Do I need to say at this point that the job market is competitive?
If you’ve graduated college and are looking for your first “adult job,” then I’m sure you already know that.
The field of marketing encompasses a vast variety of job titles and descriptions. That said, it’s important to train yourself to be well-rounded in terms of marketing skills. And I’m telling you this because so often people don’t do it.
Rather, they focus hard on one aspect of marketing and don’t take time to learn a different trade. If you teach yourself about more than just your focus skill (PR, advertising, etc.), you will slay the application process because you can be trusted for multiple tasks should the need arise.
There is a lot to experiment with in the marketing world. Like I just said, it’s huge and covers a variety of occupations. Anything you learn could end up helping you at one point or another, and the more you know, the more opportunities you will be given.
A little goes a long way. So get on the ball, learn some new things, and get your name to the top!
The art of creating a great physical appearance in advertising is very important, and now days Photoshop is more or less the universal standard.
Adobe offers a free month-long Photoshop trial, and if you’re disciplined you can learn a lot in that month. Additionally there are some great online classes and YouTube tutorials you might want to seek out, as it’s not the easiest program to get a hang of.
But again, it’s the industry standard, and every company needs advertising. Every company has to make some last minute changes sometimes too, and you should be a viable option for that job should it come up and a designer is out of commission.
“But other people know how to do this, in fact a lot of people do!” you might be saying. I understand where you’re coming from, so let me throw another curve ball at you.
Say you’re in charge of a marketing campaign and you have to consult with an advertising designer. How much more quickly and efficient will it be if you know how to speak their language? I have found it much easier to network with designers too, if you at least have an inside idea of how they do their job.
2. Excel Experience
One of the most sought after areas of expertise and experience I found in the job hunt was being able to use Microsoft Excel. Furthermore, I end up using the program quite a bit – every day even.
And I’m not handling numbers or finances, either. This skill is invaluable because Excel is so close to the heart of many jobs and so many people don’t know how to use it.
If I was a high school teacher, I would make sure my students knew how to use it before getting to college, even. If you don’t have the money for Microsoft Office you can learn on Google Drive (Sheets) as well, since there are only a few significant differences.
Being able to put together and organize a spreadsheet will transcend to every part of the business world — calculating payments, counting inventories, organizing schedules and shifts.
I’m telling you, it saves employers a lot of time to not have to teach this skill to those they hire, and enough people don’t know it. So if you don’t know how to use Excel, learn it, and leap frog your way to the top of that resume list.
3. A Contact List
Networking takes time, and certain jobs in the marketing – particularly public relations (PR) work – require building a lot of personal connections.
If you want to add “Public Relations” to your resume, I recommend making a contact list. You don’t need to necessarily have personal relationships with everybody on your contact list yet, but the hope is that the more work you do, the more these relationships will develop.
The rules of networking are basically the same everywhere: seek out opportunities to meet people (especially in person), keep in touch, and make your interactions short and meaningful.
Having an established contact list is great for freelance too, especially if it’s one you made outside of your employer’s regulations (meaning you can use it elsewhere).
For instance, I do freelance PR for a record label out of California, and I was able to get into this field through a list of contacts I’d already made doing my own record label.
Showing you are able to reach people or seek out contact information, which is a time consuming task that many people don’t have the patience for, proves your drive and potential.
Even if you’re not going to be doing public relations, having networking credibility gives your potential employers something valuable they can use you for should they need to. In other words, you become more of an asset the more connected you are.
4. Business Strategy Experience
In my college business capstone, we were required to put together a business plan for a fake business as a group project. Personally, I did the accounting, and I severely messed it up for our presentation. While this was embarrassing, I learned a lot. And as well, the fact that I worked on a business plan at all has sometimes come up in interviews.
Many business capstone and undergraduate classes require something like this. However, maybe yours didn’t. If that’s the case, I recommend doing your own research on how to put together a detailed business plan. Highlight the marketing strategy, as that is the field you’re going into. Then I would say it’s time for you to look into an internship.
5. Internship Experience
I did not do an internship before leaving college, but I really wish I had. In fact, when my sister called to ask me if she should add an internship onto her extremely busy schedule, I told her it was essential. I know what you’re thinking.
“Aren’t internships usually unpaid?” Yes, internships often do not pay monetarily. However, they often offer a great experience and are a major asset in the job search.
See, with an internship listed on your resume, you will be able to demonstrate to employers that you haven’t just learned how to do the tasks required of you, but that you have already done them before. Basically, they allow you to tell potential employers that you can do a job better than other applicants by sheer merit.
You have experience. And most of the college grads they have applying do not. So don’t overlook unpaid work, if you can afford it. It is totally worth your time and no money now can mean a lot of money in the future.
What did you do to make your resume stick out? What unusual skills did you employ to make yourself a wanted hire? Let us know in the comments.