For those of you debating whether or not to take the plunge and to start your studies again, I thought I would share with you my story as Head of Marketing here at DPG.
As they say, you can't always teach an old dog new tricks. This old dog (okay I am only 38), decided I probably needed to upskill in a profession that has changed beyond recognition in the last 15 years or so, and continues to do so.
You see, when I got into Marketing back in 2004, Facebook was all but a glimmer in the eye, and Ask Jeeves was my browser of choice (I'm using some artistic irony). Digital is reshaping everything we do. Fast forward to 2019, and the way we market has changed significantly – gone are the days when you could produce some flyers or a bus advert and hope for the best. There are so many other ways to engage with your market now, because of digital, and ultimately it means there is nowhere to hide when reporting the results of your campaign.
So that’s why I decided back in 2017 to upskill and study for my Postgrad with The IDM. I felt I needed to do something to upskill, keep my skills current and to refresh. I was genuinely worried that I might fall behind otherwise. Even though I have really good strategic knowledge from all my experience in marketing and communications, I felt that my skills were becoming less relevant than the skills of the young people I was recruiting. They were graduating with digital marketing skills that I didn’t have.
Also, I work with agencies and I needed to have the skills that match theirs. You need to be able to talk and think confidently about digital marketing and be able to challenge people.
It’s the same with any profession – you have to keep learning new things, keep developing and keep making sure that you are relevant. I market CIPD programmes in my day job-so I certainly needed to put the money where my mouth is!
Of course, it’s not easy doing a post grad while still working and having a family etc. It was a case of working when the kids were in bed, taking a bit of time off work to get stuff done, etc, but it was definitely worth it. I took two years to do it, instead of the one year that I had initially thought it would, but life happens!
It was very much a part time course, with online learning and face to face workshops in London every other week and a couple of assignments. I had to tackle a brief from a company and that was really good as well. The case study organisations weren’t in my sector so it was great getting exposure to other industries. You don’t always get the opportunity to learn about what is going on outside of your job and your sector, so that was really valuable.
What I would say to anyone else considering a post grad or anything else is to go for it. No matter how busy you are, you can make it work if you want to. It’s so important to keep developing and learning. You are never too old to upskill and if you are passionate about what you do and you are determined, you can do it. Achieving a qualification makes you more credible and it makes you more outward facing and prepared for the future.
Now that I’ve got the bug I plan to keep on doing regular bits of self development in order to stay up to date. In fact, the biggest lesson I learnt from doing this post grad was actually