Case study

Marketing assistant — Isobel Coleman

While Isobel's job as a marketing assistant isn't directly related to her degree the skills and experience from this role will be invaluable in a design role in the future

How did you get your job?

I was applying for lots of jobs and most weren't even replying back. Then I spoke to my lecturer who knew of someone who was hiring. I persuaded him to interview me and then kept going back again to prove how much I wanted the job. My persistence worked.

I now work for Nomique Seating Ltd, a British designer and manufacturer of seating and furniture for the contract market.

Stick with it whatever is thrown your way, gain experience and eventually you'll get where you want to be

How relevant is your degree to your job?

Although I've not gone into a junior interior design position, I am using a lot of the software and skills from my degree.

I think the main thing to remember is that you won't necessarily walk into your perfect job after university or at least not the job you expect. It's not a bad thing to be doing something different because of the experience you get.

What are your main work activities?

Anything from managing social media pages and writing blog posts, to creating customer specific literature.

I am also involved in planning customer specific space, website design and company branding, plus organising case studies, photography shoots and student competitions.

This involves lots of meetings, emails and phone calls so communication is a very big part of my job.

How do you use your degree in your job?

I use a lot of Photoshop and AutoCAD and I've just persuaded the MD to purchase Sketch Up Pro so I can use it for customer space planning.

I'm also using the skills I learned in presenting as I now spend at least a day a week presenting my ideas. My degree also helped me to manage my stress levels and work towards deadlines.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The chance to do lots of different things, use all my skills and increase my industry knowledge. I never expected to be allowed to do this much or have such an equal footing with my colleagues in such a short space of time and it's fantastic.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

The literature that I produce because it involves lots of different people and it can be difficult to keep everyone happy. Also, as I don't come from a graphic design background I'm definitely learning on the job.

The other challenging aspect is the phone calls I make about negotiating quotations on products we're buying or setting up case studies of recent projects. These phone calls are very different to what I'm used to but I feel I'm catching up fast.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

Given the people I am meeting now, realistically I see myself in a mid-weight design role in an interior office fit-out company. My dream would be to work in the hospitality industry as my love for interiors stems from hotels, restaurants and exciting public places.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Your dissertation is important. Mine helped me get my job as I used it to show my interest in marketing.

Also learn as many skills as you can at university and take any extra classes offered.

Finally you can't expect your dream job from day one. Stick with it whatever is thrown your way, gain experience and eventually you'll get where you want to be.