made one of the biggest and most important decisions of my life: I wanted to change my degree.

To this day I haven’t looked back.

After my year abroad I returned to university and switched my degree, moving to study advertising management. After a year of study I undertook an industrial placement at a FTSE 100 company as a brand marketing assistant AND I ADORED EVERY MINUTE!

This placement cemented what I wanted to do in my mind. It gave me the motivation to complete my degree and to pave a path for myself within the marketing and advertising industry. I went back to university with a newly felt sense of purpose and successfully graduated this summer (2014).

The search begins …

Whilst completing my dissertation, the search for a graduate job was painful, discouraging and something I will never forget. I suppose I just expected to end up employed, and didn't expect the challenge we all have to face.

I suffered the utter panic of thinking I had studied all this time, only to find that I was totally useless, helpful to no-one and unemployable. Those thoughts circled relentlessly in my head.

However, I applied myself rigorously for months on end (with a really inconvenient stint of Jury Service in the middle) and at last managed to secure a maternity contract for an international company as a marketing assistant.

… and continues …

And that brings me here - to the start of my journey, as far as this blog is concerned.

At the moment, my contract has a few months to run so I’m constantly on the look-out for permanent marketing positions to apply for. I want something permanent, from where I can build my skills and start to work my way up the career ladder, doing something I know I love.

I don’t believe in sitting back and waiting for a job to just come along, that almost never happens, so I'm trying to be as proactive as I can.

I'm generally networking, meeting with recruitment agents, preparing to attend interviews and contemplating assessment centres. I'm also continuously looking for ways to improve myself via free training, learning new software packages, digesting online articles and writing this blog, amongst other things.

Whilst I chase down that role I know has my name written on it, I'm aiming to use my time to add to my CV and give me more things to speak about in interviews.

So let's blog on …

I'll be posting regular updates on how things progress - the good bits and the bad bits - as I make my journey into the unknown. It's strange not knowing where I'll end up, I simply know that if I keep going, I'll end up somewhere that I want to be.

Thank you for reading this blog, I hope it'll be of some use to you on your own journey. If ever you have any questions you want to ask me, or you have any knowledge you'd like to share, then please do post your comments below or get in touch - it'd be great to hear from you!

Lily Johnson

Determined Job-hunter

Keywords: job search, job-hunt, career, marketing, advertising, business management