A Graduate’s Guide to Landing a Job in Marketing

This blog post was written by Penny Baldwin.

Today’s job market is a foreign landscape when compared with what it was when I graduated college from San Francisco State University. At that time, applying for entry-level job positions was about a strong resume and cover letter as opposed to what came up when someone searched your name on the Internet. As thousands of students make their ways across the college graduation stage this month and next, many of them are plagued with the question about how to secure that coveted first ‘real world’ job.

Each industry is different – an engineer will have an entirely different job-hunting process than, say, a teacher. However, for those students looking to break into the ever-evolving marketing industry in one form or another, I have outlined some helpful tips to keep in mind while applying for that dream job straight out of college.

Tie your resume back to the job description. All marketing campaigns are tied back into overall corporate communications or brand marketing goals. If you’re just throwing numbers on your resume and selecting your words based on their level of stickiness, your resume will end up in the talent manager’s trash. As a future marketer, you must show that you’re already able to think like a professional by tying experience back into the qualifications and requirements from the job posting to which you’re applying. Even if you do not have direct marketing experience straight out of college, that’s OK. Instead, tie the experiences that you do have back into marketing characteristics required in the description. For example, if you waited tables in college, frame the details so that they highlight the way that you upsold certain items or changed communication tactics based on the customer (i.e., communicating with foreign tourists is different than communicating with local regulars). For more specific resume-writing tips, I found this article to be useful.

Use social media to your advantage. Think about using social channels for your professional benefit, instead of as a tool to climb the social ladder. Social media can be a powerful weapon during a job hunt and can often be the deciding factor as to whether or not a candidate transforms into an employee. Use Twitter as an extension of the classroom and post content that educates and informs about the industry you aspire to be a part of, or participate in marketing Twitter Chats to show your interest in the space. Manage your Instagram account as a way to showcase your interests alongside creative talent and eye for design aesthetic. Follow brands, companies or agencies that you wish to be a part of on all channels as well, especially Facebook and LinkedIn. Market yourself and your skills using social media – after all, it’s free publicity for your personal brand.

Make yourself marketable. So you have a topnotch resume, squeaky-clean social media channels with engaging content, and you’ve even identified whom to properly address your cover letter to – are you a shoe-in? Not necessarily. We’re seeing a lot of young marketers and recent graduates take their personal brand one step further to clinch that top spot even before the first interview by creating an online CV, personal website or visual portfolio to put top talents and interests on display. Some great free tools for this type of thing are about.me and wix, or even Tumblr, WordPress or Blogger. Select a platform that will best showcase your work and link to it on your resume and in all of your social media profiles. Be sure to keep this site updated and really take the time to be thoughtful about the look and feel so that it portrays your personality as well as your talent.

Want to ask a question about how you (or your graduate) can be more marketable in the job search? Tweet me @PennyRBaldwin and let’s start a conversation.

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