From Support to Marketing in 7 Months | #WorkingAt10to8
There are so many companies out there that want experience but aren’t willing to give it. However, at 10to8, we give people the opportunity to develop their current skills as well as learn new ones. We also allow people to steer their careers in the direction they want to go.
In this interview, you will hear from Alice Smith, who joined our company as a Customer Service Representative and is now running the business blog.
Tell us a bit about your background and why you joined 10to8
I’ve always been passionate about writing. When I was younger, I used to write short stories for my parents. As I grew older, those short stories became poems, songs, screenplays, and even novels.
When I finished school I tried desperately to get into a creative industry. I applied for writers jobs in London, journalism apprenticeships, and even unpaid internships for marketing companies just trying to get my foot in the door. But most of the time, I heard nothing back, and the times I did, I just received blunt messages telling me I had no experience.
Before I joined 10to8, I came from quite a varied background. I’d dabbled in a lot of different career paths and worked as a Waitress, Hotel Assistant Manager, Head Chef, Sales Development Rep. I even had a brief stint of self-employment as a freelance writer and started running my own travel blog, which unfortunately collided with the start of the pandemic.
With the world closing its borders, I knew that it wasn’t the best time to try and make it as a travel blogger. But starting my own blog made me re-discover my passion for writing and I realized that, after all those years, it was still what I wanted to do as a career.
I started applying for countless marketing positions, but never even made it to the interview stage because of my lack of experience. Even for junior positions, people told me that without a university degree or a track record of marketing experience, I had little to no chance. Despite studying the English Language extensively in college, when it came to further education, I had an NVQ in Catering, a couple of online courses under my belt, and some freelance experience, which seemed to be of little help.
Thankfully, I found 10to8.
How was the interview and onboarding process?
When I originally applied to join the company, it was for a role in tech support. I had plenty of customer-facing experience having done hospitality roles for years, plus my time in technology sales gave me experience working in a tech start-up.
There were three interviews in total. An initial chat to go over some basic criteria, a long call with the Head of Support, Marcel, and a third call with Marcel and the CEO of the company. It was a little nerve-wracking at first (especially the call with the CEO), but once I got into the swing of things, it was a really enjoyable process. As well as talking about the role and my experience, we were also able to have a general conversation, which was really nice and made the interview feel much more relaxed.
They also asked me about my personal goals which surprised me – no company had ever asked me that before. But as well as how I wanted to develop for 10to8, they also wanted to know how I wanted to develop as a person. Of course, I mentioned my love of writing content, and they were super supportive and said that was definitely something we could look into in the future. And they kept their word.
I joined the Support Team and it wasn’t long before I started taking on help articles. Once I’d got my head around the product and gone through about a month of learning, training, and fully remote onboarding, I was shown the support article backlog. Marcel told me to have a look and, if there were any topics I liked the sound of, have a go.
Needless to say, I took on as many as I could!
How did you move over to another team?
Company culture is really important at 10to8. Even though many of us are fully remote, we are frequently encouraged to get together virtually for informal coffee chats to get to know each other. One of my tasks within my first 3 months was to have a coffee chat with everyone on the 10to8 team. And this included the Head of Marketing, Anna.
It was a really enjoyable talk and, in between our conversations about traveling and puppies, we also spoke about my writing. Anna introduced me to the Content Marketing project and said that, if I ever had time, I was more than welcome to take on an article or two. I jumped at the chance and, over the next few months, wrote quite a few articles for 10to8’s blog.
Support articles were already a very different writing style to what I was used to, and the blog was different too. But it was different in a good way, and I really enjoyed taking on new writing challenges. For each piece I wrote, I was given both positive and constructive feedback. This helped me develop my writing skills further, to the point where I decided to take on a pretty challenging article about WCAG Compliance, which I’m still rather proud of.
So, when the Marketing Team started hiring for a Content Specialist, it piqued my interest. I loved my job in support, but writing full time had been my dream since I was little. But I wasn’t sure if I’d once again be told that I didn’t have the right background. So, I held off applying.
A little later, on another coffee chat with Anna, she brought up the subject. She was surprised that I hadn’t already applied and said I was more than welcome to if I wanted to. So, I did.
And after a couple of interviews and a written test (they put me through the exact same process as the external candidates), I was offered the job.
“I remember when I started my career in marketing, it took me almost 6 months and 85 CVs to get a job. It’s tough getting your first opportunity and I swore that if I’m ever put in a hiring role, I will take a holistic approach. I’m looking for enthusiasm and keenness to learn. Years of experience without these values is just a measure of how many times a person checks in at work. Luring Alice over to the Marketing Team was a great thing – although it might have removed me from Marcel’s circle of favorite people.” – giggles Anna Kocsis, Head of Marketing.
My manager at the time was very supportive and the entire process was smooth and simple. I transitioned to the role gradually over the course of a month so that the Support Team wasn’t left short-staffed. Since then, I’ve taken on the role of managing the 10to8 business blog.
What are you up to nowadays?
These days, as well as organizing the internally written blog content, I’m also managing guest blogs, social media, and will soon be taking on case studies as well. The Marketing Team has been super welcoming and helpful, and I’ve learned so much more about content creation since joining the team.
Whereas so many companies instantly turned me away purely because I didn’t have a degree or enough experience, 10to8 actually gave me a chance. They let me prove myself and allowed me to learn, and that’s what makes them different. To find a company that wants the people working for them to follow their own personal goals as well as the company’s is pretty amazing.
It’s also an amazing feeling to finally say that I write content for a living and I will be forever grateful to 10to8 for opening this door for me.
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