I was fresh out of university having completed my English Literature degree and pretty clueless as to what I wanted to do with my new-found academic stamp of approval. My choices were vast; librarian or teacher. All clichés aside I really didn’t know what I wanted to do – I’d been soul searching since I can remember and truly didn’t have a clue.
At one of the many post-exam parties in my last month at university, I met a guy who told me he was a head hunter. It sounded exciting and self-important but what really caught my attention was how lucrative it appeared to be. Plus, I was told, I didn’t need any specific degree or qualifications.
Lumbered with the standard insurmountable pile of debt this seemed like an avenue worth exploring. Weeks later my research had honed in on recruitment consultancy. The market was booming and changing jobs seemed to have become like changing your shirt – frequent and necessary.
What really appealed about becoming a recruitment consultant is I felt it would develop my understanding of the business world without having to actually decide which business I was to enter. Best of all I could look at what other people were doing and gain a better insight about what might actually float my career boat, all whilst getting paid.
30,000 CVs later I was none the wiser. I’d met directors of companies, HR managers, IT managers; I’d worked with the likes of Monsoon Accessorize and BDO Stoy Hayward and had been completely underwhelmed by how fortunate I was. Most of my clients had vast corporate offices overlooking the whole of London. It should have been awe inspiring – or at least held a trace of the wow factor.
Reactions that were so natural to others were lost on me. I was entirely underwhelmed. The views were nice, but there was just no excitement for me. I knew that my passion lay elsewhere.
It was hard to leave after 3 years of what had actually been a very successful time in recruitment. I’d met some genuinely great people and was privileged to have learned so much but I knew it was time to make something happen. I duly took off on a round-the-world trip to gain some perspective.
This is when I realized that what had been a hobby since I can remember was actually something people did for work – writing. Whilst travelling through Asia, the Philippines, Australia and the whole of South America I absorbed everything I saw and reflected it in my writing.
Then I made the connection. All the writing I had done in recruitment; from reviewing and editing resumes and advertisements to email campaigns and marketing copy; these had developed a skill for which most people have to pay. Every day I’d looked at company websites to try and really understand my client’s organisation – to focus on how I could best help them in their key objectives.
All that time I’d been thinking hard about what made a business unique; what made them different, and how to communicate that in the most appealing way.
Upon returning to the UK I procrastinated with another stint in recruitment before striking out on my own in copywriting. I had found a job which was exciting and ignited passion in me. It was like a light bulb had switched on: here was a job which combined my marketing, sales, networking and business writing experience and was highly valued to companies.
Recruitment had been great to me. I’d loved the feeling when my candidates secured great jobs, and meeting so many different and interesting people was a real privilege. I also valued the feeling of being able to help my clients find the right people for the job, and the size of my wallet at the end of the process! However it didn’t compare to the feeling of seeing my words bringing business success every day. What a fantastic career, one in which I’m constantly learning and developing, but also a career in which I can see the results of my work. All I have to do is go online.
My message is not meant to be self-important. Simply that it takes time to find what you love doing, and also a lot of work to get there. I could spout plenty of platitudes but the one that seems most apt is ‘nothing in life worth doing is easy’; finding my niche in copywriting was hard work and was twenty-eight years in the making. I’m thoroughly enjoying every new learning experience – a continuous process, and I recommend this industry to those with the passion.