It’s finally happened: you’ve completed your degree and you’re ready to hit the job market and establish your career. This is both an exciting and scary time for new graduates (or those looking to make a career change). It can be especially so for anyone looking to crack into marketing, one of today’s fastest-growing job markets. The field is competitive, so you’ll have to work both hard and smart in order to snag the job you want. Here are five things you can do to help set yourself apart from the rest of the pack and make sure your job search is a productive one.
Have a good idea of what kind of job you want
Marketing is a big field, and there’s a lot of diversity in terms of the variety of jobs that fall into the category. Before you begin your job search, you need to narrow down what kind of marketing you would like to do as a career. Are you interested in digital marketing or door-to-door? Would you rather pitch ideas directly to the public or help sell a product or service to other businesses, otherwise known as B2B marketing?
It can be tempting (especially as a new graduate) to apply and interview for whatever jobs are available, regardless of the niche, but this would be an error, since it can lead to a generic cover letter or resumé that isn’t going to make you stand out. Even worse, it could cause a potential employer to think that you’re not serious about the particular job they have to offer. It’s better to have a clear idea of the kind of job you want so you can present the most relevant impression that will make employers believe that you are the right person for the job.
Know what jobs are available
Though the marketing field is a fast-growing one, there are definitely times when certain jobs may be experiencing more of a boom than others. When you begin your job search, it will be helpful to know where the opportunities are and to keep on top of any trends that are likely to develop over the course of your search. If it doesn’t seem like there are any jobs in your ideal niche, try to find as many potential crossover opportunities as you can. That way, you don’t have to start from scratch in adjusting your resume, you’ll develop adaptable skills, and you also aren’t forced to wait until the job market swings in a different direction.
Craft a killer cover letter
When you’re in the thick of the job hunt and applying for multiple jobs every day, the thought of writing a customized cover letter for each position might sound exhausting. Is it really necessary? And does anyone even read cover letters, anyway? The short answer is yes and yes. The cover letter is still an essential part of a complete job application, and its absence – or its lack of specificity – will definitely be noted by any potential employers.
You’re applying for a job in marketing, after all, and your cover letter is your first opportunity to show what you’re made of and sell yourself. While you don’t have to write each cover letter completely from scratch, each one should at least be tailored to directly address the person leading the job search and describe specifically why you are the ideal candidate for the exact job they are trying to fill. To put the importance of the cover letter into perspective, think of it this way: your resumé is a summary of everything you have already done, but your cover letter is a description of how you plan to help your future employer achieve their goals. Which one do you think employers are more interested in reading?
Network, network, network
It may seem like networking is one of those things you do once you already have a job, but in reality, networking is very likely the key to finding your first (or next) job. At the end of the day, most new hires are either internal or based on the personal recommendation of another employee, which just goes to show that it really is all about who you know. Keep in touch with your colleagues from any former internships – they may end up being a lifeline during your job search.
Likewise, don’t be afraid to seek out your local chapter of the American Marketing Association and see what networking events they have planned – and then go to them. Try to make as many connections as possible and take any business card that is handed your way. Make sure you follow up on any possible leads, and definitely don’t feel shy about contacting people again after the networking event; after all, they were once in your very same shoes and are in the best position to help you move forward.
Job searching can definitely be discouraging at times, especially when it starts to seem like everyone else you know has found a job but you’re still searching. Don’t give up! Being persistent (but not annoying!) is key, and you never know what opportunity may be just around the corner. Follow up on your job applications with a polite phone call or e-mail, and make sure you send a thank-you note after every job interview – it can be tedious, but it may make all the difference in the world in keeping your name at the forefront of any hiring discussions. Remember that marketing is all about making sure that your product or your business is unforgettable – and in this case, the product is you. Show employers your skills by selling yourself first, and you’ll be sure to land the right job for you in no time.
Author Bio: Megan Sulewski is a freelance writer and educator currently based in Lyon, France. A former high school teacher, she now works primarily with students at the university level. She is likewise a wanna-be coffee connoisseur and perennially-disappointed Detroit Lions fan.