Master of Marketing students at the University of Sydney are well aware that marketing is essentially about providing value. We wouldn’t dream about competing in the marketplace without a marketing strategy. So why should looking for a marketing job be any different?
It may require a little more effort on your behalf, but the time and energy invested will give you a higher ROMI when you land the marketing job that you are really passionate about.
1. Know what kind of role you want
How is a hiring manager supposed to know if you are the right candidate for the job, if you aren’t even sure yourself. Knowing what type of role you want is the most important thing to do before applying for a job. This can be quite difficult for marketers in particular because we generally have diverse skills across disciplines and we enjoy many aspects of marketing.
But even if you aren’t yet sure where you want to specialise or focus, the first step is knowing where your strengths lie. Ask yourself, ‘What am I interested in and what am I good at?’ If you apply to every role that has marketing in the title, you may end up doing a job that you aren’t that passionate about. Or worse yet- you could end up doing something that isn’t aligned to your career goals.
Do you want to work on the agency or client side of the business? Have you identified the industry you want to work in? What are you career goals for the next ten years? What areas do you need the most experience in if you want to be a CMO? These are all questions you need to be asked yourself sooner rather than later.
TIP: Get a sheet of paper and fold it in half. On one side, make a list of all the job responsibilities that you like and on the other side write those that you don’t like. Then only apply for the jobs that list a good number of the responsibilities that you enjoy.
If you are fresh out of uni and have little experience outside of class, even if you did excel, there’s a pretty good chance that you still aren’t qualified for upper-management positions. While some may have the prior experience to qualify for Manager, Director and Vice President of Marketing level roles, if you don’t have at least 3-5 years experience working in a similar function, you probably should adjust your expectations.
These types of roles require leaders who are experienced in managing and motivating teams as well as a good understanding of office politics and the organisational hierarchy. But don’t worry! You will get there, and when you do you will have worked hard to learn the skills to successfully execute the role.
It’s one thing to have ideas, as many of us do, but it’s another thing entirely to be able to successfully launch and and market different products and services. Nothing compares with actual experience in a real work environment. We don’t automatically deserve to be a CMO just because we have a degree from the University of Sydney. We have to earn the role.
3. Start building the skills you need for the position
There are more ways to show how you can add value to a company other than the traditional route. By being proactive and demonstrating that you have drive and passion, you can increase the interest in your profile. Wouldn’t it be nice to pick and choose who you want to work with? Standing out from the crowd should be your objective when it comes to applying for jobs. Going that extra mile will give you both leverage and the differentiating factor to show that you are a candidate than can provide value to the company.
- Start learning the skills necessary for the job you want- whether that be by interning, self-learning or getting involved in side projects.
- Go to networking events and conferences where high profile players in the industry will likely be present.
- Get your LinkedIn page up to date, write and request referrals, and hone your personal brand.
- Follow the companies you want to work with, influencers, key players in the industry and join groups that reflect your interests.
- Write blog posts related to the role, job function or company you want to work with and then cold email their CEOs or CMOs.
- Create a growth strategy for the company you want to work at and then go one step further and email the results to the CEOs
- Write a 90-day marketing plan for companies as it’s usually one of the steps in the interview process for higher level positions.
- Research a company’s long-term and short-term goals and cold email the CEO and Head of Marketing about how they can achieve their goals.
- Contact the hiring manager or someone in the marketing department of a company you want to work for on LinkedIn and ask to chat about their experience. This helps to form a relationship so later you can ask them for a referral.
Take for example these two examples of eye-catching creative resumes:
According to the Australian government’s ‘Job Outlook’ report (2014-2019), the Advertising and Marketing sector is expected to increase its demand for qualified professionals by over twenty percent. It may be a godsend for an already saturated industry, but with the influx of undergraduates to compete with, how do you justify to a hiring manager that YOU are the right candidate? You can write it in a CV or cover letter, you can dazzle them in the interview, but without the proof to back up your claims, you really have no leg to stand on.
Take for example, Nina Mufleh, whose dream was to work for Airbnb. After failing the traditional job seeker route, she decided to create a resume that displayed her knowledge of Airbnb and the travel industry, and that highlighted a business opportunity that Airbnb was missing out on. She then tweeted the CEO and CMO of Airbnb the resume, got a response, and landed an interview at the company along with interviews at Uber and LinkedIn. It really does pay to go the extra mile.
5. Don’t bluff your way through the interview
Finally, the last piece of advice I can give you is to be authentic during the interview process. If you’re asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, don’t lie or bluff your way through it. You will be respected more if you answer honestly.
According to Benji Hyam from Grow and Convert, ‘Hiring managers would rather hear that you don’t know how to do something and have you express your willingness to learn over listen to you fumble over an explanation from a blog post that you read the night before your interview.’
Instead , show them concrete examples of what you can do and what you have done. Come with printed examples of your work, or bring along an iPad to whip out and demonstrate your know-how. Show them case studies, blog posts you’ve written, figures to demonstrate your success on other projects. You can say things like ‘I increased leads by x%’. Or ‘I increased our conversion rates from x% to y% and it had z impact on the company’. Then show them the evidence to back it up.
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School