Yasemin Gumushan is the Communications Officer for Curve Theatre in Leicester, having started her career after university in B2B marketing.
What was your first job after graduating?
I graduated in 2017 having studied on the broad BA Media and Communications course, as it was then. Although I did sway towards the Music Industries and PR pathways most of the time, my first job after graduating was in B2B Marketing.
Was it difficult to find that job?
The application process was quite difficult and I think that's okay to admit as it was the first time I was applying for a job which would impact my career. Making your CV and cover letter both relevant to the role and summarising your accomplishments at University and outside of studying to prospective employees is always a challenge. It is time consuming but so important.
Thankfully, I started applying for roles early in the year whilst completing my dissertation and project. This allowed me to apply for positions before everybody else graduated and were on the hunt too. From telephone screenings, interviews and second interviews, to accepting the offer and getting a start date, the process can take a very long time. I was lucky to be able to have my first day on the job before graduation. The competition is extremely high and I found it tough finding roles in industries which I really aspired to work in. This was discouraging at first and I'll admit that my first job was not my 'dream job'. However, I am now in a role which I had always dreamed of and upon reflection, I really do not think I would have landed my current role without the experience I gained from my previous work.
What research and preparation did you do to help get that job?
Lots! I didn't just read the 'About Us' section on the website but also looked at their social media pages, searched the news for articles and hunted for reviews to really understand the brand I could be representing and potentially be a part of. This also guided me in my writing style for my cover letter, which I then personalised by looking at examples of their previous work and identifying what I was impressed by or familiar with. I then added the supporting skills and experience I had which could enhance their team. I also spent a lot of time thoroughly reading the job description and using this to prepare for possible interview questions they might ask.
When it got to the interview stage, I put together a portfolio too and I remember spending so much time on it. This was definitely worth it as I have continually added to it throughout my career. I made a PowerPoint PDF which I presented on an iPad and also provided handouts for the interviewers to keep, along with extra print I kept from my projects to bring my experiences to life.
What did the job involve?
The job involved building the business's social media feeds and providing monthly reports on website traffic using Hootsuite, Lead Forensics and Google Analytics. I also created content for regular blog posts, press releases, client presentations, and promotional materials in line with campaigns. In addition I worked on launching a monthly newsletter, e-flyers and worked with suspect/prospect/client data in Microsoft Dynamics.
During my time in the role, I worked closely with clients such as Eon, Kuoni Travel and Adrian Flux, and led the launch of EngageOne® Converse (chatbot) internally and externally with Pitney Bowes. My role also included organising trade show attendance, events, exhibitions and internal charity days and designing the promotional materials for these such as brochures, promotional videos and print.
How did University prepare you for work?
University prepared me in so many ways. I was confident and proud to talk about my final year project and dissertation. The variety of the media course modules left me with so many transferable skills which I could apply in real life scenarios. University also introduced me to a variety of online tools and methods which I could introduce at workplaces. Through University organised events, trips and guest lectures, networking opportunities I had experienced also proved extremely valuable.
Looking back on university, what was the most useful module as far as your career is concerned?
I'm currently working in Arts Marketing so I'd say Music, Promotion and PR was the most useful module for me. It allowed me to create a brand and work with an artist, hold an event and use a variety of channels and methods to enhance the artist's profile.
At what point, when you were a student, did you start thinking about and planning your career?
I've always been obsessed with musical theatre and live performance so I knew I would love to work in the arts or at a charity. From studying media at college, it was what I enjoyed, and I never doubted going to BCU as it was home to the School of Media. The broad course allowed me to develop the skills I needed across a range of specialisms which I used in my final year project. As I hadn't specifically studied Arts Marketing, I decided to test myself and create my own experience by founding Busk in Brum, a non-profit organisation. The project was inspired by my love of live entertainment and celebrated the art of busking and strove to keep performance alive on our streets. Busk in Brum modernises the busking trade and takes busking traditions online. The website welcomes buskers to make their own profile to showcase their talent, ready to be easily found by members of the public and industry professionals – like Facebook for street performers. Their profile could include images, videos, download links, one-click PayPal payments for audiences without loose change, and contact details for bookings.
By completing this project, I was able to talk about my passions and how I used my university experience as a stepping stone to get into the industry when I secured an interview for Communications Officer at Curve Theatre in Leicester.
What training or further study did you need after University?
I have attended many webinars and training days through my workplaces which have been extremely beneficial. The Arts Marketing Association have made a selection of webinars free in this unprecedented time, so I've been watching these from the sofa too! I recently completed the Google Digital Garage Fundamentals of Digital Marketing course as well. This is also free, and you are rewarded with a recognised certificate accredited by Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe and The Open University too.
Is your career what you imagined it would be when you were at university?
Yes. Now that I have been in my dream role at Curve Theatre for almost a year, it is what I imagined it to be. I still reference things I learnt at University now.
What other jobs have you done since graduating?
After I worked in the B2B Marketing role for over a year, I then went on to work as a Marketing Coordinator at the UK’s most trusted crowd management and security firm, Showsec. Since May 2019, I have worked as a Communications Officer at Curve Theatre in Leicester.
What advice would you give current students about preparing for work?
My main advice would be to make the most of University and keep track of all the things you do in a portfolio, as it'll make applying for jobs easier and it's always great to look back at your work with pride. Any extra projects you can complete to enhance your profile are well worth the additional work. Also, make the most out of your tutors: ask them questions, get their advice and build relationships with them.