When you were a child, how did you reply to the age old question: what do you want to be when you grow up? Police Officer? Firefighter? Astronaut? Rock Star?

A lot of people are still finding their direction in life, even far into adulthood, and I know I’m still finding mine. My recent path has led me to marketing so, to help you choose your direction, here’s an insight into graduate life in the world of online marketing at a major retailer.

About me

My name’s Shaun and I’m a graduate marketing executive and I've recently started working for online home retailer VictoriaPlum.com. If you’re graduating soon, like I did, you may be thinking about the first move you want to make in your career.

I left university in 2013 and still had little to no idea in which direction to take my career, or even where I wanted to live. I ended up moving to Hull to live with my partner and worked my way up the career ladder at a large supermarket while I decided my next move.

In my spare time I would search for jobs until I found a listing for a graduate role at VictoriaPlum.com on a job vacancy website. I joined VictoriaPlum.com in 2015, but what led me to this decision?

"Think about what interests you have, and how you can apply them to a career."

The first piece of advice I would give to you for graduate life is to think about what interests you have, and how you can apply them to a career.

I personally learned about marketing through promoting my music on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Soundcloud (A music hosting website). I soon learned how many different ways there were to advertise on the internet, and eventually found my calling with VictoriaPlum.com.

My graduate recruitment experience

I found the job listing on a careers website, and after some research about the company and the role I decided to send my CV to them. Thankfully, they must've liked what they read, because, about a week later, I was invited to an assessment day.

The assessment day itself lasted about 6 hours, after which I was called back to a final interview. VictoriaPlum.com was my first experience of a successful assessment day.

The general idea of an assessment day is to take a bunch of potential candidates and assess them in skills such as confidence, presentation and communication. Typically, assessment days are dog-eat-dog and only the strongest survive, but VictoriaPlum.com managed to create a calm and nurturing atmosphere where everybody’s voice was heard. This was a great start to the day as it allowed myself and other candidates to relax and be ourselves. We had 26 candidates including myself, with people from a huge range of backgrounds and it was great to meet so many different people.

"I knew that even if I didn’t get the job I had learned some valuable skills"

We participated in several engaging tasks such as maths tests, writing the descriptions that appear under links on a google search (meta descriptions) as part of a search engine optimisation task and giving individual presentations about email design.

The highlight of the day was working as part of a team with other candidates in a group task, and it was a great opportunity to show off some of my marketing skills. We were given the task of designing a new product, rebranding the company and preparing a group presentation to conclude the day. I knew that even if I didn’t get the job I had learned some valuable skills that I could take forward to other recruitment events.

The first few weeks on the job

As it turns out, I did get the job with VictoriaPlum.com, and within a few weeks I had started working in their head office as part of the marketing team.

By the end of the first fortnight I had been shown how the business functions, got to travel to the distribution centres to learn about logistics, and more importantly, learned about all the different marketing methods the company employs. Invaluable information about advertising channels including pay per click, search engine optimisation, social media, email, display and affiliates were explained to me, and I was encouraged to find a channel that I was passionate about and continue to learn and specialise in it.

Working with a charity

I’ve been involved in planning exciting social media events through the calendar, and given the responsibility of looking after and developing various social media pages.

I have also been given the wonderful opportunity to work with our charity partner WellChild, and have begun to organise some exciting fundraising events and projects. Within my first month we’ve already organised a garden renovation for a seriously ill child.

Specialising my skills

I’ve now been given the opportunity to specialise my skills and have begun learning about search engine optimisation, blogger and press outreach and social media.

My typical work day now involves: running various social media channels, creating and assessing content for these channels, liaising with agencies, compiling statistics on search engine rankings and helping to align various marketing channels.

I’ve learned things that I never knew existed, found new interests and gained valuable insight into the world of marketing. Graduate life is certainly treating me well!

Careers at VictoriaPlum.com

If this sounds like your kind of stuff or you want to find out more about what we do, take a look at: https://victoriaplum.com/careers