Well I graduated almost a decade ago now so quite a bit has happened. Straight out of my degree I secured my first job at Fairfax Media. From there I moved into my first communications role for the NZ Transport Agency. Wanting to broaden my experience (both professionally and personally) I packed everything up and moved myself to London. In London I did everything from working in a recording studio to being a journalist for a local government magazine. My passion was in not-for-profit communications and it was in London I secured my first role in a larger charity, Diabetes UK. Returning to New Zealand I secured a role doing the national communications for Alzheimers New Zealand. Following on from that I worked for the Open Polytechnic where I discovered my appetite for digital communications and social media management. I now work as a web communications advisor for NIWA New Zealand, managing their social media channels as well as web projects and web editing work.
What’s your current job and what does it involve?
I am very lucky in my current role as I get to manage social media channels for a very interesting organisation. NIWA’s science covers from the top of the atmosphere to the bottom of the ocean, so the content I get to share on social media is always very interesting and I am constantly learning new things. I also edit and maintain content on NIWA’s various websites, which keeps me very busy.
How has your study at Wintec helped you in your career so far?
My study at Wintec was very practical. The tutors being industry professionals really gave students a realistic understanding of the real working world. The internship as part of my degree gave me great experience and I believe put me at an advantage when securing my first role. I was also able to do papers in photography, film and journalism, which gave me wider experience of media communications. The small classes meant I had a lot more support from my tutor than I believe I would have received at a traditional university.
What advice would you have for new graduates?
Any practical experience is going to be an advantage when going for that first role as you have work examples you are able to draw on in interviews. That is where the internship really helps. Practise interviewing, whether if it is just sitting in front of the mirror. Having clear examples prepared not only eases nerves but it is your interview skills more than your grades that are important when securing your first job. Apply for everything, even if you think you are not qualified enough or do not have the right experience, it is all good practise in how to tailor your cv and cover letter to the roles. Applying for jobs can be a full time job in itself but don’t lose hope. Once you have that first role secured and your foot in the door it is all uphill from there. It is so daunting turning up to that first role and you feel like you know nothing but give yourself six weeks, it always takes a good six weeks to get used to a new role.
What’s been the highlight of your career?
I feel very lucky in my career and there has been many highlights. When I worked for Alzheimers New Zealand I created a website where people with dementia and their carers could share their stories and poems about living with the disease. I had no budget for this website and managed to work with wonderful students at a local web design school on its creation. The website was a success and was even featured on the front page of an international magazine. It was definitely a highlight and being able provide a platform to share these important stories was such a bonus.