How would you describe the service you received from your recruiter at GAGAGO?
“I think we should ask February 2021 Lucy for the answer to that question…
Megan made me feel excited about the opportunity to join a rapidly expanding EdTech startup, which was definitely a motivating factor in the interview process.”
Would you recommend GAGAGO to a friend?
“I would unreservedly recommend Give A Grad A Go to a friend – and I have!
To use a loose marketing metaphor, Third Space Learning was a qualified lead rather than the pipeline of potentially unqualified leads that had come before.
As I said in my acceptance email to Megan regarding the exciting job offer (and the warmly welcomed conclusion to my graduate job hunt), this was a ‘shared victory’.
I was considered for a role that I myself might not have considered, let alone successfully secured.”
How have you progressed in your role since you started?
“Through Give A Grad A Go’s impressive support, I quickly joined Third Space Learning as an SEO Strategist back in February 2021, during one of the UK lockdowns.
As well as taking on more strategic responsibility from the Head of Content & SEO, I was more formally promoted to Content & SEO Manager in January 2022.
This role has allowed me to take the lead in telling the company’s story via our popular blog, commission new blogs from expert authors, and coordinate an international team of Virtual Assistants, freelancers, and interns.
Not only have I progressed in more tangible tasks, but my overall confidence and self-belief have blossomed. In fact, having the chance to reflect on my ‘story’ from the last year or so has been quite a cathartic exercise.
Let’s frame this whole article around having and promoting a growth mindset in all that you do and in all that you are.”
What does a typical day look like in your role as a Content & SEO Manager?
“I’d say a ‘typical day’ is potentially difficult to pinpoint, and it’s probably this (sometimes unpredictable) variety that keeps me on my toes!
Most of my meetings take place on a Monday, allowing me and the team to set priorities for the week ahead.
After that, my day could consist of: researching, commissioning, writing, or editing blogs, managing our free GCSE revision lesson web pages, optimising existing content, researching keywords, writing knowledge bases, contributing to other longer-term strategic projects, supporting direct reports, CPD, and much more!
While I am officially home-based, I’m becoming increasingly hybrid. I usually work from our lovely central London office at least once a week.”
What has been the most challenging part of your role so far?
“Quite simply, I was fortunate enough to be employed for a role that I wasn’t completely qualified for, with the understanding that I would be in for a steep learning curve!
This was clearly a leap of faith from both sides, and one which seems to have paid off…
So, I guess the most challenging part was quickly getting to grips with a new role (in every sense).
I had to learn a new language in the form of SEO, and become familiar with a range of tools and techniques that would empower me to make this job my own.
While it’s probably an overused idiom, I think getting thrown in at the deep end was exactly what I needed.
I trusted that my colleagues would readily provide armbands whenever required, which gave me the freedom to learn by doing.
Another novel element (at least at the time) was the entirely remote onboarding.
The process of receiving my office equipment via courier, and not physically meeting those that employed you until at least 3 months into the role, was somewhat strange!
I think the biggest challenges for me were forming meaningful work relationships with new people (some of whom obviously knew each other before the pandemic hit), being ‘seen’ by others, and remembering to celebrate successes.”
What has been the best part of your role so far?
“I’m sure I’m being overwhelmingly predictable in my answers, but it’s difficult to name one!
I’ve come to learn that who you work with makes more of a difference to your day-to-day happiness than I perhaps realised.
Therefore, I must first celebrate my brilliant colleagues as a highlight of the role.
I’m lucky to work with a bunch of fun, ambitious and passionate people, who are all contributing to the overarching mission of closing the maths attainment gap in their own way.
The meetings or moments of clarity where you solve a complex problem you’ve been grappling with always come to mind.
I’m humbled to share the floor with those I can help and learn from.
As well as being part of an international team, I find the immediate responsibility that comes with working in a startup particularly motivating.
My tasks are often mentally and intellectually stimulating.
