Graduate Stories: Lea Horn, Marketing Specialist
Next up in our graduate stories series, we've got a story with a European edge. German native, Lea Horn, boasts a colourful educational background which has seen her study at Edinburgh Napier University, IPAG Business School, IDM London and Suffolk University, as well as Justus Liebig University Giessen back home in Germany. Having undertaken work experience in content management, events and fundraising, editing and project management, Lea now works as a marketing specialist for a professional services company where she looks after all corporate communications and operational marketing activities. We are very lucky to have stolen some of Lea's time to find out about her journey into marketing and how it can inspire YOU to land your dream graduate marketing job:
How did you get into marketing in the first place?
I have a background in linguistic and cultural studies and started out as a copywriter. I love writing and juggling around with words, but I was looking for a more strategic and holistic approach to how I use words, which initially got me into marketing. Thus, it really wasn’t a straightforward path into marketing, but more of a following of what interests me most.
Did your university degree/experience help you when it came to your first marketing job?
After my short stint in copywriting, I completed a master’s degree in international marketing, which definitely helped me get a foot in the door. Not only did it reassure me of the qualifications I’ve acquired in my degree, it also significantly strengthened my credibility in interviews.
How did you identify which area of marketing you wanted to get into?
I honestly feel like I still haven’t seen every aspect of marketing. I certainly know what I like doing the most; content and performance marketing. However, given that it’s such a fast-paced industry and new trends and methods keep coming up, there are so many areas to explore. And ‘exploring’ is the key word here in my opinion. Explore the different areas yourself, try out different work environments – that’s the only way you can find out what areas of marketing you like working in.
Is there anything you’d have done differently starting out in your career?
I finished my studies and started my first job a week later. I didn’t really take time out to figure out where I wanted to go in my career. I basically just jumped straight into it. Luckily, it worked out, but allowing myself a bit of downtime to set more specific goals would be something that I’d do differently today.
What advice do you have for graduates looking to get into marketing?
Network and speak with people in the industry. I’ve done that a lot during my studies with volunteering, interning, completing a marketing summer school and attending talks and events. You get a lot of very valuable first-hand insights into the industry and you never know who you might meet who could help you get your first marketing job.
What advice would you give graduates who are currently searching for their first marketing job?
Don’t just go after job titles or big brands, make sure to also have a look at the team and company culture you’ll be working in. We spend so much time in the office – it might as well be fun! Plus, you learn a lot more and get a lot more creative freedom in a collaborative environment compared to one which sticks to hierarchical structures.
If you could give your post-graduate-self any piece of advice, what would it be knowing what you know now about the industry?
They’re all just cooking with water! So, don’t worry if you don’t get the hang of that one tool or strategy yet. It’s a constant learning process.
Lea's experience really rings true of someone who has contributed to marketing in a variety of organisations. As a graduate, you don't often think about the culture of an organisation and it's easy to get blinded by 'the brand,' but taking time to consider your options could open doors that you didn't know existed. We've got plenty more graduate stories where this one came from so check them out. There is nothing more inspiring when you're looking for your first marketing job than reading about how others before you have managed it. It's also interesting for those already in a role to discover the different routes others have taken into marketing.