Written By: Rachel Rocero
Interested in a career in marketing when you graduate but don’t know the route to get there? As a student, you’re at an advantage – you’re still learning. It’s the best time to explore different types of marketing options, network and connect with professionals, learn the basics and advance your skills in a marketing setting.
Let me walk you through it.
The first step of a preparing for a career in marketing is to start marketing yourself – you’re a brand, so sell yourself well. Build up your social profile and keep it active and up-to-date. If you’re not already leveraging Linkedin – start. Use Twitter to follow thought leaders in the marketing field. Start blogging about things that interest you, using sites like WordPress, Weebly, or Blogger and create an about.me page to summarize your personal and professional self. Start your online footprint on the right foot!
To stay up to date on marketing trends, read sites like Social Media Explorer, ChrisBrogan.com, take advantage of KISSMetric’s digital marketing guides, check out the blog from Hubspot and download their free EBooks. You can find blogs of interest using Technorati. Also, BrightTALK offers free webinars and videos on marketing subjects.
Join marketing clubs on campus. Many colleges have local affiliate chapters of national organizations – AMA, PRSA and IABC have collegiate chapters. If you want a richer experience and would like to take advantage of external networking opportunities, go to marketing meetups, mixers, conferences, and seminars.
Write down the companies you want to work for and use that as your target list. Set goals for yourself to speak to individuals within these companies. Reach out to contacts you’ve met to set up informational interviews. If you don’t have a contact at the company, reach out to an employee on Linkedin who may be able to direct you to the appropriate person pick up the phone and ask for what you want, or send an email to the company explicitly stating who you’d like to speak with. Coffee sessions are a great way to have casual conversation with a marketer or employer about what they do on a day-to-day basis or what they are looking for in a candidate.
The best way to gain experience and prepare for a career in marketing is to do an internship. An internship will help you try marketing on for size so you can determine the right fit. Find an internship where you will have the chance to make an impact. It’s beneficial for both parties to do an internship that lasts at least 12 weeks. The company will have time to get to know you and you’ll be there long enough to master your work, fulfill learning objectives and impress them with what you have learned and what you can now do. If there is a fit and the budget capability, there’s always the chance of your internship converting to a full-time role post-graduation.
Save copies of all your marketing work, especially writing samples, and start a portfolio of these accomplishments early on. Follow the steps to jumpstart your marketing career before you even graduate. On your marketing, get set, go!