a degree in marketing, now what?

Marketing has evolved from being a module of business studies into a strong individual discipline. Most people know it is about creating brands that people want and understanding why they want them. Even as hiring is showing some bounce back, it’s not easy for new graduates. The job market in the advertising, public relations and marketing fields is flooded. But before you dream of becoming­ the modern-day equivalent of Mad Men’s Don Draper, be aware there’s more to it than sipping bourbon all day with Roger Sterling!

People with marketing know-how are increasingly important to businesses, helping organizations work out how they can identify and satisfy customer needs using strategic thinking, business acumen and carefully designed communications.

Marketing graduates tend to be commercially and organizationally astute as well as highly numerate. During the course of their degree, students­ will have developed an essential­­ range of business skills, including:

  • A talent for clear expression, both oral and written.
  • The ability to plan in advance and think strategically.
  • Research, analysis, team working and presentation skills.
  • The ability to think independently.

Those earning marketing degrees are creative and forward thinking, understand the power of media in all its forms and are skilled communicators and team players. All of which can lead not only to careers in marketing, but in industries and sectors as diverse as retail, fashion,­ manufacturing, financial and public services, leisure and tourism,­ ­consumer goods, music, electronics and so on.

Public relations, sales, brand management, advertising and general management are all careers where the analytical and problem-solving skills of marketing graduates will be welcomed. Knowledge of international markets may also be of interest to multinational organizations.

Your job search should have really begun while still a student; building a resume of work experience from internships (paid or unpaid), volunteer activities and leadership roles in school activities and clubs. But for those who have just graduated and didn’t do their resume building over the past four years, all is not lost. There are options, however, since the biggest obstacle is differentiating oneself from other equally qualified candidates. The “Experience” section of your resume is crucial. So if you have no relevant experience, go out and get it. A local business, a retailer or a service provider would be ideal starts to offer your new learned skill for free or, if you can get it, for a very small fee. Do good work, save copies of everything, and build your brand! Hustle and after a few months you will have real experience that can show an employer you have talent.

As Don Draper said “You want some respect? Go out there and get it for yourself.” Do not linger too long, believe me there is some awesome talent out there!

2 thoughts on “a degree in marketing, now what?

  1. Experience is the biggest differentiator for sure.

    The difference between a graduate that has work experience and one that does not is vast. I’ve hired both via corporate graduate programs and I would take the ones with the most actual work experience every time. Practical experience outweighs theoretical data and projects in fact there is no comparison.

    It’s like someone that does their MBA straight out of college without any work experience to go with it. You find that they still have a steep learning curve in order to apply their theories to real life situations.

    • Well stated a great insight Kittie. Good thought on the MBA vs experience timing. Shalah had about 4 years work experience (plus here co-op time during her undergrad) before obtaining hers…

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