A Double Gap Year
Wanting more “life experience” after studying a Bachelor of Education, Communications, and Public Relations, Chantelle took a double gap year.
“I wanted…to enjoy the world before I started my career. But then by the time I got back, it was just before COVID hit. And in that time, I was searching for work, I realised I had quite a technical skill gap.”
Chantelle found the Communications and PR industry had changed a lot over her 2-year break.
“I almost fell off track with what was in demand at that time. That was one of the main reasons why I joined (NZIE): to get those technical skills that are on pretty much every job application that you can find these days.”
Ready to learn from Industry Experts
Something that caught Chantelle’s interest was NZIE’s industry expert tutors.
“That’s something I noticed from when I applied. It just really impressed me from someone who knew nothing about [digital marketing]. Our tutors are all industry experts themselves. I was impressed with how they were so willing to share their knowledge.”
She also learnt from her fellow classmates.
“As opposed to just going to a lecture and listening to lectures, it’s a lot more collaborative. If I reflect on some of my classes a lot of people were like me – never really worked in the industry…and then others were currently in digital marketing roles so it was quite cool to have those different approaches not only from your tutor but classmates as well.”
While in the beginning she found online learning “a bit daunting”, NZIE’s in depth student support allowed her to succeed:
Deciding to Specialise
Chantelle was grateful to cover a wide range of skills in NZIE’s Digital Marketing Diploma, as it allowed her to find her passion for ads.
“It’s something I’ve always wondered: do I want to be a jack of all trades? I want to specialise. But I’m seeing that I made the choice where I’d come in this particular skill set and really improve. Just be good at what I do in that area and be able to sell myself.”
She is a more well-rounded digital marketer thanks to the Diploma:
Finding Her Passion Thanks to the Diploma
Chantelle excelled in NZIE’s Digital Marketing Diploma, and scored several internships while she was studying. During the Diploma, she found her passion for ads and SEO thanks to SEM expert and tutor, Lasma.
“My second to last paper was with Lasma, which was SEO…she’s got a wealth of knowledge and experience and the guest speakers that she brought on triggered my interest. And then it was perfect timing because that is when I started my internship with Explosive Social. It just felt really good to walk into the role and hit the ground running.”
The skill set she gained from the diploma was “amazing”. Her most useful skills include mastering target audiences, keyword selection, understanding ad testing and regulation. Learning about Google and Facebook ad campaigns was “a real benefit.”
She was able to take these skills into her internships: “Having the foundation just made it so much easier.”
Working at Explosive Social
From Internship to Specialist Role
After her internships, Chantelle was hired as a fulltime member of the Explosive team. She now works as a Digital Ad Specialist and Business Development Manager.
She describes her entrepreneur boss as an inspiration:
“She’s quite inspiring. It was herself and another colleague of mine that was doing [Explosive Social]. The team’s only been growing from July last year [there’s been] about 13 new hires. We’re growing – it’s exciting to be a part of a small business. She’s got some big goals for the companies. It’s exciting to be part of that journey.”
In a team of 2, Chantelle manages Explosive Social’s ad campaigns:
“At Explosive Social we offer ad campaign management across multiple platforms. We focus on delivering campaigns that reach your customers with the right message on the right platform to meet your business goals.” Explosive Social
She covers platforms including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google (Shopping, Display Marketing, Search, Performance Max).
Her role involves setting up advertising accounts and tracking pixels, implementing strategic targeting, refining ads and targeting to ensure every account is performing and meeting KPIs and providing monthly performance reports and meetings.
Staying on top of trends
It’s crucial for her to stay across changes in the ads landscape.
“It’s so important to stay on top of the trends, stay on top of my skills. Many changes have happened in the ads industry. People are dabbling into TikTok now, but it’s still a very new area for us to work on. But it’s all really exciting.”
She views updates to platforms as exciting, as it gives her an opportunity to grow and improve performance.
Not Afraid of Challenges
Specialising in digital advertising is a ‘holistic’ task, for which Chantelle thrives on. She’s not afraid of a challenge, and uses her skills to analyse how to make an ad perform at it’s best:
“It’s looking at the bigger picture. [When a problem arises] I appreciate all the people sitting down and saying “Okay, well, why is not working? How can we improve these results?” And then you start looking at other factors…something as simple as a checkout experience, on the website. [Including] client reviews, social proofing: are you are bringing all those skills together? It’s very holistic.”
A key takeaway Chantelle took from the Digital Marketing Diploma was to always keep learning and upskilling. She’s always making time outside of work to complete Google certificates and remain up to date with ads trends and updates.
Plans for future
“At this stage, I’m just keen to make the most of where I am now. I’m grateful for this opportunity and want to upskill as much as I can…So just really polish my skills as much as possible.”
Once she enters her 3rd and more ‘senior’ year of digital marketing, Chantelle looks forward to working with her passion for health and fitness:
“Brands in New Zealand like NZ muscle, EHP Labs, Australia, Xplosive Supplements. That would be a dream job. Not only just the ad side but also then being able to incorporate some of the other skills that I’ve learnt because I will be in much more of an all-rounder role.”
We wish Chantelle every success in her current and future roles and thank her for her time with this story.