Monday, 20 January 2014

Preparing for a career in Marketing

We frequently receive enquiries in regards to vacancies, internships and work experience.  Last week we received a request from a young man who is preparing to go to Uni and he just wanted some advice in regards to preparing for a career in marketing.

Read on for my views on the following key areas:
  • Choosing the right course
  • Identifying the type of role you'll enjoy & excel within
  • Building relevant experience (vital!)
  • Marketing yourself
  • Using social media to boost not destroy your appeal
  • Building your own network of contacts
  • Finding ways to stand-out from the crowd

Course Choice
Focus on a Marketing related course or Business Studies at the very least. In my opinion and from what I've seen in my career, there’s no substitute for relevant experience in the work place. Your degree will definitely be a foot in the door but after that it’ll come down to your passion and ability to achieve results.

What Type of Marketing Role Do You Want?
Technology is helping to create new specialist roles all the time so think about the type of career/job you'd enjoy and excel at.  Are you an organised person who would love to create huge events or do you enjoy technology and want to play a part in helping companies engage people online?  This is where your early experiences will really help - there's nothing like working within a team and covering a few areas to focus the mind.

When you go in to marketing you’ll likely be either client side (i.e. working within a Marketing department for a company) or Agency side (where you’ll be servicing various clients – potentially in different industries). Have a think about what you like the sound of – agencies tend to bring the variety, buzz and fast pace (often with long hours if you want to make an impact) whereas going client side has a more steady (yet not necessarily any less pressurised) flow to it - often focused on maximising results from agencies.  It all depends on the company and what you enjoy doing and whether you feel you'd progress better within a large or small team.

Build-up Relevant Experience
Make sure you focus on building experience during your time at Uni.  Outside of any paid work you may achieve, get involved with any clubs/associations that need help to boost their marketing and look for internships/jobs during the summer breaks.  It's often the case that employers want to see experience on your CV, even if you've only just graduated, so go out and make things happen - even if it's in un-paid roles, you can still achieve success to showcase in the future.  Whether you're helping the student union market their events, helping local businesses get on social media & build a following or working in more relevant roles during the holidays, build a case study to present to potential employers and be able to provide references.

Marketing Yourself
In today’s market place you've got to keep focused, resolute and active when taking your CV out to potential employers.  Too many people write an email or fill in an application and rely solely on that and give-up if they don’t hear back. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback – someone wrote to me to enquire on her application progress and it turned out her CV hadn’t actually reached me. As a result of that follow-up though, she ensured it did and she actually ended up getting a job.

What Does Your Social Media Profile Say About You?
Social media is there to be sociable but when it's public, you've got to focus on using it as a positive way to demonstrate your interests and personality in a way that would engage a potential future employer. So think about that and use it as a way to add credibility, not put anyone off.

Get Connected
Where you get jobs or experience and meet professionals, add them on LinkedIn, Twitter etc. – you never know who could come in handy in the future and it enables them to follow your progress too.

Standing Out From The Crowd
When your CV lands on a potential employers desk you need to expect it to be alongside many others - so think about how you can make it stand-out.  Consider the design and whether you have enough to create a website or blog to add further insight in to the key areas. If you get involved in clubs/associations or have ideas for yourself, don’t be afraid to put a website together (there are plenty of free website builders these days) and start marketing it yourself . Consider how to get Google to take notice of it, how to utilise social media to gain attention and use google analytics to understand more about what’s taking place on a daily basis. Regardless of your CV, making something happen will help you stand out from the crowd. It’s not about having to create the next facebook but it’s about showing an aptitude to learn and develop a skill-set which will form the basis for your career. Technology and opportunities are evolving every day so make the most of them.

I hope this helps provide you with key areas to be mindful of going forward.  Be proactive and keep focused on improving as there are definitely employers who will see those characteristics as vital components.

Good luck and if you have any questions or advice to add, feel free to add comments below.

Chris Lunn 

Director 
Digity Marketing

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