Think outside the box

Think outside the box when it comes to your career

In 2003 I graduated from Loughborough University with a first class degree in Sport and Exercise Science.

High hopes and reality


Three years later, I graduated from the University of Liverpool with a Master’s degree in Exercise and Nutrition Science. I had high hopes for the future, but perhaps due to my location in North Wales (and my reluctance to move to a city) I was unable to obtain a well-paid job. I spent several years working in a hotel gym on minimum wage; with my days generally consisting of cleaning changing rooms, showers and toilets (nothing wrong with that, but not exactly my dream job). I moved to London for a short period but didn’t like the change in pace and the lack of greenery relative to Wales.

The change

In 2008, I decided to get a ‘proper job’ and started working for a bank, in a call centre. I really enjoyed the first few years of working there, but after I turned 30, I thought I had better retrain and look at doing something else, or I would end up being ‘pigeon holed’ as a call centre worker for the next 40 years of my working life. In 2011/12 I completed a Diploma in Digital Marketing with the Chartered Institute of Marketing, several coding qualifications with W3 schools and an Adwords Fundamentals course with Google. Two weeks after completing the diploma, I landed a job as a Digital Marketing Executive for a price comparison website.

Who I am now

I now work for a marketing agency as an online marketing executive. I really enjoy it and work with several well-known sports and fitness brands. In fact, the agency that I work for uses my skills and qualifications as a selling point when pitching to clients in the health and fitness industry.

Virtually every business and industry exists, in some format, online nowadays. If you can gain technical skills in this area, it can complement many degrees and other qualifications and help you to gain employment within the niche or industry you are hoping to work within. I would highly recommend setting up a blog to demonstrate any skills that you gain. You can do this for free on WordPress. Also, the W3 Schools qualifications that I completed have helped me get dozens of job interviews and a few job offers (even though I can’t really code from scratch). They are quite hard going but cost less than £100 each. The Google exams are also very well recognised and respected, and cost a similar amount of money.

Working in marketing and/or with computers may be one direction you can turn in to make your degree work for you and help your career. Or perhaps you could do a course in Business and start your own company, or move into business development. Make a mind map, write down some ideas, and don’t give up hope – you make your own luck if you work hard enough. Good luck and feel free to contact me via my blog if you need any advice.

Have you followed the advice of “think outside the box” with your own career? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: Adam Swank / Flickr

Drew has a first class degree in Sport & Exercise Science from Loughborough University, and a Master’s degree in Exercise & Nutrition. He retrained to work in marketing in 2011, and now works as an online marketing consultant. He specialises in the sports nutrition and fitness sector.

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