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Charlotte Wheatley, Account Executive at Proximity London

4 min, 4 sec read
14:35 PM | 11 September 2012
by Adam Oldfield
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My name is Charlotte, I am 23 years old and I work as an Account Executive at Proximity London. I studied Theology and Religious Studies at Bristol University

What was your first ever job?

My first ever job was working as an assistant in a small art gallery in Cork street, London. I loved it because their focus is on modern impressionism, which I adore. I also learnt a few things about running a business which really interests me. 

How did your career in advertising begin? 

I actually managed to get myself a part time job in my third year at University working at a small advertising agency in Bristol called T&T (formally Taylor and Taylor). One of their accounts was Yeo Valley which I loved. It was a great way to gather some experience whilst studying and it convinced me that that was the industry I wanted to get into. After I graduated, I came to London in September after giving myself the summer off, and took an internship at Golley Slater London for 3 months. This gave me a good grounding and training in Account Management before I set off to find myself something permanent. 

How did you get your first job? 

I got my first and current job by searching far and wide, for months! Between my internship and my first day at Proximity London, three turbulent months passed. I spent every day writing letters, emails, going for meetings with recruitment agencies and head-hunters, and networking in any way possible. I went to almost every interview (within reason) to at least get the necessary interview practice and skills that I needed. I read Campaign, swapped YouTube for TED.com and signed up to Seth Godin’s blog so that I was immersed in the advertising world. I dabbled in everything that came my way; I even embarked in a (very) short career in presenting! I was offered one or two jobs in that time but recognising that they weren’t for me, I decided to battle on to find something just right, something which made me actually want to get out of bed every day. Finally when I had my interview at Proximity, I left with the feeling that it might be the one- and it was! 

What’s your biggest achievement?

Breaking into advertising! Another thing which springs to mind is another big passion of mine: singing. I have been the soloist at a number of wedding ceremonies, singing the ‘Ave Maria’ for the congregation. It sounds a little cheesy, but I think getting through the song without forgetting the words or screeching a duff note was an achievement, because I had only one chance to get it right, on the most important day of two people’s lives. I think that kind of pressure has taught me a lot and prepared me for many aspects of my job. 

What’s the best thing about your job?

It is never dull! I am always on the move and the day whizzes by. I love the satisfaction of completing a project and learning new things about the industry constantly. 

What’s the worst thing about your job?

There are ups and downs, but in the end, the gratification you get when you sign something off is completely worth it. I am sometimes late for dates with friends because I can never predict when I might leave the office.

If you could work with any brand what would it be and why? 

There are some brands I truly admire for the range of clever advertising and activity they promote and do, one of them being ‘Innocent’. I think they hit the nail on the head when it comes to digital and their packaging is hilarious and really informative. I would like to work with a failing brand and attempt to improve their business- I wouldn’t want to point fingers here though! 

Name three things that inspire you.

Architecture; Nature; Music 

If you could share a desk with anyone, who would it be?

I would love it to be Rory Sutherland, he is hilarious and so clever, and I reckon he could give me a few secret tips on how to get far in advertising… I went to see Sir John Hegarty speak the other day and he was awesome and clearly doesn’t suffer fools, I think there would be infinite benefits in sitting next to him and learning all the tricks of the trade! That’s two, is that allowed? 

What’s your one piece of advice for students looking to get into advertising?

Don’t give up on your search for the right job for you - you didn’t spend years in school and university slaving away to end up in a job or industry which will never give you happiness or satisfaction. A few months searching, years of no regrets!

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