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Here's the Scoop: Ruth Haffenden

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

Ruth is the Global Head of Brand and Marketing at Boody

1. Why did you choose advertising/marketing as a career path?

I was always interested in people, how their minds worked and why they made the decisions they did. After undertaking a degree in Psychology I was looking for a way to put that curiosity to good use outside of a clinical environment, alongside my innately creative side - advertising felt like the perfect playground.

2. What's the best advice you'd give to your younger self who's just started their career?

Trust your gut. It's usually right.

3. What do you look for when hiring young people?

Passion for their craft. Meeting someone who genuinely loves the subject area, is immersed in it and is constantly looking for ways to push the boundaries of it; for me, trumps tenure, academics or formal training every time.

4. How do I make my resume stand out?

Give it some personality! Write in a tone of voice that is true to you, link to some of your work, add quotes from references or past co-workers, list out your skills in an easy to find sidebar, include your outside interests (within reason). Make it impossible to not get the sense of you from anyone reading it. People hire people, make sure whoever is reading your resume gets to me you, not a template.

5. What skills have been most beneficial for you?

Prioritisation. I remember one of my first ever bosses, saying to me "you will never get to the end of your to do list, you need to get better at deciding whats at the top", honing that skill (and the people and politics management that comes with it) is something I take with me into every day and something I will never stop wanting to be better at.

6. Do you need a degree?

No. Degrees are still held in high regard by some employers as useful marker of a candidates understanding of, and dedication to the subject area. However the view of degrees as mandatory is quickly becoming viewed as outdated, and rightly so. Candidates who are self taught, have vocational training or even just a clear raw talent and ambition are just as likely to get themselves an interview as those with degrees.

7. What was a key lesson you learnt in your career to date?

Shut up and listen. Ok I’ve paraphrased. If you haven't heard Oscar Trimbolli

talk about ‘deep listening’ (or read his book “how to listen”), make the time to go and find it, and actively practice it. We are all so busy thinking that communication is about what you say, but it’s actually about what you hear and how you respond. That insight has probably had one of the biggest impacts on my life both at work and at home.

8. Have your reasons for joining the industry changed over time?

Not really. I got into the industry to continue my pursuit of understanding what drives people. Drives them to do what they do, think what they think, buy what they buy. I think there are times when I might have lost sight of this, become distracted by the budgets, the politics, the hustle to get stuff done,;but the reason I started by career in marketing, is undoubtedly still the one that still gets me up in the morning.

9. Have you ever failed? How did you react?

I failed the first year of my A-levels (ATARs as you Australians call them). Big time. I deserved to fail, I got out what I put in - close to nothing. That experience taught me a lot. I knew I never wanted to feel failure like that again. It has driven me to put in as much as a I want out every single time. Everything is pretty simple when you look at it like that.

10. If you had the chance to re-do your career knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

Nothing. It has been far from perfect, but I firmly believe that everything I learned along the way led me to the next place. I don't think I'd have made some of my best decisions if I hadn't had the chance to learn from the bad ones.

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