The American Marketing Association published an article last month about how you can stand out in the job market as a marketing applicant. The author of the article was Tom Gimbel, who is in charge of staffing and recruiting services for various industries and is CEO of the LaSalle Network.
The first thing is to make sure you have a strategy outlined for the whole process of finding, applying, and landing a job that you are interested in.
Before even applying anywhere, take a self-assessment and understand the implications of compatibility. Understand the different types of cultures, environments, and people working in different places and how you may fit with one type vs. the other. Know if you would prefer working a little bit with a lot of people, or working through more complex issues with fewer clients.
After assessing yourself, you should have a decent idea of which type of companies and industries you should be applying for positions in. For each company that captures your interest, make sure to do some in-depth research to make sure they fit your needs and that you have value to bring them. It’s crucial to make sure that they don’t have a lot of employees quitting regularly and that the industry is not stagnating or in decline altogether. Make sure to check on keywords in the job description and that you meet the qualifications to be considered.
Tom cites a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit; it revealed that candidates with a higher proficiency in HTML and CSS coding, data analytics, and graphic design are getting ahead of others. If you aren’t sure if you are proficient enough to put it on your resume, the best thing to do is take a course, shadow a marketer, or simply start reading from reputable sources on the subject. This is the only way to not deceive an employer, and the overwhelming majority of employers will catch deceit. Most importantly, it’s essential to research and know what the company wants in relation to what you can give, and to also put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager.
Lastly, the interview will decide whether or not you stand out as an applicant among all the other marketing applicants. Tom gives some great advice here, which is to show self-awareness. Don’t start listing off weaknesses or anything like that, but if asked about one then make sure to explain how the weakness if being addressed. Not many people would ask “do you have any hesitations about my background?”, but according to Tom it shows a lot of confidence (but ONLY if you can address each thing the interviewer brings up on the spot).
As we learned in KMG’s How To Get a Job workshop in January, be prepared to ask questions about the position and the company. To not have any questions shows there is not a lot of interest and a lazy approach to landing the job, at least compared to somebody that does ask questions. Tom also suggests preparing to tell the interviewer how you could implement a strategy to help their company grow, and while I agree, I would recommend to not go into high level strategy stuff that is not relevant to the position you are applying for. For example, if I’m applying for an entry level marketing position at Google, I am not going to start making suggestions in the interview for how Google use a certain celebrity for a creative new commercial idea.
If a marketing applicant can find a good balance of these tactics, it shows two critical skills the that marketing managers are looking for in new-hires: (1) problem solving and (2) critical thinking. This shows you did your homework, and every company expects their marketers to do their homework before making any suggestion or taking any action. Asking good questions and making appropriate suggestions for improvement in performance should lead to great conversations and will put your chances above the majority without a doubt. This doesn’t guarantee 100% success for your dream job, but it will guarantee your ability to be among the final candidates considered at all the companies where you do this.