Every year a new wave of hopeful young graduates pours in to the
media sales business. Each newcomer has goals and ambitions but, of
course, not all of them have the natural talent and bloody-minded
determination required to make it to the top.
To chart this struggle, we have found six twentysomethings who graduated
this year and only recently landed their first jobs. Bravely, they’ve
agreed to allow us to follow their careers over the coming years. We’ll
chart their highs and lows, successes and frustrations, their growing
responsibilities and changing attitudes as they are moulded by the
The six graduated in a diverse range of subjects, with business,
economics and marketing degrees nestling alongside human resources
management, creative arts and even philosophy. Their interests range
from sports and literature to shopping and that thinly veiled euphemism
for pubbing and clubbing, ’going out’. They see themselves as natural
communicators and have the confidence that’s an essential requirement of
a job in sales.
All the newcomers perceive the sales environment as dynamic and
potentially lucrative, and they expect to climb the career ladder
rapidly. Most want to become heads of their departments or publishers,
although one wants eventually to open a restaurant. Those who have
already started their jobs are reporting tight deadlines and an
unexpected level of responsibility, as well as the satisfaction of
closing their first sale.
Perhaps some of our group’s career paths will reflect wider trends in
the media industry as a whole. But one thing is certain, time will tell
who is best cut out for the career they have chosen. Read on and meet
our class of ’99 - you’ll hear much more about them in the future.
Job title - UK sales co-ordinator.
Employer - 24/7 Europe.
Date of birth - 8 November 1976.
Degree - MA Hons Philosophy (2:1), Glasgow University.
Background/interests - Morgan comes from Epping, Essex. He played lots
of sport when he was younger - rugby, swimming and mountain biking. He
was sports editor of Glasgow University Student Television, a weekly
two-hour on-campus show.
Why sales? - Not only did Morgan work as a journalist for the student TV
channel, he also sold airtime and found he liked it. ’I enjoyed talking
to people in different sectors and there was the thrill of doing the
deal,’ he says. A work experience stint - selling of photocopiers to
businesses in the rougher parts of Glasgow - was less successful. ’I got
dropped off in the Gorbals and I must have been the only person wearing
a suit in a ten-mile radius. I got mugged by a football team of
How he found out about the job - Through the recruitment agency Media
Details of the job - Trainee position liaising with the sales team and
Career expectations - ’I had all the key words in my head like
’fast-paced’ and ’dynamic’. It’s an industry that is changing all the
How expectations match reality - ’Actually living it is a different
experience. I felt a bit crushed with all the noise at first. I never
expected to get so much responsibility so quickly. In new media, as soon
as you arrive you are expected to pull your weight. The learning curve
is tremendous. But I’ve loved it here so far and got caught up in the
excitement. I feel I’m in the right place at the right time. That’s my
immediate impression of new media.’
Dream media job for the future - Morgan would like to own his own
business and hopes to work abroad at some stage.
Job title - Recruitment sales executive Employer Professional
Date of birth - 26 November 1976
Degree - BA Economics (2:2), Liverpool John Moores University
Background/interests - Westwood originates from Middlesborough.
Her interests include politics, contemporary fiction, theatre, film,
music, shopping and sport.
Why sales? - ’I thought I’d be good at it. There were other things that
interested me but the ads for media sales positions seemed to want
someone like me. I think I’m a good communicator and a good listener.’
How she found out about the job - Through The Media Exchange recruitment
Details of the job - Selling recruitment advertising space in two
publications: Professional Engineering and Automotive Engineer.
Career expectations - She hopes to develop the skills and experience to
become a magazine publisher.
How expectations match reality - ’I sold my first ad on my fifth day and
it felt fantastic. I’ve enjoyed the training I’ve received and I like
being able to speak to clients. Two weeks after joining the company, I
went up to Birmingham for the Engineering Recruitment Show and stayed in
the same luxury hotel as Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski who we saw playing
in the Davis Cup. That was good.’
Dream media job for the future - Publisher of a business magazine.
Westwood also harbours longer-term ambitions of becoming an MP.
Job title - Market research assistant, Carlton Sales.
Employer - Carlton Television.
Date of birth - 16 June 1977.
Degree - BSc Hons Business (2:1), Manchester Metropolitan University
Background/interests - Aitken, like Westwood, hails from
Her hobbies include theatre, literature and ’going out’.
Why sales? - She worked at market research company GFK Marketing
Services during a year in industry as part of her course. This led to a
’strong interest’ in using market research to support media sales.
How she found out about the job - Through the recruitment agency The
Details of the job - Market research in support of media sales. Liaising
with the media sales teams, supplying them with the data they need when
pitching for business. ’Providing a very sound argument for why a brand
or agency should spend lots of money advertising with Carlton. We are
the people in the basement with all the knowledge,’ Aitken says.
