You just graduated from college and are on the hunt for your first job. You’ve interviewed for a few entry-level positions and keep getting told you don’t have enough experience. But isn’t that the point of an entry-level job? If this sounds at all familiar to you, I can empathize. This is the exact experience I had right out of college. Entry-level positions always seemed to require a couple of years of experience. Even with internships under your belt, the process of finding a job right out of college can be frustrating. So today, I want to talk a little bit about how to get a marketing job right out of college.
HOW TO GET A MARKETING JOB RIGHT OUT OF COLLEGE
It is hard to find a job right out of school, especially if you’re a young marketing or PR professional. The competition is fierce. I was there once, applying for hundreds of jobs, going to dozens of interviews, and hearing “you aren’t a good fit for this position” over and over and over. It’s a tough field to be in, but there are a few things you can do to set yourself apart.
8 tips on how to get a marketing job right out of college:
1. Design you resumé. If you’re a marketing or PR graduate, submitting you resumé as a black and white Word document is going to immediately eliminate you from certain positions. Having reviewed many resumés and interviewed dozens of candidates for marketing positions, I know there are a few things hiring managers will immediately assume if your resumé is not designed.
First, they might assume you’re not InDesign or Photoshop savvy. If you say you’re familiar with InDesign and Photoshop on your resumé but your resumé isn’t designed, they may question whether or not you actually have experience in those programs. Second, they might think you’re perhaps not the most creative person in the job market. Third, they may think you’re not really serious about having a marketing or public relations career. If a polished outfit and professional grooming make or break a first impression in person, then a well-designed resumé will do the same on paper.
Make sure your resumé not only has great content, but that it looks incredible as well. Many entry-level marketing positions will consider it a huge bonus (and oftentimes a requirement) if you have graphic design experience, so if you’re resumé has zero design, hiring managers might pass you by for someone else.
2. Have samples of your work. Don’t show up to a marketing or PR job interview empty handed. When I was in school, we had to build a website, create press releases, design flyers, and write copy for our portfolios. If you’ve never had an internship, or if your university doesn’t require you to prepare a portfolio for graduation, dive in and create work samples on your own to show potential employers what you can do. Having good writing and design samples are going to be what get you the job, not being able to say you got an A in your advanced marketing class.
3. Build a website. And if you don’t know how to build a website, learn how to build a website. All-things digital rule marketing budgets these days, and being able to, at the very least, understand the basics of how to create a website is going to be important as you search for a marketing or PR job.
There are a ton of tutorials and resources out there to help you learn how to build a website. I have taught myself how to do many creative job functions by watching YouTube videos. It takes time to learn a new skill, but knowing how to build a website will be instrumental in helping you land a marketing job right out of college. In this blog post about how to create a comprehensive marketing plan, I lay out my favorite WordPress website builders and templates. They’re super easy to use and will help you create a professional website WITHOUT having to know any code.
4. Link to your digital portfolio. What’s even better than bringing a hardcopy of your portfolio to an interview? Having your portfolio linked to your resumé when you submit it digitally (whether it be through LinkedIn, a job board, or through email). Always bring a hardcopy of your portfolio to an interview, but having it available online will make you look digitally savvy and well prepared BEFORE you even walk in to an interview.
5. Prepare for the interview. Arriving at an interview without having researched the company is going to be obvious to the hiring manager. Know what the business does and think about how you can contribute to the company both immediately and in the long term.
6. Come to the interview with ideas. To go along with the point above, have a few ideas on how the business’ marketing and PR initiatives can improve right away―with your help. What are some quick wins you can touch on during the interview? These days, you can get a good idea of how strong a company’s marketing strategy is by visiting their website and social media accounts.
7. Look the part. The marketing and PR team within an organization is often seen as the face of the company. If you’re asking a hiring manager to make you responsible for how customers and other businesses view their company, you need to present yourself in the most polished, professional manner possible.
8. Take a job you don’t want. This one can be hard to swallow, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get where you want to go. NEVER say yes to a company that’s unhealthy, and never stay at a company with an negative culture, but sometimes you have to jump in at a business that will give you the experience you need to work somewhere you’re passionate about.
HOW TO GET A MARKETING JOB RIGHT OUT OF COLLEGE
Right when you graduate from college, you’re going to feel like you can take on the world. And you can! But sometimes the world takes a roundabout route to get to the top. How to get a marketing job right out of college? Be patient and methodical during the job-search process, and prepare, prepare, prepare.
I read somewhere that only 20 percent of people who apply for a job on LinkedIn attach their resumé. Don’t be in that 60 percent! Hiring managers are going to immediately eliminate candidates who don’t take the extra three seconds to attached their resumé to their LinkedIn profile, as it is reflective of what they can expect from their work ethic. Searching for a job is a job, so work hard at it and go the extra mile. I promise, it will pay off!
In this post about how to get a marketing job right out of college, I hope I’ve provided you with AT LEAST a good starting place. If you’re struggling to find your first job in marketing or PR, look to see if you’ve been applying the tips above in your job search. And as always, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email if you have ANY questions at all.
PS, you can find more career-related posts here. Let me know if there are any topics you’d like to see covered! I absolutely love hearing from you guys, so don’t be shy!