ABE's new marketing assistant, Michelle Mejia, talks about how she fell into marketing through a mixture of luck, being in the right place at the right time and being able to communicate her experiences and what she could offer ABE to gain the right job for her.
Change must come from within
"I took a chance. I spent a year in Malaysia and decided on a whim to fly back to London. Upon my return, I spent two weeks inside acclimatising to the 30 degree difference in temperature. It was only six degrees outside and my body had to adjust, so I spent these two weeks sending my CV to various recruiters. I like to keep busy and on the move, so I undertook a project to declutter the house whilst keeping warm and looking for employment. I needed a new start. Next step was to get out there and find a job.
One of the best things I did to get my life moving was to find an open day at a recruitment agency. I was offered roles including team assistant, administrator and receptionist lasting a day through to a week. One of the reasons for temping was to get myself into the routine of work, to see what was out there, to figure it out and have the freedom to choose where to work.
I was offered a temporary assignment at ABE working on reception. Entering this organisation from the bottom, being able to wear lots of hats meant that I got to learn more about the business and who’s who. I found myself drawn to marketing because I wanted to help get the message out for the brand. It’s for a good cause that supports learning and development and I could use my experience which spans a broad range of sectors.
My new role at ABE as a marketing assistant entails supporting the marketing team with a focus on digital marketing, ensuring that social media channels are vibrant, informed, well populated and utilised. I also monitor and schedule posts on Hootsuite and Twitter and write blogs for relevant themes, as well as creating infographics. Currently I am overseeing the staff, directors and area managers’ photographs to go on the new website. Each day is varied, and it means being open to new experiences and learning as you go along.
Experiences are what define you
Various experiences that have stood me in good stead to bring forward into this present role are:
Research – research is knowledge. Knowledge is power. It is important to learn new things such as people, events and topics. Researching your competitors, knowing who they are, what they like, who they follow gives you great insight. It’s important to get to know new staff so you know who does what. Even something like finding a decorator can be an opportunity to find a good service at the best price. Research is fundamental to the lifeline of the business if you want to get a few steps ahead and make informed decisions both in your professional and personal life.
Analyse – this falls under the remit of research - to be able to compare and analyse data to put into charts and to interpret into infographics helps enhance your critical thinking skills. It’s important to be able to ‘feel’ someone out using your gut instincts. You need to look at the bigger picture as well as the little details and weigh up what would be the best outcome.
Create – this can range from assisting in the re-branding of a company logo, taking photos of staff for their profiles, freehand illustrations to be scanned and used to design and live trace into Photoshop for invitations. I’ve used Adobe software to create an annual InDesign publication to send out internationally. I like to visit galleries and museums; I draw and paint when I can. This keeps ideas flowing.
Volunteer – I firmly believe in giving without expectations. When you have this mind-set the universe will give you back tenfold. Teaching children art in a charity, getting my hands dirty, mentoring and giving some of my free time to them, enabled me to share my experiences and cultural aspects which helped them to develop their creativity, expression, identity, imagination and vice-versa. Empowering others helps empower you.
Read – reading has taught me how to be better at things I wished to be better at. Again this falls under the research remit, but without reading, I wouldn’t be as good a writer or have set up my own blog. I work for an education company. By bettering myself, I can help others.
Having no marketing qualification as such, the experience I’ve acquired in various jobs and sectors has proven invaluable. For example, I worked as a research coordinator, an art teacher and am now learning the tools of digital marketing in-house. These experiences will help round out my approach and working with different people who have a wealth of knowledge is an added plus.
Getting the job is the just the start of your journey
What persuaded me to join ABE was having the option to study and have a ‘second chance’ to start again. ABE is going through changes; no two days are the same. It is also great to be involved in something that enables you to unleash and manifest your creativity and talents – even ones you didn’t know you had!
Some of the courses I am thinking of taking are Business Management or Entrepreneurship and Business Start-up. As I have creative experience, it would be good to learn the practical side to broaden my skill sets. Even though my work history is not from a marketing background, my perseverance, determination and experience of various backgrounds and cultures has given me the ability to utilise my skillsets into something worth monetising for the company’s benefit and my own, both personally and professionally.
Now I plan to use the qualifications ABE offer to help me take my career to the next level."