Emma Murray

Emma Murray
Not knowing what path to take after university can be a daunting and alum Emma Murray assures students that not having your career steps planned can be a blessing.

It’s summer 2016 and management with marketing graduate Emma Murray walks the His Majesty’s theatre stage ready to set onto her future path. But unlike many of her fellow graduands, Emma wasn’t heading to the office nine to five but gearing up to travel in search of her next steps.

She knew that she wanted to work in a marketing role but with the oil and gas downturn causing a scarcity of graduate roles, she decided to scratch a growing travel itch.

She shared: “The path isn’t always straight forward and clearly mapped out when you leave university. You might get to the end of your four years and not have a clue about what you want to do, and that’s ok. Going travelling was great for me to reset and think clearly about what my next steps could be.”

Looking back to those months coming up to graduation, Emma wished someone told her not to stress about not knowing where to go after leaving university.

“There’s plenty of time to land that dream job. What’s important is getting that exposure to different experiences and tasks, trying different things is really going to help you find your niche.

“Not everyone is fortunate enough to have that clear-cut job role ready for them to apply for. Just have an open mind and take opportunities when they come. That’s what’s going to help guide you down the right career path for you.

“I was so focused on finding that marketing role that ticked all the boxes but, in reality, finding a job like that fresh from university is a bit of a long shot. Working in different roles not related to my degree gave me invaluable experiences that helped make my direction clearer.

“I worked in procurement for TotalEnergies for my university placement and this gave me invaluable experience, albeit not directly related to marketing.

“Your degree is so valuable but don’t let a role you pass you by because it’s nothing to do with your degree. Give it a chance, you may be surprised.

“For me, finding that enjoyment and passion for a role was key and everything seemed to fall into place after that.”

Emma spent 15 months travelling South East Asia and Australia, working various roles seeing her work as an administration and finance assistant and a waitress at a restaurant below Sydney Opera House.


She returned to Aberdeen in 2018 to work in marketing and communication roles, seeing her through the Covid-19 pandemic until she spotted the perfect role.

“When I saw the Communications Manager role come up at Sport Aberdeen, I was like, ‘now this is perfect’. I absolutely love sports and I’m passionate about fitness, so it really was a dream match.

“I could really get my teeth into the role too and specialise solely on comms. When you work in marketing and comms, wearing many hats isn’t uncommon. You’re the words person, the social media guru, the designer, the photographer – the list goes on and comes with many plates to spin. It’s great to have a broad skillset but not being thinly spread gives you that time to be strategic.

“And working in comms is something that definitely requires a lot of strategy, and comes with its own number of plates to spin of course. In my role, I handle all the press side of things, working with journalists and writing press releases in addition to writing our own blogs, website content and email communications. There’s definitely a lot to talk about.

“And then all the great things that are happening across the organisation then feed into our quarterly newsletters – Active News – which I write. My role also focuses on writing award entries for Sport Aberdeen and pulling together the content for the charity’s Annual Report.

“Now over a year and a half into the job, it’s great to have a year’s catalogue of work to look back on, take stock and evolve our content. It’s a nice and rewarding process.”

Set up in 2010, Sport Aberdeen delivers sport facilities and activities across the city to get people, of all ages, more active. Welcoming two million customer visits each year across its 31 venues, it’s the biggest sport and leisure provider in North East Scotland. Emma had a good understanding of Sport Aberdeen before starting with the charity but after a few weeks, she discovered the wider impacts of the organisation.

“I remember being blown away by the ripple effect our Active Lifestyles programme has” she shared. “I knew the programme was focused on working with the elderly and members of the public with long-term health conditions, but I didn’t realise how our part worked to relieve pressures on the NHS.

“Our work takes a huge strain away from the physio departments and other NHS services that don’t have the capacity to deal with the volume of referrals. Discovering our piece in the puzzle was fascinating to me and the value of our services.”

Reflecting on her role with great positivity, it’s evident that Emma’s passion for what Sport Aberdeen does fuels her enjoyment for the role.

“It helps that I feel that passion. Especially in marketing and comms, having that core interest is a huge asset when promoting something and it’s nice to feel that passion.

“I may not be the person that’s directly delivering our sports and fitness classes or services, but doing my part to share our impact plays to the same shared goal. It’s a great environment to work in.”

It’s safe to say that Emma is content with her career path after a few years of exploring her options. When asked to share her words of advice to future graduates, she said it’s all about “removing that pressure”.

“The only person who’s watching your career steps is you, no one else.

“The right opportunity will come, just give it time. Patience is key, but it’s a skill and that’s a big thing I’ve learned since graduating.”

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