Anthonia Adetunji

This Hey It Gets Better story comes from Anthonia who runs British Black Girl on Instagram where she offers fantastic career advice and motivation. Anthonia talks about the challenges of working out what you want to do, deciding whether to go to university and starting your first job.

My name is Anthonia. My journey started when I applied to study Marketing at University. In all honestly, it was a very last-minute decision. I always knew I was a writer/business person. I took Business in sixth form and Marketing was an area I really enjoyed. Initially, I wanted to study Business Law. As time went on though I lost interest so switched to Marketing. At the time there seemed to be more prospects down that path, but looking back I didn’t know a thing at that age.

Going to University

Did I regret going to University? I wouldn’t say I regret it. However, something I have observed upon graduating is that University is packaged as this thing that gets you automatic results when it reality it’s only the beginning. If I could do things differently I think I would have done an apprenticeship. I have 2 successful friends who did apprenticeships and are settled in their careers and debt-free. I would say really think about whether or not you need a degree for your field. It’s all about the experience, unfortunately for me, I didn’t do a placement year! So I found that I needed to prove myself when applying for jobs. However, what I found with my particular degree was that it didn’t even cover half of what was expected in my industry anyway. Employers want someone who has done it. So I would pick 3 years as a trainee over 3 years in university any day if I could do it over!

I think something that surprises a lot of people when they go into the industry is how much Marketing is centred on a lot of soft skills. From knowing the basic’s such as the 4 P’s to, search engine optimisation, Pay per click and Email Marketing. You are constantly dipping your toe into everything and expected to be flexible and adaptable.When I was at University it was all Reporting and Data-based assignments. I hadn’t really ever stretched the creative bone in my body. This was probably due to me not researching the industry!

My First Job

When I finished University, my first job was with an international charity and I was thrown into Copywriting, Design and PR work. I personally felt very underprepared, there was an expectation for me to know everything right off the bat. However, the point is that I got through it. I loved the job and that kept me really motivated. The best skill you can have is being a quick learner and hardworking! At first, I had the usual feelings of imposter syndrome. I remember when they hired me I was like “fuck what am I gonna do for 8 hours a day”? But I was lucky enough to have really supportive colleagues and an amazing manager who supported me. The more I learnt and could do things on my own the more I was motivated to keep going. A year later I can confidently do these things, again reinforcing that it’s all about extra effort. Not everything is covered in your degree or rigid.

I started the British Black Girl to guide other graduates and young professionals through my own experience. It was also a way for me to exercise my creativity and network to build a Digital Portfolio. I’m really happy with the way it’s going. Most importantly, it feels good to connect with people like me! Other individuals hustling and growing on social media.

Finally, for people starting University or wanting to enter the professional workforce. There will be setbacks and rejection at the start of your career, but that’s life. Remember that YES it does get better. There’s always a different route to take or comeback! Keep going, keep growing and keep learning x

My advice

  1. Don’t just look at the degree outline and apply, go above and beyond to understand what every module actually entails, because I didn’t expect to do Economics in a Marketing degree.
  2. Complete some extra courses at University and try and build soft skills slowly.
  3. Do the sandwich year, you will have a year in industry under your belt and it gives you time to really decide which course and career path is for you.

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