I get to work with some amazing talent and do what I love all day every day

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Kelly Harlock
Audio Producer at Global Eagle Entertainment/That Classical Podcast/Classic FM
Japanese Studies BA(Hons) graduate
Now working producing audio entertainment for Virgin Atlantic and for Classic FM at the weekend, Kelly talks about how the good work ethic Sheffield fostered in her has equipped her with the tools to get herself to where she is today.

What do you currently do for a living? What does the job involve?

I actually have a few jobs these days! My day job is producing all the audio entertainment for Virgin Atlantic Airways amongst other airlines – I have a hand in all things musical on board, from producing radio shows with celebrity hosts like George Ezra or Lily Allen, to hand-picking the boarding music you hear when you walk onto the plane (amongst other bits!).

In my spare time I also produce and co-host the UK’s No.1 independent classical music podcast. It’s called That Classical Podcast and it’s getting a whole new generation into classical music by making it funny and accessible. We’ve been featured in national press and radio and have hosted events at London Southbank Centre.

Finally, I also work at Classic FM on weekends – I’m a “tech-op” which means I work with presenters, press buttons and make everything go out live and on time!

Can you tell me about your journey from graduation to where you are now?

It’s taken a long time to get here – a few months after I graduated I got a job in finance (Political Risk) working with Japanese clients. It was certainly a baptism of fire, I learned a lot but it wasn’t for me. I wanted to set myself on a more creative path, so I quit after 18 months to go and work as the Finance Officer for a famous antique violin dealer.

There were only 4 of us in this company, so I also planned events, met world-renowned musicians and wrote magazine articles. I started my podcast at this point because I was inspired to share classical music with younger people who wouldn’t usually give it a chance.

After months of hard work, the podcast really took off and I realised I loved producing audio content! I decided to leave the violin company to pursue a job in audio and was offered a role working for Audible on their new podcast project. I left that in September 2017 when my contract ended, and here I am now doing what I love!

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I think I'm in the highlight right now. I get to work with some amazing talent and do what I love all day every day: listen to music and make radio shows from scratch! I’ve also had incredibly supportive managers in the audio world who have encouraged me to grow and challenge myself – that’s been a highlight too.

How did your time at Sheffield help to prepare you for your chosen career?

The Japanese course at Sheffield definitely taught me how to work hard. It taught me that if you have a goal, it helps if you’re passionate about it but the bottom line is that you have to put in the hours to achieve it – a very useful life lesson!

Why did you choose to Study Japanese Studies at Sheffield?

Because in my opinion, it was the best course available and still is! I also really loved the vibe of the uni on the open day.

What are your favourite memories of studying at Sheffield?

Getting to know our professors and having a laugh in our lessons. And staying in the IC for about 20 hours straight writing my dissertation with all my friends around me in the same boat – terrible but hilarious. We somehow always had a great time, even when working really hard.

Do you have any tips and advice for students wishing to go down a similar career path to you?

My advice to all creative-minded graduates is this: if you have a particular interest, hobby or skill, take it and run with it.

Push it to the next level and build it into a side project you can put on your CV - write a blog, plan an event, make a podcast, start a YouTube channel! Differentiate yourself from the zillions of graduates out there.

Then please shamelessly plonk yourself in front of people’s noses – email people who inspire you or work in the area that interests you, ask them out for coffee, tweet to them, tell them about your project, ask them for career advice.

Be confident (and polite) and ask-ask-ask! If you don’t ask then you don’t get, and people are usually more than willing to help you out if they think you’re a hard worker.

Pursue each opportunity even if you’re not convinced it will lead somewhere – something will click one day and all the hard work will pay off. All the above got me into my dream job(s) – good luck!

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