Career expectations - She wants eventually to move in to a senior role
supporting the sales team.
How expectations match reality - ’It’s been hard work. I’ve had to
adjust a little from my pure market research background because
everything I do now has a sales dimension to it in terms of promoting
Carlton,’ she says.
’Things change a lot. The job is very dynamic, which makes it exciting
and interesting. What perhaps I don’t like is that I never spend enough
time on a project to become incredibly familiar with it.’
Dream media job for the future - ’Realistically, I’d like to head the
research unit for sales at Carlton. Less realistically, I’d like to
co-present This Morning with Richard Madeley.’
Job title - Graduate trainee.
Employer - Classic FM.
Date of birth - 25 May 1978.
Degree - BA Hons, Advertising and Marketing Communications (2:2),
Background/interests - Liddeatt grew up in Kingsclere near Newbury, and
Basingstoke. She enjoys roller-blading, art and photography.
Why sales? - ’I wanted to use my degree. I was pretty focused on
advertising and marketing,’ she says.
A six-week placement with the ad sales team for IPC’s young women’s
group - in which she found out how the media sales business worked in
relation to publications such as 19 and Mizz - helped to whet her
’I accompanied the team on visits to agencies and I found it exciting
and dynamic. I really wanted a job like that in London - I liked the
buzz.’ Liddeatt confesses to being ’smitten’ by the wording of media
sales recruitment ads.
How she found out about the job - Through the recruitment agency Fox
Details of the job - Trainee learning about airtime sales and
Career expectations - ’I expect it to be hectic, quite dynamic and
hopefully fun. I think I’ll enjoy it - I’ve had a bit of an insight into
media sales from my placement at IPC - but I’m expecting there to be
It will be quite challenging. I’d like to dabble in different kinds of
media but I’m really happy to be starting off in radio.’
How expectations match reality - Liddeatt had yet to start her job when
she was interviewed for this piece.
Dream media job for the future - Publisher of Elle.
Job title - Classified advertisement executive.
Employer - Centaur Communications.
Date of birth - 25 April 1975.
Degree - BA Hons Human Resource Management (2:2), Southampton
Background/interests - Scroggs grew up near Oxford and went to school in
Bicester. He played tennis for the county but never played with or
against his contemporary Tim Henman. ’He was too good, although Henman’s
father is my father’s solicitor,’ he says.
Why sales? - To support himself at college, Scroggs worked part-time in
telesales for Eagle Star Direct. ’I loved the sales environment and made
quite a lot of money out of it at the same time,’ he says.
He even considered going into car sales and admits that there is
’something of the Arthur Daley’ in his nature.
How he found out about the job - Through the recruitment agency The
Details of the job - Selling classified space in Creative Review.
Career expectations - ’Some people tried to put me off media sales,
saying the basic salary wasn’t much good and they weren’t making much
But I thought I could do it. I believed in myself.’
How expectations match reality - ’To be honest, I feel I’ve done quite
well so far. After three weeks of training, I was itching to get on the
phone. It took me two weeks to sell my first ad and that was a result of
chasing my own leads.’
Dream media job for the future - Magazine publisher. Outside of that,
Scroggs would like to own a restaurant/bar on the south coast.
’In a way that would be selling as well. You’ve got to communicate with
the public and try to get them to buy the expensive items like Dom
Job title - Classified sales executive.
Employer - The National Magazine Company.
Date of birth - 18 March 1977.
Degree - BA in Creative Arts (2:1), Manchester Metropolitan
Background/interests - Griffith grew up in Oldham and Barbados. Her
hobbies include writing fiction, travel and shopping. In her year out
before university she picked up 11 months’ sales experience working for
telesales outfit European Business Support. The job involved
cold-calling local companies to offer help in securing them grants in
return for a fee. ’I liked closing the deal, it gave me a buzz.
But I didn’t like picking up Yellow Pages and cold-calling Joe
Why sales? - The buzz and the challenge.
How she found out about the job - Through The Media Exchange.
Details of the job - Trainee classified sales position, working across
all NatMags’ titles. But a focus on the home interest market means
Griffith works predominantly on House Beautiful, Country Living and Good
Career expectations - She would like to move out of classified and into
display. ’This is a large company and lots of people have started on
classified and moved on to other things.’
How expectations match reality - ’I did expect the selling to be more
difficult but having your own client base helps. However, with the
magazines coming out each month, the deadlines are tighter than I’ve
been used to, which is tougher.’ Griffith says closing a large booking
still triggers a surge of excitement.
Dream media job for the future - Advertising sales director on Good