Advice for finding that first marketing job
April 6, 2011
How to find that first job
It’s spring time, which means the robins, tree buds and soon to be college graduates are all popping up everywhere.
I remember how tough it was to find that first job. Everyone wanted you to have experience but no one wanted to give you that first job…so you’d get some experience!
I am often asked by college students how they can compete in a sea of “I did an internship, I got good grades, my parents are pressuring me to find a job” applicants out there.
So…for all you soon to be and recent grads — here’s my counsel (from the MMG website).
If I were you and I wanted to snare a job at MMG, here are some of the things I would and wouldn’t do. (and naturally, this applies for any job, just substitute the company specifics. And, I’d replicate this for the 3-5 places you really, really want to work.)
- Read the MMG website carefully, to get a sense of culture and tone. Be sure this sounds like a good fit for you. I know you need a job — but your first job is so important. You’ll meet your first mentor there. Or not.
- Sign up to receive MMG’s weekly e-newsletter, the Marketing Minute.
- Stay smart — keep reading advertising, marketing and social media blogs, magazines etc. You’re going to do this for your entire life — so you’d better get in the habit now.
- Follow MMG on their Facebook page and Twitter.
- Read Drew’s blog and if I really want to stand out from the pack, I would subscribe (via e-mail or RSS reader) and within a week, make an insightful, articulate comment on a post.
- Ask my friends, contacts etc. if anyone knows anyone at MMG who could make an introduction.
- Be very mindful that my cover letter/resume are the biggest demonstration of whether or not I get marketing. I would ask myself…if I were a product and MMG was the target audience…how would I sell me? How would I make myself different from all the other applicants?
- Download and read “Giving College Grads a Fighting Chance.”
- If I have a blog, I’d link to Drew’s because I know he’ll check to see who I am.
- Know that they’re going to check my Twitter, MySpace, Facebook etc. pages. So if they need cleaning up, I’d clean them up.
- If I had no relevant job experience, I would look at the job experience I did have and figure out what elements of marketing were present there.
- Join the local social media club, ad club, marketing club. Whichever is more relevant to what you love to do and your market. But start getting connected, if you haven’t already.
- If I didn’t get the job or they didn’t have any openings at the moment, but still think this is the place for me…I would stay engaged. I would keep reading/commenting on the blog. I’d drop them a note every month or so. I would become someone they notice/know.
I would not:
- Send a cover letter or resume that even slightly reads like everyone else’s.
- Rely on any cover letter/resume book. I would throw those away and refer back to my marketing text books.
- Under any circumstances tout my ability to work with people (or that I like them) as a strength or skill.
- Send anything that a pair (or two) of fresh eyes didn’t proof. A typo will get me tossed right into the “no way” pile.
- Hit send or lick the envelope until I checked and double checked the spelling of the agency, the agency owner’s name and anything else (like their clients) that I might reference. (see bullet point above)
- Try to BS my way in. Because I should expect that MMG will smell that a mile away and ask about it until I admit that I sent the same “I believe your agency is perfect for me” cover letter to 12 agencies.
- Humiliate myself. I would double check that I put the right cover letter/resume in the right envelope. (I’d hate to be the one who makes that mistake, but it has happened.)
- If I really wanted to work there, I wouldn’t give up. I wouldn’t be a stalker, but I would keep at it. I would look for ways to help them, even before I got a job there. Because I would believe that I am going to work there eventually and begin behaving like I already do.
You don’t have to do any of this. It’s your job hunt, after all.
But remember, at MMG (and most smart businesses) we hire as much for “culture fit” as we do for competency. We can teach you marketing. But we can’t teach you to be a team player. Or curious. Or passionate about our work & our clients. We’re not going to force you to be someone who believes in giving back to the community.
So along with your work and academic achievements, show us that stuff. And show us that you get why that matters. Then, we have something to talk about.
Your job is pretty straight-forward. If you’re smart and creative enough to sell us you, we know you can help our clients.