Curricula and Co’s blogger and social media person, Rebekah, talks about why choosing a Masters course was the best decision to move her forward in her pursuit of a more fulfilling career path…
I have worked for Curricula and Co part time since the summer before I started my English degree. It’s been four years since I graduated, and since then, I have worked in a lot of different administration and recruitment jobs alongside the content creation I do.
This September, I started to study Public Relations and Digital Communications, because I made the decision just before the pandemic kicked in that I was now ready to start pursuing a full time career in content marketing and communications.
When I left university, I didn’t know what I wanted, other than that I wanted to have a job, and to stand on my own two feet. So, I started gaining experience from the ground up, starting in retail, and moving up to call centre recruitment, before going into administrative roles in an office. It was a tougher process than I expected, but I got what I wanted - a solid base of office experience. I never really planned to move around jobs as much as I did, but I was pleasantly surprised at how this turned out to be an advantage. It really toughened me up, and gave me lots of interview practice, to the point where I can walk into any interview and not be a bundle of nerves.
However, there was always an underlying sense of dissatisfaction and frustration with that lifestyle. it was that feeling of being trapped in a Groundhog Day of monotony. I somehow knew I wanted more, and I tried to aspire to being promoted and given more responsibility, but it never really happened. I had the hunger and the drive to succeed, but no idea where to direct it.
As I mentioned before, by the end of 2019, I had experienced a series of big disappointments in my life that shook me to my core, and forced me to rethink everything, especially my professional life. I realised had had enough of working life being so soulless. I wanted a working life that made me feel alive and allowed me to grow and expand in ways that were suitable for the kind of person I am.
So I asked myself what tasks and activities throughout my student and working life I enjoyed the most, and get the best feedback from? And this is what I discovered: It was whenever I was creating. Writing. Blogging. Planning social content. Helping other people succeed. Collaborating. Swapping ideas. Building stuff that had meaning and aligned with my personal values. Basically, everything I do for Curricula and Co, and the skills that my English degree taught me.
What I needed to do was research into what career paths were available for those skills and activities, figure out what skills I needed to build up more, and how to go about improving those skills. I found out that content marketing and digital communications is a sector that is booming right now, and set to do so even more in the future, thanks to the internet, and mobile technology. I was already good at writing blogs and social media posts, but what I needed to do was diversity for an industry that is constantly evolving and changing. I needed to learn more about the technical side of the creative industries, such as SEO, analytics, video production, images, and commercial strategy, as well as honing and refining the skills I already had. In future, I would also start learning the basics of graphic design and website development.
This sounds like a lot of work to just start from scratch by myself, so I started to research Masters courses in marketing and communications in Manchester. I settled on the University of Salford, which offered a year long full time MA programme taught at the Media city Campus, in Public Relations and Digital Communications. This seemed like the best option for me, as it was geared towards equipping people with the skills needed to transition straight into work at the end of it. If I did this course, I would come out with a strong portfolio of creative work that I could present to any employer. The curriculum included work placements, and training on SEO, planning campaigns, video production, and lots more. The assessment methods were mostly practical, and it was taught by industry professionals with loads of links to the industry.
I made a very quick decision to apply to start in September 2020. The plan would be to work full time in admin before starting uni, so I could save up for living costs. However, lockdown started just as my current temporary job was coming to an end. From the end of March to September, I was out of work, but this was a rest that was much needed. I had space to think and to read, and try new things like learning the guitar.
As I write this, I am getting ready to start my second trimester, and recently submitted my first creative portfolio-based project. In the next blog post, I will talk about how the experience has been so far, and where I want to take my new skills after I graduate.