You’ve just graduated from a prestigious four year university with a coveted marketing degree, you have your entire post-grad life planned out. The only thing that’s left is landing a job.
You did pretty well in college — you joined some clubs and tried to stay as active as possible while also balancing internships and part-time jobs. The whole getting a job thing shouldn’t be too hard, right? Wrong. Hey, it’s not you, it’s just a tough job market, and there’s more students graduating from college every year than there are open positions in any given field.
As I reached my graduation date I thought I was prepared for what the real world was going to be like, I had done everything right in college and, like most Millennials, I assumed the perfect job would fall into my lap. I went into each interview I had lined up expecting to be offered the position. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way for me, at least not at first. Most college grads face this problem but with a few simple steps you will soon be on your way to landing the job of your dreams!
Start by boosting your resume.
With every degree, marketing included, there are things you can add to your resume beyond the standard internship and club involvement to help you stand out. With marketing degrees becoming more common, there are a few things to distinguish you from other job applicants from our friends at HubSpot.
- Get familiar with HTML/CSS – with online marketing becoming the norm, it’s imperative to have skills like this to be seen as an asset to a company.
- Know the difference between B2B and B2C – people know what the acronyms mean but truly being familiar with the difference between the two can show your interest in the company to which you are applying.
- Don’t be afraid of numbers – too many times marketing students are enamored with the design and advertising side of the business, but when it comes down to it, marketing is, at its core, about numbers and analytics.
- Apply for internships in multiple areas – having a marketing internship is great, but doesn’t set you apart. What will set you apart is having internships in different areas of marketing, whether that’s advertising or sales.
Ultimately it’s up to you to decide which area of marketing you are most interested in and start building your portfolio of skills and experience to match that niche.
Reach out to your network.
Everyone has heard the expression, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” and this is completely relevant in the job search. When you graduate, there's a good chance that your "network" is largely made up of people you'd call on Friday night. That's okay. Start with your close, personal network and create a list of individuals you can reach out to.
In her article, “10 Life Tips for New Graduates,” Kristyn Acho emphasizes the importance of reaching out to alumni networks. Instead of asking for job opportunities, she suggests asking for career advice and stories of what people have learned in the field. LinkedIn makes this especially easy by letting you search through your school’s alumni network narrowing the search down by desired city and job field.
When reaching out to your network, be professional and courteous. Networking is all about opening doors and starting conversations. In fact, 80 percent of today's jobs are landed through networking. Embrace the power of networking. You never know who could end up helping you in the future.
Ace the interview (or at least don't bomb it).
Sometimes job seekers fall into the "I have an interview" trap. People mistakenly assume an interview means an eventual job offer. Unfortunately, interviews are not mere formalities. Being invited for an interview only means the company is giving you a chance. Take advantage of this opportunity.
Confidence is key in interviews, but cockiness is a downfall. The first step after landing an interview is to research. This goes beyond basic facts that everyone knows about the company. What is the company's mission statement? What products or services does the company offer? What specific skills do you have that the company is looking for? Dig in and see what you can find and what you can relate to.
In addition to doing research you need to be prepared to answer standard questions, “Why should we hire you?” “What do you know about our company?” as well as the infamous, “What questions do you have for us?” By asking questions of your own, it displays to your interviewer that you're serious about the opportunity.
Lastly, be on time for the interview, and by on time that means 10 to 15 minutes early, so you have time to calm your nerves and get used to your surroundings. After the interview send a personal thank you note or email to each person involved in the interview.
Don't feel like you have to settle.
If you find yourself doing all of the right things and still not having luck finding a great job in marketing, don’t be discouraged! In the article, “My 10 Best Pieces of Career Advice for College Graduates,” the author, Dan Schawbel, writes that it’s important to think of your career as a series of experiences and you shouldn’t settle for a job you’re not passionate about. In Schawbel’s words, “Life is too short to settle for a career that you hate!” It’s not going to be possible to have everything you want today so it’s going to be important to position yourself for what you want in the future.
Here’s the bottom line:
- Invest in skills that will make you a valuable asset for your future employer, think beyond the classroom to get real, hands-on skills.
- Reach out to your network, find someone with a job in a city you’d like to work in and connect with them!
- Be prepared for the interview — know the company inside and out and ask questions that show your interest.
- Don’t get discouraged if the perfect job doesn’t fall into your lap, keep searching until you find a job that you will be passionate about.
Good luck, you got this!
P.S. If you're looking for a job in marketing or sales. We're always accepting applications. Head over to our careers page to see what positions we have open.