Laura Barnett

Securing the perfect graduate agency role

It’s that time of year when graduates start thinking about their first job after being cocooned in student life for three years or more. It can be a daunting experience (from memory) but it’s also a very exciting time for both graduates and employers looking for fresh talent.

From student digs to agency glamour

Emma graduated in 2012 from Northumbria University with a First Class BA (Hons) Degree in Marketing Management. Nearly two years on she is now Account Manager here at Torpedo. We caught up with Emma to find out more about her journey so far and discover why she decided agency life was for her.

Why did you choose agency life over a client-side role after graduating?

Throughout uni, working for a marketing agency was never on my radar to be honest. The world of agencies was never explored in my course; I didn’t fully understand how they helped companies get their message across. The focus was always on the brand and how they developed marketing campaigns, not on how agencies facilitated these campaigns behind the scenes.

It was during my one-year work placement at Adobe that my eyes were opened to what was truly involved in agency life. It was fascinating to see how a marketing agency could be an extension of the corporate team, providing ideas, resources and on-going support to get the brief off the ground, right through to execution.

I soon recognised that agencies needed to be agile, responding to last minute briefs quickly and adapting to changing requirements, whilst delivering within agreed budgets and deadlines. Their working environment was fast-paced, creative and lots of fun – somewhere I could see myself blossoming.

What was your first impression of the agency?

Coming to Torpedo as a graduate was an exciting time. I was right about the culture and atmosphere in an agency, with friendly and creative people welcoming me with open arms. Joining a team of experienced Account Managers and Directors was a huge (and steep) learning curve but one that has proved highly positive for my career. In my first few weeks I spent some time getting to know the agency and processes used, then I was introduced to our clients gradually and there was no turning back!

What projects did you work on at first?

I joined Torpedo as Account Executive and my first project was the Adobe UK Channel Hub, a website now used by over 1000 channel partners. Having the opportunity to work on such an exciting project with lots of responsibility was a great introduction to account handling, and working alongside the design and digital teams (no tea-making in sight!).

Since then, I’ve worked on a vast range of projects, from email campaigns to live-streamed events. I have been given the opportunity to take on more and more responsibility over time, as I have felt comfortable. It’s been fast-paced and lots of fun, much more than I expected!

How has your career progressed in the last two years at Torpedo?

Since starting as Account Executive in July 2012, I have been given support and opportunities to develop and progress my career, being promoted to Junior Account Manager after 9 months and then to Account Manager in under 2 years. Having ambition and a love for your job goes a long way!

Here are Torpedo’s top tips on securing the perfect graduate agency role.

  1. Experience. Whilst a part-time retail job is great to show you’ve had exposure to the world of work, if you’ve done any relevant work experience or internships – shout about it!
  2. If there’s a particular agency where you’d really like to work but they’re not advertising a suitable job, apply anyway – most agencies prefer a direct application, it shows persistence and enthusiasm
  3. Prepare well for every interview and confidence will come easily – decide on your top 5 strengths and think of examples to demonstrate them
  4. Don’t stress if you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere – securing the right job is important and can take time, so be patient
  5. Last but not least, make sure your CV and covering letter are immaculate – triple check for grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes and always get someone to proof them for you

At Torpedo, we’re always on the look out for new talent. If you think you have what it takes to tackle agency life, check out our jobs page.

If you’d like to send your CV to Torpedo speculatively, please email us at

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