Alexandros Tucker is a Cypriot – American, currently living in Scotland, who recently completed a marketing internship at GoodCall, funded and supported by Graduate Career Advantage Scotland. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing and Business from Abertay University, graduating in 2021. He has lived in both the United States and Cyprus and has travelled to many parts of the world. Graduate Career Advantage Scotland, also known as GCAS, funds internships and provides career support for recent graduates in Scotland, breaking down barriers for employers to create new impactful opportunities for graduates looking to start their careers in their respective fields, gaining helpful & insightful work experience, while boosting the country’s economy.
Before accepting his internship, Alex was working as a waiter and bartender for a local restaurant, after completing his marketing degree. “Finishing my degree during the COVID-19 pandemic was a surreal experience, often met with feelings of relief but also disappointment on how my 4-year university journey had ended. I immediately sought employment but felt that because of losing out on so many opportunities to network due to lockdown, that I was at a disadvantaged position to apply straight into graduate roles without enough experience.” Alex at that time had voluntary marketing experience, helping Dundee-based organisations manage and strategize their social media marketing. “Looking at the landscape at the time, I felt discouraged to apply to many entry level marketing positions, the pandemic really knocked my confidence down, and the only possible solution was to work at any job as a gap year of sorts”, explains Alex. During his employment in hospitality, he helped manage the social media accounts of the restaurant, creating content that promoted its products and services. “While I was there, I still wanted to exercise all the knowledge I had gained from my time in Abertay, so I volunteered to promote my workplace, of its drinks, dishes, location, service etc.” But Alex was still looking for the next opportunity for full-time graduate employment. “I didn’t know where to look, it felt like every job listing on Indeed, or LinkedIn, or my own university’s career hub, were overwhelming with requirements, but where they the right options for me? I could never know, because I never heard back from my initial applications.”
Alex, like any graduate, went to his alma mater for help. “By March 2022, I was set on finding any marketing employment to start my career. I felt that by now, I had enough experience to qualify for those opportunities, with my confidence rebuilt. Abertay University with their Career Advisory team were extremely helpful in understanding my current position and pain points, developing my CV to better represent my experience and skills.” Abertay University then directed him to GCAS. “The premise of GCAS immediately piqued my interest, in a way that I was extremely delighted to know that in Scotland, there are programs or initiatives to help people like me.” With his CV prepared, and his eyes on the opportunities on GCAS’s Vacancy Hub, it was all a matter of patience. “I constantly refreshed their website for internship listings. Their resources was incredibly advantageous, with their guides preparing me for what I can expect during the hiring phase; I knew everything that I could to make myself the best candidate, all thanks to GCAS and Abertay University.” It wasn’t until June 2022, where he found GoodCall’s internship listing. “Finding a locally based internship was incredibly beneficial. GoodCall’s main service and social outcomes drew me into applying, and because their values aligned with mine, I applied, and the rest is history.” Alex would then begin his journey with GoodCall in August of 2022.
The CEO of GoodCall, Kate Masson, introduced Alex to the social enterprise, and to the world of third sector. “The opportunity to take on a marketing intern was really exciting to us; firstly, recognising that it would free up time within the team, to concentrate on other work and invest in the future of GoodCall. And secondly, to have someone come in with a fresh perspective and perhaps challenge the status quo – question our strategies, plans and more. But beyond that, the internship gives us the opportunity to invest in the workforce of tomorrow, by providing a safe space to convert their academic theories in to practise; enabling them to develop in to confident, meaningful practitioners. Alex has brought an abundance of energy to GoodCall which has been great for the whole team. There have been times where putting theory into practise has been less straightforward than Alex had anticipated which has understandably caused him frustration; but I hope this learning will be invaluable for him moving forward, and will help him to thrive as a resourceful, resilient and innovative marketing professional.”
“Diving straight in, I was so amazed by the third sector environment. Everyone has pre-conceived notions, as I did, but truly getting to know how charities operate, especially from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, their passion for change, and ultimately their impact, was a real eye-opener for me”, explains Alex. From the get-go, Alex knew how to utilize his skills to help promote and bring awareness to the social enterprise. “We are truly a not-for-profit organisation, helping out others in our sector in being better connected, reducing their digital inequality, while also delivering a price-competitive contract that often reduces their spend on digital resource, meaning they can redirect all necessary funds to help their frontline services. Our value proposition is exceptionally unique, and being hired as the Marketing Intern, I felt humbled to be tasked to help their marketing operations.” His purpose was simple: to learn and apply everything into fruition. “I learned a lot about the organisation’s history and future outcomes, the previous marketing strategies, and what & how we can better improve moving forward. At that time, it was great to dedicate my time fully to marketing.”
Over the course of six months, Alex went on to learn, adapt and work in all aspects of marketing theory. “In university, we are taught so much in the field of marketing, that finally getting to understand what it all means in a real life setting was, no doubt, engulfing.” Whether it was understanding the market and sector, refining customer personas, content idea generation and creation, or tracking metrics, Alex found it to be a necessary experience. “I came in with an open mind, prepared to be ready for anything. My boss acts as mentor, to fully guide me in understanding how third sector works in our society, for me to then create the best possible solution to continue to reach out to the many charities, community groups and other third sector organisations that may need our service.”
Alex developed many skills, both soft and hard. “My job is intensively creative, meaning that I often have to find what’s the best message, to the right set of audiences, the best way to write or design it and the best way to distribute that message effectively, several times, without becoming too repetitive. Content creation is often overlooked as easy, but in my experience, it is an skill that’s easy to learn, but hard to master. I would say that the best soft skills I developed were creativity, critical thinking, and communication skills. Critical thinking is more about just finding the right solution properly. It is about quickly finding the best approach in any given circumstance and applying it that creates a desired outcome. Because of how small our team is, needing to converse on my thoughts, my projects, my arguments in favour of proposed changes and future steps, and my overall experience, as well as making sure that our marketing operations were reflective of our current aims and outcomes, requires versatility to be able to tackle anything in our way, so I’m happy to feel competent in those areas.”
The utilization of several programs was also insightful. “Getting my hands on many software applications to help better do my job and be an effective marketer was probably the most exciting part of my internship. Getting to use that creativity in programs like Canva, where I make interesting and eye-catching graphic posters for promoting our events, our unique selling points, our team, and important information to our Partners, will always be a benefit to the job. Additionally, sending important emails with Mailchimp, or tracking our website traffic with Google Analytics, I was able to gain authentic experiences, and quite frankly, it’s often met with a great sense of excitement, albeit with some moments of frustration, when learning and dealing with new tools to use.”
“GoodCall’s internship couldn’t have come at a better time; during a period in which doubt became unsettling, and my journey slowly entering a new chapter, with the foundation that GCAS built, the internship kickstarted my career and future aspirations, allowing me to gain new experiences and knowledge that will prove extremely useful, and ultimately impactful to GoodCall’s future. I couldn’t be more thankful to GCAS, Abertay University and GoodCall.” GoodCall recently extended his contract for a further six months. “The work we had put in during the first six months was crucial, and I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of it. We are a passionate team with genuine love for our partners and delivering change, so for me to stay on board means we will continue the hard work in enabling so many not-for-profits be better connected during a time where digital isn’t becoming a luxury, but rather a necessity. There is still so much to be done, and we are committed to change. Not for our organisation’s benefit, but for everyone in the third sector.”
To learn more about Graduate Career Advantage Scotland, please visit their wesbite at gcas.co.uk