What skills do graduates really need for a career in marketing?

This week LimeGreen Marketing will be exhibiting at the HMSG and Monmouth Schools Careers Convention. Alongside Universities and Blue Chip Graduate Programmes we’ll be flying the flag for a choosing a career in Marketing.

 

This has led to much debate in the office as to what are the essential skills Marketing Companies look for when recruiting graduates?  Well, we all agreed that it comes down to a combination of academic ability, soft skills and sheer determination!

 

‘Academic Ability’

It’s not just about getting a First or 2:1 – employers are going to be looking for evidence of   your ability to problem solve, understand complex information, work as part of a team, multitask and work to deadlines. Phew, that’s a long list and you thought it was just about writing essays.  Make sure you show how you’ve developed these skills whilst studying or gaining work experience.

Working in Marketing is often all ‘hands on deck’ so having good IT skills is also important. Knowledge of packages such as Photoshop will enable you to create an image for a post quickly. Equally, understanding basic HTML / CSS so that you can make a quick amend on a website will also help your cause.

 

‘Soft Skills’

This is an industry all about communication so great skills in this area are a must.  Marketing involves a lot of writing; blog posts, press releases and pitches, so good writing, spelling and grammar skills (please, no mistakes on your CV!) are critical. Interpersonal skills are also key.  You’ll be working with a team so evidence of work experience, or involvement in events or committees all help to show you have a good grounding in this area.

You will also need to show that you can think creatively.  You don’t need to be an artist, just show you canthink outside the box’.   For a start, don’t just send in yet another standard CV – be creative to stand out.  Different paper textures, infographics, layouts – be distinctive.  Can you show how you took a different approach to solve a problem?

 

Sheer Determination

It goes without saying that an interest in people and an awareness of the world around you is vital, Marketing, after all, is all about understanding people’s aspirations and challenges to foster relationships.  Be aware of what’s going on in the news and read widely.   

As a new Graduate, nobody is expecting you to have loads of specific company experience but you can demonstrate your skills by marketing yourself.   

  • Get involved with the marketing of a College Club or local event.
  • Show you can write by having your own blog or contributing to a magazine.
  • Be visible on social media – show your understanding of the essentials of social media but carefully consider what you post and choose to share as more and more employers will check these channels.

You’ve got yourself an interview?  Congratulations!  Make sure you’re prepared. Do your research on the company and the marketplace they work in. Read trade publications, press releases and immerse yourself in Google Search! What about marketing campaigns that have caught you eye, why was that?  What’s memorable and what was a real stinker – again why?  This shows prospective employers that not only do you have a commercial awareness but also are happy to create your own opinions.

 

 

Additional Study

Another option is to keep studying! A professional Marketing qualification or a postgraduate course will certainly add to your academic portfolio.  Ideally though, it is worth getting some experience with the different aspects of marketing before taking the plunge. Many in the marketing industry will take these courses whilst working to further their promotion prospects.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) offers an Introductory Certificate in Marketing. This can be followed at a later stage by other qualifications leading to chartered status.

The Institute for Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) also offers a variety of qualifications for both graduates and industry professionals ranging from masters and postgraduate degrees to professional diplomas.

The Institute of Promotional Marketing (IPM) again offers a variety of qualifications and shorter more topic specific education awards. Often companies will support you in gaining these qualifications whilst you work for them.

 

All we can say is good luck! It’s a great industry to work in!