Are you energised by rapid technological change?

josh hero

If new technology is exciting rather than daunting to you, and you're a practical creative type, then you'll probably identify with Trade Me's Josh Borthwick in his roles as head of advertising and sustainability champion.

Impress tech employers with content you have created - video


Hi guys I'm here at the Trade Me office in Auckland with Josh.

So my title at Trade Me is Head of Advertising and I'm also the sustainability champ.

I think in this industry a lot of the challenges are around technology and understanding of that technology.

A lot of the challenge is learning new stuff and convincing people to try new stuff, that's another challenge as well.

What are some skills or qualities you think they need to show their future employers?

Yeah I think for advertising in particular we look for people with good technical skills and good attention to detail, they can pick up and spot errors and they're good with systems and processes.

How has the internet helped develop advertising for this world?

It's an incredibly fast-changing area, technology gets better and better, and it's enabled all sorts of advertisers to be far more targeted with their messaging to consumers.

What is a key message you would tell students who are trying to get into the tech industry?

You know, explore your passions and explore your own pet projects, and try and work on things that get out in the wild, you know that are actually live, that you can point to and show people that you've got actual things that people are using. That's really, really practical and helpful for employers.


Are you energised by rapid technological change?

“If you want to work in advertising you have to be prepared to live and breathe it because it’s a fast-paced industry”, says Josh Borthwick, head of advertising and sustainability champion at Trade Me.

“It’s a really hard industry to switch off from because so much changes all the time, and that’s one of the things I like about it. But you have to be energised by that.”

The change Josh talks about is tied up with the demands on advertising personnel to keep up with technology so they can better serve their customers.

“In this industry a lot of the challenges are around technology and the understanding of that technology. It now offers us a way to be more targeted in the messaging to our audience, which is only going to expand in the future. So you’re always learning and convincing people to try new things.”

A kaleidoscope of roles in the advertising world

With extensive work experience in the digital side of advertising and managing teams, Josh was a good fit for his role as head of advertising at Trade Me.

However, he says there are lots of different types of roles in advertising. These range from highly technical problem solving and product creation roles for software developers, to product management for those good with systems and processes, and sales for people who can easily explain technical concepts to customers.

It’s creative but be prepared for the technical challenges

Graduating with a marketing degree, Josh says his writing skills and natural bent for communicating with people meant it wasn’t long before the creative lure of advertising won him over.

“Creativity was a big part for me. A lot of creative people work in this space. Even as it gets more technically challenging you still have to use a lot of creativity to make things happen.”

Show employers what you can do

The creativity Josh talks about needs to be partnered with strong practical skills too – he says it’s what impresses employers like Trade Me the most. 

“Explore your passions and your own pet projects going through uni, but try and work on things that get out in the wild – that are actually live.”

Josh’s own Sustainability Champion title was earned from taking the initiative and starting up a project to assess how much Trade Me’s secondhand marketplace was saving the environment.

“We found that for fridges alone, we saved about eight Mt Cooks-high worth from going to landfill, and this provided the momentum for an advertising campaign celebrating Trade Me members as eco-warriors! 

“If you can point to things you’ve done, that people are using, that’s really practical and helpful for employers.”

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Updated 23 Jan 2019