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The Inside Story – Marketing Magic

Lizzie Butler attended ‘Getting into PR, Advertising and Marketing’ presented by guest speaker, and University of Hertfordshire graduate, Chris Timbs. Here she gives us an exclusive review…


As the manager of Brand Marketing at Hilton Hotels and Resorts, those of us in attendance were extremely lucky Chris was able to give up some of his time to share his experience. With hotels in over 80 countries including Europe and Africa, his time is very literally money.

Chris gave some real insight into what it is that he does every day as part of his job – from getting to the office at 7:30am every morning to process invoices, to dealing with companies like the Telegraph and the Guardian. His role as Manager of Brand Marketing makes him responsible for a number of different areas including, visual identity, promotions, partnerships, and PR and social media. Chris also shared some helpful advice on getting jobs in the sector, specifically in today’s economy.

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After graduating from the University of Hertfordshire in 2005, Chris found a job at Reed Business Information, a media publishing company.  He emphasised that taking a placement year as a part of his degree really helped him to secure the opportunity, because it gave him actual experience in the field, rather than just in the classroom. It was also very beneficial in his third year because he was able to apply this experience to his assignments and consider how it would affect a real company. Working for Reed wasn’t what he ultimately wanted to do but he applied for the role to help get into the field.

One of his key tips for getting a job was networking and continuing to keep that contact after you’ve secured your job; you never know when a contact somewhere might be able to help you with a project or to help advance you in your career. Another tip was going to careers fairs and interacting with employers from big organisations. He also advises that speaking to companies face to face makes a better impression than emailing or speaking on the phone because there’s nothing like putting a name to face. It’s a great way to build confidence, being able to approach people to talk about industry, but it is equally as important to speak to smaller companies. The experiences they offer are just as beneficial as working for big businesses and employees just getting into the sector can often see the more intricate areas missed by large-scale employers.

Other tops tips:

  • Study modules you enjoy while at university – figure out what you like so you can pursue it
  • Utilise your resources by getting in touch with contacts you’ve made
  • Know your subject and sector well (especially for interview situations)
  • Don’t be afraid to put across innovative ideas that you have
  • It’s not a complete necessity to be a Business School student to get into the field; it’s always possible to retrain and, of course, will depend on your role

The talk ended with a question and answer session and a few words from Louise Barnes who works for the Alumni Relations team at the University. After working in PR she also had lots of advice and agreed with a lot of what Chris had said. She emphasised the importance of transferable skills, showing you are more than just a degree to potential employers, and recommending that you do some volunteering if you can’t get any experience in your field before you graduate.

Visit CareerHub for more information on skills for different jobs in your sector, and EMR Recruitment who specialise in marketing jobs.


Lizzie Butler is a second year student at the University of Hertfordshire, studying English Literature.

Lizzie Butler is a second year student at the University of Hertfordshire, studying English Literature.


photo credit: Stuck in Customs

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