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INdustry: My route into marketing - Georgia Penny

Our Account Director, Georgia Penny, is sharing how she got into the industry.

Author

Georgia Penny

Date

17.08.2023

As a lot of people in the UK do, after school I went to sixth form. I hated it.

Right away, I just knew I needed to get into the workplace, but I was very worried about doing so without a degree in a time where other paths to a career were less common. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, but I did know that I enjoyed working with creative people. So, I made the difficult decision to drop out of sixth form after my first year. Leaving with a handful of mediocre AS Level qualifications aged 17, I set out to pursue an apprenticeship.

I managed to find a wonderful apprenticeship academy in Manchester that I applied for. They set me up with lots of apprentice interviews across a huge range of sectors so that I could really explore my options. I got the first job that I interviewed for at a very small Digital Marketing agency in Manchester. I was doing SEO and content marketing which I loved, but after 18 months sadly got made redundant as the company folded. I felt like I was back at square one, with only 18 months in the industry and no degree... I was panicking!

From here, I decided to sign up with a recruitment agency who set me up with two interviews; both Media Assistant jobs in the Client Services department at PHD Media and MEC (now Wavemaker), and was again offered the job at both places despite going up against degree-educated candidates. I took the job at PHD Media at the age of 19 and have stayed in the industry ever since. I never knew about the media industry before that, and I really did just fall into this career. But after 11 years in the industry and having made friends across all walks of life, I don't believe that there's another industry or department that I am better suited to. I’ve never looked back.

I'm eternally grateful to the two businesses that took me on as a young and inexperienced candidate, and very proud that I was able to sell myself in a way that made them believe in me and pick me over people that had degrees.

When I left sixth form and took this path, I was warned by people that I would be competing with degree-educated candidates for the rest of my career. But I've worked at three other agencies since I left PHD Media (including IMA-HOME), and not one of those businesses have asked me about my education or qualifications in the hiring process as my experience and interviewing strengths have spoken for themselves. Knowing the path I’ve taken, I try to help anyone I come across that has the same education worries as I did by sharing my story in a bid to disprove the stigma around only succeeding with a traditional education to career path.

I find great comfort in this quote and have referred to it my whole career. "If you judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree, it will live the rest of its life believing it is stupid".

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