|English and Related Literature|
|English writing and performance|
|Head of Sales & Marketing|
|Advertising, marketing and PR|
|Medium-size business (50-249 employees)|
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A day in the life of a Head of Sales & Marketing in the United Kingdom
Recruiters will only glance at your CV for a few seconds - they might have hundreds to get through. Make sure you make the most relevant and impressive achievements easy to spot in both positioning and layout.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
Our company builds software which helps students overcome information overload to meet their learning potential. Our product allows students to get more from class by taking audio notes.
What do you do?
My team is responsible for generating new software sales leads through digital marketing, PR and website optimisation as well as ensuring customer loyalty through events, communities and ongoing communication. I also now run our sales team who are responsible for acquiring new customers, and upgrading existing customers to higher tier product packages.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
Throughout education, I'd always liked different aspects of different subjects. I ultimately opted for a more creative arts based degree where a lot of your work is based on subjective topics. While I enjoyed the creative side, I sometimes missed the certainty of working with numbers and facts. Marketing allows me to use both and it is very practical, you innovate, to test the results and learn from them. I can use analytical skills and be financial and commercial, and also be creative. It keeps it engaging and challenging.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
I didn't have a strong idea of what I wanted coming out of university. I was initially interested in property, so I found a role in property sales right after graduating. It ultimately wasn't something that I enjoyed for the long run, but I will say that having sales training and experience is very valuable whatever you end up doing. When I looked for my next step, marketing seemed a much better fit for my skills and interests. Over the last year, I've taken over our sales team and having an understanding of both sides of the coin has been critical in creating an effective sales and marketing machine.
Describe your most memorable day at work
I rebranded our entire group of companies including launching new websites in multiple languages, all new intranets and all new design materials. It was great to see a year of work coming to fruition and the new improved branding being used all around the world by my colleagues and seeing the huge improvements in our image and website performance.
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
It requires quite a broad understanding of different techniques and best practice is always changing, and there’s a lot of work internally selling and persuading others to adopt your strategies. You also have to find the right company to work for, in some companies, marketing is considered administration or a luxury. In others it's the biggest driving force within the business. Look for somewhere that acknowledge how important marketing is and sees it as a revenue generating function if you want to progress.
Also, while travelling is a perk of working in a global role, it can mean a lot of time away from home, a lot of jet lag and lots of packing and unpacking bags.
What’s your work environment and culture like?
Quite a fun, open environment where we make time to build connections with our colleagues both online and offline. There's a lot of time and space for creativity and a lot of investment in developing people.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
Captain of the women’s rugby team. I learned a lot about organising a team, managing culture, and understanding and utilising people’s skills where they can be most effective. Securing sponsorship and generating revenue for the club also provided good talking points in interviews.
I was also involved in some plays and performances through my degree. It's useful for developing the confidence to stand in front of an audience like I now have to do regularly when presenting.
What would you like to do next with your career?
I’ve already started taking wider responsibility for running the business outside of my own department and when I have the right skills, I’ll be looking for a leadership role like CEO or MD. Meanwhile I'll always keep developing marketing and leadership skills and am looking to build up some board experience.
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
I think the main thing I've learned, is that unlike education - being successful in the working world is not about competently completing tasks to a predictable and fair grading scale. There's lots of people who are good, reliable and do what they're told. It's about achieving results for the company you work for. It can take a little time to build the skills you need to do that really effectively - but if you invest the time into showing that you've made a measurable difference to the results the business cares about - you'll be more successful than if you just blindly follow instructions. You will need to be thoughtful and creative and try new things, and learn from any mistakes as you go.
Also, graduate recruitment was hard, repetitive work. What I know now is that recruiters and internal recruiters will only glance at your CV for a few seconds - they might have hundreds to get through. I only learned this when I started hiring people myself years later. Make sure you make the most relevant and impressive achievements easy to spot in both positioning and layout. You don’t have to give equal coverage to everything you’ve done. Highlight how you’ve got the skills they’ve asked for front and centre and provide evidence / achievements if you can.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
Marketing, software marketing, product marketing, internal communications, CV building and interview tips.
If you like the look of Christina’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Christina a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Christina to be your mentor.