How to maximize your job search, preparation and success

Tips for getting into marketing from Georges Petrequin, Marketing Manager, SymbaSync.

I was a few months away from completing my undergraduate degree, and I was actively looking for a job.

As many people know (or will soon find out) securing a job prior to graduating university isn’t a fun process. It’s time consuming, and could take time away from your university work which still remains high on your list of priorities. It also comes with a relatively large dose of stress.

At this point, I wasn’t exactly sure what kind of role I wanted, or what my ideal type of company to work for was. I knew I wanted to go into marketing, but there are many different paths that can be taken.

After looking at lots of job descriptions and vacancies, it was clear that I still needed to add some skills to my toolbox in order to stand a chance of getting a graduate job that I actually wanted. While university courses had already taught me the core fundamentals of what marketing is, and past work experience had taught me valuable transferable skills, I was still missing some key elements from my job applications.     laptop showing graphs

So, how did I make sure I had some of the practical and relevant aspects of an application that companies are looking for in order to start getting interviews?

There’s a vast range of ways to boost your chances of getting a job interview.

What I found was that showing proactiveness and a willingness to learn more about the subject outside of university was key to getting more interviews.

After all, employers don’t expect you to start a graduate job as an expert on the subject. As well as being there to benefit the business, you’re there to learn and grow. But you need to show employers you’re ready for this!

As I was applying for marketing jobs, it’s relatively straightforward. There is an extremely low barrier gaining valuable marketing knowledge thanks to the wealth of free knowledge available on the internet.

You can start by learning about tools that are industry standards, such as Google Analytics, Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Hubspot, and many more. Here is a link to Google’s Academy for Ads (which includes the Google Analytics Individual Qualification certification, and more) which is a great place to get started.

It’s unlikely that you’ll learn much about these tools from university courses, but it’s something you’ll almost certainly need to learn at some point in your career, particularly if you work for a smaller business or a startup who will have smaller marketing teams.

All of these tools have certifications to go along with them that you can study for and take. The majority of these certifications are completely free. Keep in mind that it’s generally not worth paying for a certification before you graduate, as the role you work in might not even require the certifications.

By showing potential employers that I was actively pursuing personal development in this way, it definitely spiked interest. I was asked about my progress on them in every interview I went to. This isn’t unique to me – I know that the people from my course who could prove their practical experience found job-hunting far easier.

When I first interviewed with SymbaSync, the founders knew I didn’t have years of experience working in a marketing role. I was honest about that too. But, the proof that I was an active learner, and willing to take the extra time to pursue relevant marketing certifications and learn constantly, outweighed the potential gaps in my application.

A willingness to learn is a trait that transfers to all kinds of jobs, not just marketing. I could have been interviewing for a Finance role, an Accounting role, a UX Design role, or anything else.

A drive to learn shows employers that you’ll have the capacity to grow, and become more valuable to the company as time goes on.

After I had a job offer I went on to complete the GAIQ, Adwords Search Certification and more over the next few weeks in order to be as prepared as possible for starting this new job.

I quickly found that these had taught me valuable skills, and helped prepare me for managing the company Google Analytics & Adwords accounts.

The whole point of these certifications isn’t just to show interviewers that you’re motivated – it’s that you actually learn something that you’ll use at a job.

Another simple way to boost a job application is to set up a website, or start a blog. While I did have one already, I knew I had to keep going with it.

I repeatedly heard about the power of blogs in my courses at university, and I know that several other students in my class also created their own content to practise, and prove this.

Not only does it show your willingness to learn, but Content Marketing (i.e. providing audiences with content that’s not only valuable and timely to them, but can help a business achieve its objectives) is a great way to practice your writing skills. Pick a topic (ideally a relatively niche one if you want to get traffic) and start writing!

There are so many places where you can start a blog or website for free, and it’ll teach you valuable skills such as copywriting, search engine optimization (SEO), and more. You can then integrate your website or blog with Google Analytics to start gaining insights about how people are interacting with your site. You can distribute your post on other blog sites in order to get more traffic to your publication.

The practice you’ll get from doing this is invaluable, and will directly transfer to a role where you need to write perfectly, whether it be for emails, blog posts, or a company website.

Of course, you can’t learn everything before starting. This is definitely the case with any job, but if you maintain a growth mentality even once you start, you’ll be able to quickly progress. Since joining SymbaSync I’ve become a more confident and more well-rounded marketer.

This year I’ll be pitching on behalf of SymbaSync at EIE18, Scotland’s largest technology investor conference, and one of the UK’s leading technology events. This is something that a year ago would have been far outside of my comfort zone but thanks to a growth mentality I’ve benefited greatly from this on a personal development level, and the company will too.

So, what can I do right now to help with my job search?

Look up job descriptions and vacancies in the fields you’re looking to work in.

If there are certifications that are being regularly asked for (either required or preferred) by employers, see if you can take them for free, or at least start preparing for them. If there are certain skills, or industry relevant software, go and start actively using them!

Maintaining a growth mentality is crucial to both getting a job, and progressing in your career post-university.

 

If you are still looking for a job after Graduation, come and meet SymbaSync  and around 50 other organisations at the Graduate Jobs Fair in McEwan Hall on 28th May (https://www.ed.ac.uk/careers/about-us/what-we-do/events/our-flagship-events/graduate-jobs-fair-2018) “.

Image: CC0 licence, StockSnap on Pixabay.

 

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