Marketing is a very popular graduate job; it goes without saying that you will need to impress recruiters and essential ingredients will include a good mix of skills, ability and determination. It’s not all about lunching and entertaining; managing clients, budgets and projects can be challenging as well as exciting.
So what is marketing in a nutshell? Well…The marketing industry covers every aspect of selling a product, researching markets and planning how best to promote and distribute products. Marketing can be defined as being the intermediary function between product development and sales with the job of a marketing professional to create, manage and enhance the brand.
Most would say that a career in marketing is fast-paced, enjoyable and fun; a promising career path that continues to grow. Marketing careers vary greatly but most people who work in the field will tell you that it provides them with the challenge they are looking for; there is always something to learn or research. Have a think about the various roles and opportunities and how these reflect your interests and values. Are you thinking marketing agency or marketing department?
Agency roles are typically more varied within possibly more high-pressured environments. The client can’t walk over to your desk to check your progress, but it can be frustrating putting time and effort into tenders that don’t work out. Working in-house will mean you get to know the business and respond directly to their needs; however you may find yourself performing the same tasks year after year. In both cases, continuous learning is essential to maintain a competitive advantage and a qualification from a professional body e.g. The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) certainly won’t do you any harm.
In terms of getting a job, graduate schemes will normally follow a fairly standard application process – online application forms, CVs and covering letters. Specialist recruitment agencies can be helpful and I certainly wouldn’t dismiss a short-term contract that could be useful for building up experience or getting a foot in the door. Competition for roles at smaller firms can be equally fierce. Don’t forget that networking opportunities can introduce you to new people and new projects. Organising events for a society, writing newsletters, managing budgets and standing on committees all show the project management skills you’ll need for a job in marketing. Wherever you are applying, some form of work experience will give you a competitive edge and if you speak another language, don’t forget this on your application – many companies will operate in non-English speaking countries.
So what skills will you need to enter this exciting and challenging work sector?
- Creativity: Show your creative side; employers are looking for people who can use their creativity to create, manage, and enhance brands
- Innovation is prized. Are you good at generating new ideas? Can you think outside the box, identify a problem and devise an action plan to solve it?
- Communication: Can you organise your ideas and communicate them to others clearly and concisely?
- Research: Do you have strong research skills that can help you understand a situation from different angles? Marketing requires problem solving and problem solving often requires you to do some research to get to the bottom of a problem. You will have done research as part of your degree.
- Organisation: Strong organisational skills are important for any marketing job – show that you are able to balance a busy timetable, a part-time job, sport, volunteering etc.
- Commercial awareness: An understanding of the market, consumer wants and needs and the business requirements of the client are essential. Trade publications and press releases can help build up this knowledge. Recruiters will be interested in your potential as well as your experience.
- Teamwork: It’s essential that everyone works together to produce a result that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
- IT: Marketing is increasingly conducted through online channels. You must also be able to collate, store and present data effectively using IT. Can you organise and interpret complex data?
These are just the start, there are many more skills and attributes that employers will be looking for…Project management, the ability to work under pressure and to deadlines, time management, planning, decision making, independent working, logical thinking, critical analysis, presentation etc. Good luck!