There are now more graduates leaving university than ever before – and more seeking careers in marketing, communications and digital media than in any other occupation/sector. So how can you stand out from the crowd and enhance your ‘buyability’ to an employer?
The largest single change in the marketing profession over the past 10-15 years has been the move towards specialisation. Employers increasingly require specialist skills in a particular marketing discipline, rather than a talented all-rounder. Whether it is CRM, digital marketing, category management, research, events or marcomms – it is likely that at some point you will get the chance to make that big career jump by demonstrating a thorough knowledge in your specialist field.
All areas of marketing have their own professional bodies and representative organisations. The Chartered Institute of Marketing is the largest in the UK and provides a wide range of vocational training, including diplomas and certificates in most marketing disciplines. Courses can be taken part-time or short-course format at a variety of locations throughout the northwest. Module exemptions are usually available for graduates or holders of other relevant qualifications.
Other accredited UK professional marketing bodies which provide professional guidance, vocational training and membership benefits include:
It’s well known many employers now check out prospective employees via Google, Facebook and other social media, to get a handle on a job applicant’s personality and interests. There’s no need to change everything about your online profile just to try to impress an employer, but be aware that when you post a blog or a tweet, it can end up being seen by almost anybody. Blogging is a great way to showcase your skills, experience and ideas but it can also be addictive. Be careful not to overdo it. An employer may take extensive blogging as a sign that you are liable to prioritise social media over your career.
Recruitment agencies and job boards can play an important part in helping to launch your career, but take care how you use them both.
- Agencies: Select carefully and make sure you manage them! They are your agent. You are their currency and their means to earning a living! It’s best to establish contact with a particular consultant and thereafter deal through them on a personal level. Don’t be afraid to chase for updates (weekly – or maybe fortnightly – is probably about right). Remember that the consultant has dozens or even hundreds of candidates on their agenda at any one time. Human nature dictates that you react to the ‘urgent’, i.e. the phone ringing or the person who is chasing you. Hence if you keep yourself at the top of the recruiter’s mind, then they are more likely to think of you when an appropriate job comes around.
Don’t let agencies pressurise you into registering solely with them. There is no justification for that whatsoever. But don’t overdo it either. Register only with as many recruiters as you feel comfortable with – i.e. as many as you can manage effectively. And don’t be bullied into telling recruiters what jobs you are applying for via other sources. It’s none of their business! But you should also be aware that some jobs are put out to multiple agencies and, consequently. a recruiter may be de-motivated from putting you forward if they think they only have, say, a one-in-six chance of placing you, because they know you are signed up with other agencies instructed on the same project. In such a situation you may be asked to nominate the agency that you wish to be represented by, for the particular vacancy.
Online Job Boards:
There are dozens of job-sites nowadays, ranging from the reputable, legally-observant ones to the small sites that give the impression of being bigger and make extravagant boasts as to their influence. Be careful where you leave your CV online. Once you hit ‘send’ you have effectively lost control of where it may land – and for what reason. In 2009 at least one UK job-site was successfully prosecuted for illegally selling candidates’ personal details for third-party marketing purposes. It was thought to be just the tip of the iceberg. So make sure you read the small print and contractual details of a job-board before you put your personal details up into the ether.
And when you secure a role don’t forget to tell the recruiters you have registered with that you are no longer actively looking. Ensure that they remove you from their current lists and you will thus avoid embarrassing calls or emails when you are in your new job. And of course most importantly, make sure you de-register fully from job-boards. Don’t leave your CV online after you have started your new job. Read the small print on your online registration agreement to ensure that you have removed your details fully and effectively (not just ‘temporarily deactivated’ it). The odds are that it mightl still be visible – and circulated to recruiters – if you have failed to remove it entirely.
Nobody wants to work for nothing but an unpaid internship or short period of voluntary work can look good on a CV. It can be a great way to accumulate experience of an industry you want to target for a career – especially creative or PR agencies. Many companies also operate paid Internships, including some clients of ours – and we have seen candidates offered a permanent job upon completion of an internship.
One good piece of advice regarding your internship is to begin by ensuring the employer outlines for you a proper agenda and/or work programme, perhaps rotating you around different departments. Prompt them to take ownership of the process and, by being proactive in such a way, you will avoid being shoved in a corner to do administration instead of gaining more meaningful work experience.
It’s over 30 years since PM Margaret Thatcher courted controversy by telling job-seekers to “get on your bike” to go and find work. That approach is no longer seen as necessary, but in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive job market, there remain ways in which you can put yourself ‘ahead of the curve’. For instance, why not consider temporary contracting as a way to get a foot in the door. It is the perfect opportunity to take an extended look at a prospective employer – and of course, vice-versa. We offer an attractive financial incentive to clients who take our candidates on an initial temp’/interim contract, meaning that as soon as a permanent role becomes available at the company, our temp’ candidate is in pole position to be offered a job.
As an interim contractor with our client you would be employed by us and paid an agreed daily rate (minimum unit half-a-day) – including an entitlement to holiday pay from the start and other benefits.