Harriet Shaw, MA (Hons) English Language & Linguistics (2015)
Sales and Marketing, Mackie’s Crisps, Taypack
My current job
Sales & Marketing Executive at Mackie’s at Taypack – looking after all Marketing for our product range of Mackie’s crisps & popcorn. This includes our digital marketing, organising trade & consumer shows, sending out press releases and producing any marketing material or graphics, amongst other things.
My career history
After graduating from the University of Edinburgh I set to look for a job in Marketing. I was pointed in the direction of ScotGrad who provide placements for graduates in Scotland with small & medium sized companies in a number of sectors. I secured a one year placement with Mackie’s at Taypack as the Assistant Brand Manager, working in a 2-person Marketing team. Once the year was up they kept me on as the Sales & Marketing Executive which is now my current role. I currently oversee the entire Marketing department and assist the Sales team when needed.
Using my degree skills and/or knowledge in my work
As my degree wasn’t in Marketing the skills I gained from my degree that I’m using currently are more general skills taken from University such as report writing, creating presentations, analysing data and working to a deadline.
However, the awareness of differences in languages and cultures that I gained through studying Linguistics has come in handy when dealing with our export markets. The differing meanings and implications of word choice and order in the English Language also come into play when writing content or considering packaging information.
My useful experience
One experience from university that I found extremely useful when interviewing for jobs was my role as Social Secretary for the University of Edinburgh Triathlon Club (EUTri). This position gave me experience in a number of things including social media, event organising and general social skills – all of which I could bring to interviews as examples. Being part of the EUTri committee also demonstrated team work and taking on extra responsibility whilst also completing my studies – and it was great fun!
I also believe my genuine interest and passion for the Scottish Food & Drink industry has helped me in my career, despite having no experience in Marketing I managed to secure my position at Mackie’s by showing an enthusiasm towards the industry and a willingness to learn.
My Career Decisions
In the last few months at University I made use of the Careers Service. This helped me realise the sort of jobs that were open to me with my PPLS degree and gave me a direction in my career search, which up until then seemed extremely overwhelming! This led me into the direction of roles in Marketing as I had some general skills from my degree that were suited to this area of work.
It wasn’t until I found ScotGrad and saw the Marketing roles that were on offer within Scottish Food & Drink companies that I realised where my area of interest lay.
One of the best decisions I made when career hunting was to take a small tablet with me when going interrailing after graduation – this allowed me to keep an eye on and apply for ScotGrad placements that came up whilst I was away. If it wasn’t for this I wouldn’t have been able to apply for the position in Mackie’s.
My advice to current students
If your interest lies in Marketing roles, my advice would be to work in an industry that interests you or that you’re passionate about – I find it so much easier to get excited about marketing something that I believe in and can feel proud to represent.
For me, I’ve also found it really beneficial starting off my career in a small, family-run business – I have found it a great way to get involved in a number of areas in the business, quickly gaining knowledge and responsibility over a short space of time.
If you’re particularly interested in Scottish Food & Drink then keep an eye out for roles on ScotGrad; there are a number of great small and medium sized companies in the Food & Drink industry who are regularly looking for graduate support and it’s a great way of getting your foot in the door. It’s also a really friendly tight knit industry and I have always found those in similar roles to myself in other companies always willing to help with any queries I have.
My general advice when making career decisions
Make use of the help available to you from your University and those around you, there are a lot of people who would be very happy to help you on your way but you just have to ask the question!