Ultimately, it is a career journey and not just a singular destination.
More about Takudzwa
Tkay graduated Nottingham Trent University after studying for her Undergraduate in Psychology. Tkay spoke to us about her time at NTU and how the skills she gained from her studies, helped her follow her passion and change paths into digital marketing.
Why did you choose to study at NTU?
One of the reasons I chose to study at NTU was because the course offered a placement year for Psychology. I also liked the location, with Nottingham being central it meant travelling to see friends at other universities would have been easier. When I visited, NTU felt like home as everyone around was friendly and welcoming, so I could see myself completing my studies and working there in the future. I also appreciated the diversity of NTU, which is something very important to me.
What are some of your favourite NTU memories and what did you learn?
During my course, research projects were most helpful. They taught me a great deal of independence and managing projects. It’s helped me with how I work now, as my current role requires me to take initiative and manage my own workload. Also, completing a degree in psychology taught me the importance of data and how much we can learn about human behaviour from it, this is particularly useful as Digital Marketing uses data to inform a lot of decision making.
My placement year gave me experience within the mental health industry and although it’s not what I’m currently doing, it gave me a lot of skills that I still use today. For example, it gave me an understanding of how the work I do fits into the bigger picture and overall goals of the business. I also took part in extracurricular activities such as the Digital Marketing Academy, the Grads4Nottm Challenge and completed the Chartered Institute of Marketing Fundamentals of Digital Marketing (Level 3) as a graduate. The employability team was also a great help throughout, I used services that helped with my CV and cover letters to ensure that I highlighted the key skills for where I wanted to be.
Outside of lectures, I took free courses online which gave me the background knowledge I needed to be able to begin a career in Digital Marketing.
What is it like to work on the Graduate Scheme for Digital Marketing at Dunelm?
Usually, I’ll start my day by looking through any emails and setting out my tasks for the day. I’ll then attend any team meetings; these may be for my immediate smaller team or for my larger department team to get any updates. I’ll then continue with any tasks I must do; currently for the Paid Social team. When I’m in the office there’s also more opportunity for me to network with other colleagues. With the different workspaces, I can also move around depending on the task I’m doing which is nice.
What attracted you to this field of work? Was this always the goal?
Digital marketing was an interest of mine alongside my hobbies, I was into social media, blogging and e-commerce. Digital marketing wasn’t always the goal for me, initially I wanted to go into clinical psychology. I changed my career path after my placement year. After having had a feel of the clinical psychology route, I realised that it wasn’t for me. I then did research, courses and took part in extracurricular activities such as the Digital Marketing Academy offered by NTU, to build my experience.
What have been some of your achievements and challenges that have you faced?
One of the biggest challenges I had was the first rejection I had for a graduate role I really wanted. I remember, I worked so hard during the assessment centre stage and the interview stage and felt so disappointed when I didn’t get the role. Looking back now, I think about how maybe I wasn’t prepared to take on the role at the time and how the time between then and getting my current role gave me the opportunity to grow. Rejections are always hard, but I learned that it’s just an opportunity for you to learn and grow so you can find a role that’s best suited to you.
A highlight for me was the first time I was offered a paying role within digital marketing. I had completed my unpaid-internship and they asked me to stay a few weeks to manage a few clients’ social media pages on contract. I was so excited about this, it reassured me that I could do this as a career, and I have valuable talents. A second highlight was when I was in a meeting for my current role, I had a moment where it really sunk in that I was working in my chosen career and all the work I had done to get to this point had paid off. It was a huge boost to my confidence moving forward.
What are your plans for the future?
As part of the graduate scheme, I have the opportunity to do multiple rotations and choose the area of the business I would like to go into. I plan on trying areas that I’ve never experienced before such as Digital Trade. I feel that going into other areas will give me skills that will be beneficial in my long-term digital marketing career. Also, I look forward to trying something new, something that I may not have been able to do if it wasn’t for the graduate scheme.
If you had a time machine, what would you go back and tell yourself at Uni?
I would tell myself that a career journey is not as linear as I would like to imagine and that’s okay. With a career journey, you’ll experience challenges but it’s about how you come back from them and what you do with those experiences. For example, you may have to do an unpaid internship, or you may have to work in a role that isn’t directly linked to where you want to be in your career but all of those experiences are valuable.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to share with our alumni community?
As a university student, there’s this pressure that you need to know what you want to do with your career. Some people figure it out earlier than others, but what’s important is that you figure it out in your own time. Once you do figure out what it is you want to do, be intentional about the opportunities you take moving forward, think about the skills you can learn that will be helpful towards your career. Ultimately, it is a career journey and not just a singular destination.
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