Sunday, 26 March 2017

How to launch a career in marketing when you don't have a marketing degree

Since entering the blogging world I've noticed that some of us have something in common - an awful lot of bloggers I follow are working in or hoping to work in marketing. I only settled on marketing as my chosen field during my final year of university, and have managed to carve out a career for myself armed with an English Literature degree and buckets of enthusiasm. But when so many employers are on the hunt for candidates with pure marketing degrees and absurdly expensive certifications (I'm looking at you Certified Institute of Marketing), how can you make yourself stand out?

Know what you don't know

The hardest thing to do is sell yourself - I can confidently produce marketing material for just about anything, but when it comes to talking all things 'me' it gets difficult. That's why it's important to find the gaps and weaknesses in your CV before somebody else does and invest some time in filling those holes, adding as much value as you can to your experience and qualifications so far. Whatever you do, don't claim you have extensive knowledge of something if you don't. Marketing is a very broad field and most interviewers will expect you to have specialisms and areas you may not have as much experience of.

Apply your skills

Some of the qualifications best suited to marketing aren't even taught in the business faculty. My degree in English Lit gave me heaps of transferable skills, from the obvious ones like a high standard of written communication and the ability to hit multiple deadlines, to less obvious ones like working in groups and conducting in-depth research. I've met marketers with communications degrees, multimedia degrees, graphic design qualifications, and no higher education at all - the point is they've all learned a range of skills that fit into marketing really well, and are able to make those connections.

Use free resources to learn more

There are organisations out there that will charge you thousands for an additional marketing qualification, but with the internet now a huge 'how to' resource they're actually becoming less common. There are a large number of free courses and articles out there that you can use to help educate yourself further on different aspects of marketing, from social media to SEO, Google Analytics and more. I've completed a few of them myself over the years, and some are more widely known and highly regarded than others. A good set of short online courses to start with could include:

Get a related hobby

If you've got yourself a blog or are always on your own social media accounts, then you've already got some real-life experience of some aspects of marketing. Growing a blog takes a lot of work and its success ultimately relies on how you market it, so treat it like you would a business and you're bound to have learned more than you think. 

You can also volunteer yourself as a marketer for community events, for example I had my first experience of creating and executing a marketing strategy for a charity day at my university, and also got the chance to help market a Winter Fair in my city. Employers are generally quite impressed if you're enthusiastic enough about the field to do something similar in your own free time - your passion will shine through. Just don't be surprised if after you mention it they go and have a little snoop!

So there you have it - you're ready to take your first steps into the world of marketing, hopefully feeling super prepared and raring to go!

This post is something a little different to my normal subject matter, but I'm working hard to make this space both more personal and above all useful to you lovely readers! If you've found my story and suggestions helpful, or have some other tips you'd like to give, please let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

4 reasons to embrace the digital detox

If you're anything like me, when you're finally conscious enough to to turn off the snooze on your morning alarm, you'll spy a little red notification symbol on one of your apps and fall down a social media black hole. You scroll through reams of tweets and Instagram photos, and before you know it it's twenty minutes later and you're gonna be late for work. It's a struggle not to check the likes and on your latest posts as you go about your day, and come evening you fall into a comatose state on the sofa watching cat videos and makeup tutorials on YouTube. If this is the story for you most days, it might be time for a digital detox.

The term itself sounds a bit faddy, and it's a trend that seems to have been created by the very influencers who depend on our technology addiction to make a living, so I have to admit I was a sceptic at first. But I've been paying more and more attention to just how much time I spend consuming digital media, and it's worrying. I've tried to keep count of how many times I check my phone throughout the day and I can't. I have to put my phone and iPad in another room or zip them away in my handbag in order to resist the compulsion to use them. And that just doesn't seem healthy.

So for me, a digital detox is all about breaking these habits and curbing my phone/social media addiction. The anxiety I feel after a day of not checking on the Snapchat stories of those I follow closely just seems wrong. Like many, I use my devices as a form of escapism. Tired? Have a scroll. Bored? Watch a video. Stressed? Read a Buzzfeed article or two. It helps me avoid dealing with the day-to-day crap I'd rather not deal with, but it sucks the life out of me too.

The more I use social media the more addicted I become, but it also makes me jealous of others, negative about my own life not living up to the glamour of others, and sucks up a hell of a lot of my time. That's why I'm ready to embrace the digital detox. The idea is pretty much what it says on the tin. You switch of your notifications (or just turn your devices off altogether), abandon your emails and take a set period of time away from all the online crap in your life.

It's pretty sad that so many of us feel the need to do this, but I'm all for a bit of a change in the digital department having grown a bit too attached to my tech over the last couple of years. How many of us have found it hard to put our phones away for a family meal or seen people walking into things because they can't put their phones down?

