Tips for finding a graduate job in Marketing

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I'm only a couple of years into my career so I still remember leaving uni and being completely overwhelmed at the prospect of what to do next. People always told me they thought I'd suit a job in PR, but that along with Marketing wasn't something I knew anything about about. During my course I did a module on it and knew from that point it was something I'd love to do full time but when I left I realised - so did a lot of other people. There are a lot of opportunities around but it's hard sorting through them to find the right one for you - so I thought I'd share the benefit of my few years in the biz just in case anyone else was considering it.

Which discipline? 

There was a time where marketing simply meant TV and print campaigns but in this digital age the biggest opportunities are actually more technical skills. 'Above the line' marketing still exists so that would encompass traditional areas like print and TV - for this a creative spark and a background in design really help. You could also include PR/events in this - which is largely about building and managing your businesses reputation externally. Then there's 'Below the Line' which is essentially digital. This could be email campaigns, blogging, social media which is still on the creative side - then technical areas such as SEO (search engine optimisation) and PPC (pay per click) which involve a lot of analysis to help the business gain visibility online.

Agency or In House?

The next big question to ask yourself would be whether you're looking to work for an agency or in house. Agencies tend to be very specialised and handle work for a number of businesses at once who might not have the time, skills or contacts to do it themselves. The work will be extremely fast paced and results driven so you will be really dedicated but for that you'll have a really varied workload. I've never worked in an agency (maybe one day) so I don't know how 'Mad Men' it really is but I work with both a content and a PR agency in my job and they definitely bring a fresh approach.

Both marketing roles I've had have been in-house which really lets you get immersed in your product and really understand the market, the challenges and the objectives of everything you do. It's likely you will have more chance to do a more general role so working in house can be great when you're starting out - I've managed to get a really nice mix of PR, events, copy writing and digital campaigns which really helps keep your options open when career planning and helps you understand how the whole machine works together. Challenges with working in house can come from having to manage the expectations from people all around the business.

How to set yourself apart

So once you know what you want to do, and where you want to do it - it's really about setting yourself apart from the pack. Unfortunately, particularly in PR, nepotism and intern culture is really rife so if you don't 'know' anyone and you can't live with parents and commute to a big city it can be hard to get a fair foot on the ladder. I couldn't afford to do an internship, and I had no connections so I had to fight to show I was worthy and I could do what was being asked.

> Show your passion
START A BLOG! I can't stress that enough. Blogging actually embodies so many of the skills needed for a career in Marketing (writing, good eye, self promotion, technical know how) and is a great talking point. Especially if you're looking to work in a particular sector - writing and following blogs is a great way to keep on the button with it. I would also recommend subscribing to trade newsletters like Marketing Week, Mashable, The Drum, Brand Republic.

> Get your face out there
Set up and Linkedin Profile As well as being a place to actually look for jobs, Linkedin is intended as a business social network so that when you meet people through work you can connect and stay in touch - it's a small world and it pays to get your face out there. I also find it useful to look at people in jobs I'd love to do and see how they got there! I also like to find and follow people on Twitter who's work I particularly admire because you never know when you might get the chance to chat.

> Get skilled up
If you're looking for a job you might have a lot of time on your hands, and that is a great time to brush up on some skills you might not have. The first one I'd say is Google Analytics - if you have a blog you will be probably already be familiar with this but it's basically a way to measure people on your website and what they're doing when they get there and there's not a day when I don't use it. Other good skills which you could get to grips with at home are SEO basics, HTML or Photoshop.

> Be creative
Recruiters can get over 100 CVs for a single low level marketing position so you want yours to stand out. ALWAYS personalise your cover letter - and taking a risk to stand out can really pay off. When I'm applying for a PR job I always make my cover letter a press release and already you've shown you have a crucial skill needed for the position. Another great idea I saw from Zoe London, for applying for a job with Birch Box she created her own 'Zoe Box'. This kind of thing is memorable and shows you really care about the particular job and you're not just churning out applications.

Okay time to wrap up this lengthy post now but hopefully if you're considering a Marketing job this might have helped. I've never done a 'career' post before but I love talking about my work so if this is something useful then let me know in the comments and I can maybe answer more questions.

Until next time!


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