Computing and IT - student stories
Matt Jones, e-Commerce Executive
What is your current role?
I currently work as an e-Commerce Executive at the Visit Britain Shop, the retail division of the official British Tourist Authority. I was previously in a content role at the travel website Expedia but most of the content on that site is computer-generated, so the role at Visit Britain offered a chance to be more creative.
My office is in Victoria, London, overlooking the gardens of Buckingham Palace. I work with the retail management team and the shop executives, who each manage their own foreign-language shop on the Visit Britain Shop website. My role is comprised of content writing (product descriptions and articles/blog posts), implementing social media campaigns to help drive sales and improve the search engine optimisation (SEO) of the website, and reporting on sales, website traffic and conversion rates.
What are the best and worst parts of the job?
The best part of my job is being sent on free trips to tourist attractions before writing about them! I also like managing social media campaigns as there is an immediacy about them and it’s satisfying to see the results of a successful campaign.
The worst is wrestling with complex spreadsheets – the spreadsheets often win.
Why did you choose the OU?
The OU is respected as a high-quality institution and students from the OU are recognised as having worked hard to complete degree studies alongside full-time work and family commitments. It was great that I was able to transfer credits gained at another institution, and the OU had been recommended to me personally by family members and friends. I took DD205 ‘Living in a globalised world’, DD306 ‘Living political ideas’ and DU301 ‘A world of whose making?’ I was awarded a first class Open Degree.
How did your OU study help with this job?
It taught me time management skills and self-discipline, as I was working between 40 and 60 hours a week while also completing my OU studies. My writing skills have definitely been enhanced by OU assignments. I am sure having a first class honours degree from a leading institution made me stand out during the recruitment process.
What advice would you offer current OU students?
Start building a portfolio of work early – setting up your own blog and learning about search engine optimisation (SEO), or offering services as a guest blogger are good ideas to build up your portfolio.