Alice Riley, a Management graduate from the University of Leeds, gives us her top tips for breaking into the world of marketing.
So you want to get into marketing? Well, that’s you and everyone else who’s graduating this year! Despite its competitiveness though, marketing is still a great choice of career. New media channels constantly emerging means that so are new roles; there are job titles in the industry that didn’t exist even 5 years ago. At Spotlight Recruitment, we help graduates secure their first marketing roles every day. So here are five things to add to your CV to make sure you stand out from the crowd.
Due to the high level of competition for graduate marketing jobs out there, it is a good idea to do some work shadowing. Equally, an internship gives you the opportunity to see if a role is right for you without having to fully commit. The best time to undertake work experience is during your university holidays, so you are a graduate with a well-stocked CV, however if you’re a bit disorganised it is also possible to start after you graduate and work your way up. You can find marketing internships by searching on sites like Indeed, the University of Leeds vacancy database or more specialist internship sites like Internwise. If you impress and the company has capacity, your internship may turn into a full-time job, but even if it doesn’t, work experience will drastically improve your CV. However, in today’s job market you need experience to get experience, so read on to find out how to get your foot in the door.
2. A Blog
Many marketing disciplines involve some elements of writing, and blogging is a key feature of the digital industry. So if you haven’t yet acquired the necessary work experience, a blog is a great way to show employers that you’re up to the job. The subject of your blog isn’t too important: you can write about food, fashion, travel, or whatever takes your fancy (although try to keep it clean and fairly non-controversial!). The important thing is to make sure it is well-written, and keep an eye on your grammar. Running a blog successfully also shows employers that you’re dedicated and can use social media effectively, which should make your CV stand out from the pile.
3. Knowledge Of The Industry
“Marketing” is a very broad term. There are so many different roles available in the industry: SEO, PPC, social media, PR, experiential… the list goes on. So before you start, it’s best to research the different subsections of the industry and decide what you want to do and why. Knowledge and passion are what will make you shine in an interview. If you’re going for an SEO role and know your no-follow links from your rel=cannonical tags, that will put you ahead of all the other candidates who have sent off a scattergun application.
4. Commercial Awareness
Marketing is a career which requires a lot of commercial awareness. A common question asked by interviewers goes something like “What’s your favourite advertising campaign you have seen recently?”, so be prepared. Look at the posters on the way to work, read magazines, watch TV, look online, think about why it will work or why it won’t. If you’re going for an in-house role, research the industry in general and the company’s competitors. If you’re interested in working in an agency, find out more about the chosen field. For example if you’re going for a social media role, make sure you have an opinion on House of Fraser’s #Emojinal campaign.
5. Interesting Extra-Curriculars
If you don’t have much experience yet, extra-curricular activities can be a great way to show employers what you can do. Voluntary work abroad during a gap year or a position of responsibility held in a society can be a great talking point during an interview, and give you the edge over the other candidates. So as you progress through university, think about how you can build up your CV and seize opportunities, and if you take a gap year, consider doing something that will impress employers.