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Making the transition from in-house marketer to working in an agency can be a challenge, Anna Cruickshank writes, but there are also plenty of advantages and skills to develop
It was summer 2018, and I had been unenthusiastically job hunting for months when a friend recommended I go for an account manager role at content marketing agency CPL.
Having been in my job for nearly five years, I was more than ready for a change, but I was nervous about jumping out of my very comfortable frying pan into any old job – but, thankfully, CPL turned out to be anything but a fire!
After a flurry of persuasive texts from my friend Chloe, senior designer at CPL, I decided to throw caution to the wind and send in my application. The job looked like a perfect fit, but – having only worked in-house – I didn’t think I stood a chance against others with agency experience.
To my surprise, I was offered an interview (woohoo!). As soon as I walked into the CPL offices, I was met by a lovely warm welcome from the receptionist – a refreshing experience compared with other interviews I’d attended, and I was excited to find out more.
Luckily for me, I was offered the role and have been at CPL for six months now – it turns out time really does fly when you’re having fun!
In my previous role at a leading independent school, I was responsible for the entire marketing function, heading up a small team. All communications and PR work – from email newsletters to traditional print adverts and a variety of publications – emanated from my team.
Although I learned a lot and progressed quickly, the job often came with a lot of pressure and an overbearing sense of responsibility.
The biggest change at CPL is that I now have a much larger team around me. Being able to bounce ideas off professionals in a variety of marketing fields has been invaluable, and has resulted in some really exciting creative work.
CPL has a broad in-house team of skilled editors and journalists, experienced videographers, and imaginative designers, who work across a host of clients and industries, and give me daily support in my role.
I get to do all the best bits of my old job here, as well as lots of new things, and am able to learn from my colleagues every day.
One thing I worried about when transitioning to an agency was the pace; how would I feel working across multiple clients rather than focusing on one? Could I keep up with the deadlines? Would I be able to switch hats from one client to another, having never done that before?
Truth is, it’s been a breath of fresh air. Working across multiple clients means every day is different and I get to work with a huge range of fascinating people. One day I can be working on a digital marketing strategy for Bourn Hall, the world’s first fertility clinic, and the next I can be interviewing social workers for Cambridgeshire County Council.
If anything, the pace is more manageable here at CPL. When working in-house, it’s easy for things to pile on top of you because the workload is never set in stone. Within an agency, you are working on set projects or campaigns for clients, so you are always fully aware of your role, responsibilities and deadlines.
CPL really is a big family. After my first week, I felt at home and had been well and truly welcomed into the team. If you’re ever (un)lucky enough to meet me, you’ll soon realise I’m not quiet; I would never succeed at a sponsored silence and often need to voice my thoughts in the office to get a project off the ground. CPL has been the perfect environment for someone like me to thrive, and I have enjoyed coming into work every day since I joined.
If I’ve learned anything from my career change, it is to take a risk! It won’t always pay off, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision to move agency side – and I’m looking forward to a bright future at CPL.