As a student I always found the topic of careers intimidating and I didn’t know of the job opportunities that were available to me as a music student. I soon realised that I wasn’t alone, and other students from different degree backgrounds were also feeling the same. My own experiences of discovering the right career path is what led me towards creating my the ‘Working It’ podcast as I want to help students and young professionals who are in the same position as I was after leaving education.
During my time at secondary school I was certain that I would have a career in music, whether it was performing in the orchestra or teaching in a school. In September of 2014, I started my music degree at the Magee Campus in Ulster University, however the course wasn’t for me and I decided to transfer to Queen’s University Belfast. I felt so nervous about moving to a new city and whether I made the right decision to start the course all over again.
In September 2015 I restarted my first year at Queen’s University and I loved every minute of it. During my third year I completed a work placement module where speakers from different professions within the music industry spoke to us about their careers. This was the first time that I felt aware of the range of different careers that were available to musicians as they were never spoken about in secondary school. Alongside these lectures I also volunteered at a school to shadow the music teacher and gain experience. Even though I loved every minute of it, I realised I did not want to be a teacher and the panic started to set in! For so long I had my mind set on becoming an educator and I felt completely lost on what I should do after graduating.
I rushed and applied for an Arts Management Masters at Queen’s University as I felt like this was the only option available to me as a music graduate. After graduating in July 2018, I volunteered with the Millennium Forum Theatre and Conference with the marketing team to gain work experience before starting my masters. Before this experience I never would have given marketing a second thought, however I fell love and decided that digital marketing was the career for me.
I was lucky to have been offered a marketing assistant internship with the Millennium Forum and from there my marketing career began. I was aware that I did not have a degree in marketing, so in my spare time I studied a Level 4 course with the Chartered Institute of Marketing alongside other free marketing courses with the Google Digital Garage to have some qualifications behind me.
When my internship was coming to an end I applied for some marketing positions in Belfast and was offered my first job in the marketing field. Since then I have continued to up-skill with free online courses and build my marketing experience which has helped me to work towards my current position as a Commercial Executive.
What I Have Learnt
My personal experience has helped me to realise a few important points about the journeys that we will travel to reach our career goals:
1. You don’t always need a degree to work in certain careers. There are many courses both online and in colleges, alongside internships which can be used as a stepping stone towards your career.
2. Every day is a school day! It is a good idea to up-skill and keep learning with free courses or even attending networking events where you can skill share with others. This not only looks great for your portfolio, but it helps you to develop within your chosen career.
3. Don’t panic – you are not alone! There are many students and young professionals who are still confused about what they want to be when they grow up and some people may take a little longer than others to figure out their career goals.
Career decisions can sometimes be difficult and can leaving you feeling a bit confused on where to go next. This is how Working It Careers was born, as I wanted to help making career decisions better for everyone. Each week I will have guests from a variety of different careers who will discuss how they got into their jobs after leaving university and what they do on a day to day basis. If you would like to know a little bit more about the careers featured in the podcast, or if you would like to be a guest and discuss your own career journey, visit the contact page and send me a message! You can also sign up to our newsletter for a first look at our weekly episodes, alongside career tips and free templates.