Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Marketing Professional: What I do at work and my career

I get a lot of questions about my career. Mostly from high school and college aged readers who are curious how I ended up where I am today! I figured a post about it would be helpful to those in college who are considering what they would like to do for a career.


I graduated from James Madison University in Virginia in 2012 with a BA in public relations and a minor in writing. When I started college, I went in with my major as business. I took a year of business classes and ultimately decided it was not for me. The accounting classes and econ classes were pure torture (in my opinion) and really made me rethink what I wanted to do. After talking to my adviser, I started taking classes for public relations and writing. For those in college, I recommend really taking advantage of your adviser and his advice/knowledge. Mine helped me to choose PR and I never looked back! 

Honestly, for the majority of my PR major, I always thought I'd work in traditional PR. However, by senior year, I knew I wanted something a little more digital with more social media involvement. While in college, I had tons of fun, joined a sorority (ZLAM!!!) and was very social overall. However, I really did take my education seriously and worked very hard to maintain exceptional grades. 

While grades aren't everything, I do think it helped me to land a great internship. My senior year and the summer after my senior year, I interned at an internet marketing company where I did research and wrote web copy. After interning at the marketing company, I found a wonderful job at the top luxury event planning firm in the city. I started out working as an event coordinator, but then became the social media manager and launched the company's social media and blog efforts. I loved writing about gorgeous weddings and reviewing stunning images of weddings. It was a great 'first job'. It was also a very small office of only several people, so I got a taste of what a small business was like. 

After 2 years, I started working for a full service digital ad agency, which is where I am now. So what do I do at my job?

Day-to-day, I work in the marketing department with 60+ other people, a very big contrast to my first job of only several people. I work closely with the IT department, editors and graphic designers to create content for digital platforms.

From digital display campaigns, to landing pages, to pre-roll videos, to microsites, to marketing and re-marketing; I live in a world of optimizing content for the channel and for SEO (search engine optimization). I also interpret web analytics and data and consult with campaign teams on how to improve digital campaign strategies. There's also a pretty big element of project management involved as I'm always working on many campaigns at any given time. It sounds like a ton of work (it is) but it's also good to note that it's not just me doing all of this work myself, as I work with an awesome team! 


I really like my job. Not only are the people as an entire department wonderful, but I couldn't ask for a better team or boss. They're all creative, smart, and encouraging and I'm honestly so lucky to be part of such a great group! I never dread going into work each day and I feel that my hard work is valued. I feel like I grow daily and am always presented with new knowledge and opportunities that help me to grow as a professional; and that is something that was very important to me when looking for a job. 

As much as I love my job,  I don't mean to paint a picture of perfection. It's called 'work' for a reason. I have stressful days, to-do lists that span a mile, weeks where I eat through lunch, times when I don't know the 'right' answer and so on. But for the most part, I do love what I do and the people I work with.

I think it is important to note that I am also glad to have figured out what I don't like. I'll leave that off the internet, but I think it's worth noting. You should know what you enjoy just as much as you know what you don't enjoy. This was a concept I don't think I considered before graduating but have gradually learned. Sometimes, in life, you have to do things you don't enjoy... and often, that happens at work, but I've learned that happiness at work is one of the most important things considering you're there for 40+ hours a week. This is a concept, I'm not sure I fully understood until I graduated and actually entered into the working world.

Backing up for a second, when I graduated college, I wasn't 100% sure what I wanted to do. I had a slight idea, but nothing specific. Fast forward to now and I realize I'm very into building and creating websites, optimizing content for digital platforms, search engine optimization, and social media platforms and trends. I'm really glad to report that it's truly something I am passionate about and I'm so glad I've already discovered this at such a young age. 

For a short time, I contemplated going to grad school (which is not out of the cards!). However, more school is just not something I'm interested at this very moment and I feel like I can't fully dedicate myself to that undertaking.

However, I am really interested in continually learning. If you are an undergrad, I encourage you to read your industry's publications to stay abreast of everything going on. If you are into digital media and marketing trends, like I am, here are my favorites:
Right now, I'm most focused on how to write HTML. I can read HTML and edit it, however, I can't write it from scratch. I always set attainable goals for myself, and right now, being able to write HTML is a professional goal I have set for myself. I think when you graduate from college, you think you show up at work, get paid, and that's 'it'. But I think the root of happiness is setting goals and always learning! That's half the fun, right?!

So that's how I got to where I am today! What industry do you work in? If you are in school, what is your major and where do you see yourself as a post-grad?  Have a fabulous day! 

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Terrific post! You did a great job of explaining how you transitioned from college to work and how you are continuing to evolve in your work life! Figuring out how to get from here to there is always the challenge.
Nancy

Lauren said...

You read CIO!! That's where I work! That's awesome to hear.

-Lauren
www.prettypiecesblog.com

Stephanie said...

I really enjoyed reading your perspective in this post! I'm definitely in the middle of figuring out what I *don't* like and how I can use that to my advantage. I hope to enter a similar field one day! Love the links you included :)

Kirsti Cook said...

It's such a small world! I also began as a Business Admin major and quickly switched to Media Studies with an emphasis in Public Relations and I have loved every minute of it!

Anonymous said...

This post is so great. I have been reading your blog for years and is only one of the blogs I ready anymore because you do such a good job and are so relatable

Laura Hoden said...

I loved this post!! I'm graduating this fall with a BSBA in marketing from the University of Denver. I'm starting to realize what I do and do not like, and what I could see myself doing after graduation. I would love to create content for a brand's social media, or really anything where I can utilize my creativity!

-Laura
www.stylewithaltitude1922.blogspot.com

Erin Fairchild said...

Great post! I'm in social media marketing too! I'm glad to hear you found a place you love!

Her Heartland Soul
http://herheartlandsoul.com

Melina said...

Hey Sydney,

Just a tip for learning HTML, I signed up for CodeAcademy.com online and I learned to write HTML pretty easily. It takes you through all the steps and you can quit at any time and it will save your place in the lesson. It is also 100% free! I thought I should share because I think it has a nice set up to be able to do whenever you're free! Enjoy! Hope that helps!

Lauren said...

I really, really enjoyed reading this post! I'm a senior in college and for the past two years was set on attending law school, but changed my mind two weeks ago! I'm now considering something similar, by going to grad school for marketing/PR, as I think it allows you to be much more creative!

Lauren
http://oliverstwistblog.com

A Lil' Style said...

This was a great read! I really enjoyed learning about your time in college and your transitions to your current job. I knew you went to JMU, but I had no idea you were a public relations major and a writing minor! I'm a rising senior at JMU and majoring/minoring in the same. I bet you had Hickerson at one point or another! ;) I even started out in the business school, but switched after a year and a half. I couldn't stand accounting or econ either! Again, great post and I'm so glad you shared a little about your work life.

Lauren | A Lil' Style
www.alilstyleblog.com

Helen said...

One of my favorite things about you is that you have so much going on outside of your blog! Our careers aren't too crazy different-- I worked in event planning for four years, and now I am a marketing analyst for Nordstrom. I taught myself to code for my job, so I love that you're working on writing HTML. Learning new skills is empowering!

Helen | A Cultured Pearl
www.aculturedpearl.com

Jennefer Neely said...

My advice to any young students reading here is to take advantage of any job opportunity and balance work/school. Those opportunities don't come as easily once you finish school. It's harder to get into my career of choice (business and accounting) even though I finished grad school. Good luck on learning html--I'm sure you'll learn in no time!

Jennefer Neely @ Plastic Otter

 

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