Welcome back to another interview in the #Startingout series. A set of interviews with recent graduates sharing their experiences, giving tips and guidance on starting your career after University.
#Startingout career profile with Rich Hawkins
Rich is the Brand & Editorial manager for Netflix UK & Ireland in London having graduated with a degree in Public Relations from Bournemouth University. Since graduating he has spent time at Weber Shandwick, Fever PR and now Netflix.
I actually came across Rich a few weeks ago when he gave a lecture on content marketing and I knew his honest approach would be a great fit for this series.
LE: What made you decide to go into PR/Communications?
Rich: The honest answer about how I ended up in comms is that after finishing school I desperately needed some time to figure some things out, so rather than take the place I’d been offered at Bath to study English I decided to give myself a year off. I spent the year working for a bank and having a lot of fun outside of work but realised towards the end it was very much not the job or life for me. Having worked that much out I needed to decide what else to do so I grabbed a prospectus from Bournemouth Uni, picked the course that sounded most up my street (PR) and called them to see if I could get a place on the course. I started two weeks later. Having done a PR degree and a year-long placement in a PR agency I graduated and jumped right back in again.
I appreciate that is a long series of decisions made with little consideration but it has worked out brilliantly. Not overthinking life is my way of being and it seems to work.
LE: What sector do you currently work in and what kind of things do you do?
Rich: I have bounced about a bit in my seven years of work. I started in B2B technology PR, moved into consumer tech, went into pan-EMEA consumer campaign work and then kind of by accident moved more into social and content and away from PR. Right now I’m at Netflix in a Brand & Editorial role, which is a mix of social media and brand campaign work.
I do all kinds of things. I’m one of two people in charge of Netflix UK owned channels, so day to day it’s a lot of copywriting and reactive content stuff. On top of that, I lead on brand-focused campaigns that tend to start on our owned feeds before travelling into press or marketing channels. An example would be our recent Made in the UK project, which is all about celebrating British Netflix talent. It started on our YouTube and social feeds before shifting to Tan’s channels and UK press. It’s less about “my job is to do stuff on x channels” and more about addressing business issues with great creative and using the best channels to reach the right people.
LE: What do you enjoy most about working in the sector you do / communications?
LE: How and when did you find your first graduate job?
LE: If you could go back to yourself in final year, what tips would you give yourself / what would you tell yourself?
LE: What is the biggest lesson or challenge you’ve learnt or come across in your career since leaving University?
LE: Who inspires you?
“Doing a placement, or work experience if that isn’t an option, is so valuable”
“You have to adapt. The way people consume media, watch videos or chat is constantly evolving and you have to keep up. That isn’t easy but you need to really know how people are behaving so you can work out ways to talk to them in a way that feels natural”
Rich Hawkins, Brand & Editorial Manager, Netflix
Having worked in social media during my placement year, hearing Rich talk about how Netflix manage their channels was really insightful. His comment on needing to constantly adapt did make me think, things are moving so fast and it’s incredibly important to keep up in order to keep brand messages natural and effective.
Thank you Rich for taking part and sharing your wisdom with us this week!
Stay tuned for next week’s interview!