My favourite blogs are the ones that synthesise the pedagogical grounding that inspires Third Space Learning’s online maths tuition programmes!”
What has been your greatest achievement in your role so far?
“In summer 2021, when I was still relatively new to the role, I was given my first proper opportunity to manage a team of interns.
This contributed to a widely celebrated increase in published content and organic traffic to the website.
As of September 2021, this had led to an incredible 500% growth in secondary school traffic, and, as of April 2022, the GCSE web pages also reached their 1 million session milestone!
Alongside that, I’ve somehow carved out a kind of niche for myself; a champion of thorough documentation, structured briefs, and streamlined processes.
This has become increasingly important for the efficiency and productivity of a growing team!
I feel like I’ve been part of genuinely building something from scratch with my colleagues.
And this tangibly benefits teachers and students across the country.
Building a process from the ground up, shaping it, implementing it, iterating on it, and bringing others into it, is one of the reasons that working in a startup is pretty darn cool.
I’m also grateful that Third Space Learning supported me to become a certified Mental Health First Aider in February 2022.
The achievement of encouraging ongoing conversations around mental health in the workplace is potentially my proudest of all.”
Where do you see your career heading?
“In all honesty, I’m not entirely sure. But that’s something I find rather more exciting than terrifying these days!
Before securing the role through Give A Grad A Go, I had potentially pigeonholed myself into a single sector, and ultimately defined myself too narrowly.
Now, I feel like I’m more of a multipotentialite, and the possibilities are endless!
Diving into a new discipline (SEO) at a maths tuition company (with a firm humanities background), felt like a bit of a risk.
Instead, I was given a genuine chance to learn something new, and relinquished any set idea of who I was and what I did.
Without wishing to veer into anything too philosophical, my role through Give A Grad A Go gave me a new perspective on what ‘Lucy at work’ looks like!
At some point, I might move into broader content marketing, perhaps at an agency where I have the chance to work with lots of different clients and sectors.
I would also like to continue writing and being creative for causes I care about, potentially with even more of a design element.
I’ve also appreciated the (content) operations side of things in a way I didn’t expect, so that might be another avenue to pursue.
Finally, career trajectories are often not linear, and only at the end can you append some kind of narrative to it all.
I think graduates can often feel the pressure to follow a particular path or timeline, but comparing yourself to others is rarely worthwhile.”
What advice would you give someone looking to start a career as a Content & SEO Manager?
“For someone looking to start a career as an SEO Strategist, Content & SEO Editor, Content & SEO Executive, or Content & SEO Manager, my best advice would be to step back and consider how your current experience could equip you for such a role.
Why does the content and SEO side of marketing particularly interest you?
And, by ‘experience’, I mean anything!
As is increasingly acknowledged, you can’t have several years of (paid) experience for an entry-level role!
Critically think about that university project, society, part-time work, or volunteering.
Interrogate how you portray that experience on a page. Be detailed and specific. What role did you play? What did that experience teach you?
Much like my own journey, be open-minded, and willing to try something new and potentially out of your comfort zone!
I’m often impressed by people that try making a website, write regularly (such as a blog), consume interesting books or podcasts, or just analyse examples of marketing that speaks to them.
I realise many people don’t necessarily have the time or money to spend on such pursuits, so being realistic here is important!
Then, when you’re interviewed for a content and SEO role, do your research about the company! What makes them unique? What engages you most about their work? I’m sure this advice could be applied to lots of other roles too…”
Anything you wished you knew when you first started out in this industry/role?
“Both SEO and EdTech are fluid, exciting, and evolving places to be. I don’t think I quite realised just how much you never stop learning or completely master the art of SEO.
I find the psychology behind what people search for on Google potentially the most intriguing part of SEO and keyword research.
My parting advice is obvious (and universally applicable); listen, ask questions, have a go, rinse and repeat!”
“Enjoy the path of continuous development rather than any kind of destination.”