How to become a marketing and communications intern: Lara's story

Meet Lara, 22, from the Scottish Highlands. She's a marketing and communications intern at Alterwaste. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

"Say yes to opportunities because you never know what you might get out of them."

How would you describe your job and what you do day-to-day?

I work at a sustainable materials development company called Alterwaste. We develop environmentally friendly materials from industrial waste by-products. At the moment, we’re working on turning eggshells into an alternative to plastic.

My job varies a lot, but everything I do is around editing and creating content for our website, blog and social media. I also attend networking events and meet interesting people in the start-up scene in Edinburgh.

My working hours are quite flexible – I’m either in the office creating and editing content, in a café discussing work with my boss or networking at events.

What skills do you use in your work?

The most important skill that I use is communication, both written and verbal. I use a variety of programmes on my computer like Photoshop, Wordpress and Mailchimp, so I need good ICT skills too.

Time management is also really important. I need to get to work on time and plan my day around university. Sometimes I work from home so I have to be organised.

How did you get into this job?

Like most people, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I left school, but I did know I wanted to be in a creative industry and work for a company that was making a positive change in the world.

I wanted to do my dissertation on the topic of sustainability and I saw a job at Alterwaste during my last year at university. I applied because I thought that the job and my studies would complement each other.

What was your educational career path?

I went through the Scottish school system, so I did eight Standard Grades, three Intermediate 2s and seven Highers. I then went on to university.

After leaving school, I really had to change my attitude to get to where I wanted to be. I wasn’t really hard working at school, but when I started university, I had to make the choice to work and study hard. By doing that I have been able to get valuable work experience.

Top tips

  • Doing an internship hasn’t been easy. It’s definitely worth it for the experience I’m gaining though

  • Say yes to opportunities, even if they seem daunting, because you never know what you might get out of them

  • It’s worth actively looking for opportunities: get LinkedIn, follow companies you’re interested in on Twitter and go and meet people!

What to expect if you want to work in marketing

The experience Lara is getting in her internship will set her up to be able to apply for full-time role in marketing, probably as a marketing executive. It’s a broad industry, not limited to the sustainability work Lara is most interested in.

Marketing executive salary: from £18,000 to £35,000 per year

Marketing executive working hours: 37 to 39 hours per week

What qualifications do you need to be a marketing executive?

Typical entry requirements: Employers for marketing apprenticeships will set their own entry requirements but key skills include: good knowledge of English language, customer service skills and the ability to think of new ideas and use your initiative. Many marketing executives enter the job with a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree. Useful subjects include: Marketing communications, Advertising, Business and Management, and Psychology. It might also be possible to study for a further qualification with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) alongside your degree through the Graduate Gateway programme.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

Find out more on the Prospects website about the role of a marketing executive.

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

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Tips and advice
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