Here's why I think the digital detox is a great concept.

You can be alone with your thoughts

Quiet time is good for us, yet we've grown so uncomfortable with it! When my brain isn't being bombarded with white noise and pinging sounds, I can actually get an accurate gauge of what's going on inside my head and be in the moment a little bit more.

You can read actual paper

Given that I've got a literature degree you'd think I'd always have my nose in a book, but since graduating my reading material is more 140 characters than 50 chapters. It's a huge shame that so many of us are in this habit, so if I'm taking time away from electronic screens I'll definitely be indulging in a spot of reading, whether it's with a new book or an actual magazine *gasps*. It's better for your sleep too!

Less time scrolling, more time doing

It goes without saying that if you added up the time you spend each day on your phone over the course of a year the result would be shocking, but think of all the things you can do instead! You could read, learn a crafty skill like calligraphy or jewellery making, play board games with family or head to the pub with friends. And you'll probably enjoy the experience a whole lot more if you're fully present rather than thinking about checking Facebook.

Focus on real interactions

That leads nicely on to my final point. I can't tell you the amount of times I've been in a social situation and suddenly realised absolutely everyone is on their phones. Wouldn't it have been cheaper to just sit at home doing this? What was the point in spending time together? I also regularly get told off for scrolling by the boyfriend when I'm supposed to be watching a film or chilling out with him. If we all made more of an effort to put our devices away we'd remember that real human interaction is far better than commenting on someones Instagram or posting a Snap.

Have you thought about doing a digital detox? Do you think they're necessary?


Sunday, 19 March 2017

Current favourites 19.03.17

I feel like it's been months since I shared a favourites post on my blog, so what better way to spend my Sunday than telling you about the stuff that I'm loving at the moment. It's worth noting before I get into this post that not everything here is new! I've dialled back my spending a lot lately and am only investing in items I really love (read more about my savings mission here). That means finding new ways to enjoy/wear the stuff I already own and I'm actually loving it!

First up are a pair of gym leggings that I find myself struggling to want to take off for the shower. They're from FandF Clothing at Tesco, and I've found the fit to be far superior to my other workout leggings from brands like Nike and USA Pro. The material is so incredibly soft, the waist is high and flattering and doesn't slip down during exercise, and the mesh panels make them a little bit trendier than plain old black. They're so comfortable I'm considering going back for an identical pair to wear at home on lazy days. Not bad for £14.00!

While we're on the subject of Tesco, I picked up a gorgeous succulent plant while doing my weekly shop today. I love the copper and grey pot and am getting a bit addicted to adding greenery to our home. I also snapped up a beautiful Sea Salt and Lavender reed diffuser for a few quid in Primark last week - the scent is sooo relaxing.

I've also been having a love affair with a couple of jewellery pieces I got back at Christmas. My grey Olivia Burton watch is on my wrist every single day with its ornate midi-dial, as well as this beautiful silver ring from Regal Rose.

Makeup-wise I've been keeping it pretty simple lately (I blame early mornings!), but I've been bringing my MAC Retro lipstick into the mix to try and make myself look a bit more 'done' and put together.

Is there anything you've been loving lately? 


Saturday, 11 March 2017

Happy things 11.03.17

I've been feeling pretty chipper lately despite some ups and downs. Here's a few things that have given me a boost this week.


It's almost here! It's not dark when I leave for work anymore, it's so much warmer today and the flat is full of tulips. Just a taste of better weather has already lifted my mood. I'm dreading the hayfever but it's a small price to pay for the feeling of sun on my skin!


I hate dark winter mornings and really struggle to get out of bed, but the summer approaching means waking up naturally with the sun and having a little extra time to have a cuppa and just 'be' instead of rushing around like a headless chicken. It also makes it that little bit easier to get to the gym or get on my yoga mat before work instead of after.

French Toast

That leads me on nicely to breakfast. I'd never made french toast at home before until I realised just how easy it is. I've been using this recipe which takes no time at all and is perfect every time! You can eat yours with fruit or bacon if you like, but I prefer to keep it simple with a dusting of icing sugar.

Bullet journals 

I debated getting one for a while but I've finally jumped on the bullet journal bandwagon and I'm now a big fan. All it takes is an afternoon spent laying it out and indexing the pages and you're good to go. It's creative and can be tailored to include exactly what I need instead of me buying an expensive pre-laid out diary and not using all the sections. Plus there are loads of YouTube videos dedicated to journalling if you need a little inspiration. I loved Lily Pebbles' video about hers.

What's been making you happy lately?

© kelly anne rist

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