How to find your first creative or marketing job out of college
By: Lori Highby
Often times, I receive inquiries from marketing students or graphic design students asking for some professional advice and pointers on getting their first internship or position. Here is a breakdown of what I usually share with those students:
1) Bigshoesnetwork.com - Find where the jobs are posted online. A great resource for marketing and creative students in the midwest is Bigshoesnetwork.com. They offer a weekly email distribution of all new job postings that are available, for free. Besides their website, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and join them on LinkedIn.
The BSN website also has a directory listing of a number of companies that often post jobs online. Check out the directory and start putting your top 10 list together (see #6 below).
2) Create your profile on LinkedIn ASAP. If you are not on LinkedIn, get on there. One of the first things I do when looking at potential candidates is check out their LinkedIn profile. Once your on, LinkedIn, then what??
- Join local groups
- Connect with your peers
- Participate in Q/A
- Learn the power of LinkedIn by connecting with a LinkedIn professional. Read his book: The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success by Wayne Breitbarth and sign up for his free weekly email tips that will have you becoming a LinkedIn pro quickly - www.powerformula.net
3) Networking events - its never too late to start networking. The connections you make today will come back and help you tomorrow, or maybe in 5 years. Building your network will only help you succeed in your career. In Milwaukee, there are tons of networking groups for young professionals, here are a few:
- Make sure your resume fits the position you are applying for. One resume does not fit all. You probably heard this time and again, but it is very very true: use the keywords that are in the job posting in your resume. If the job posting reads they are looking for a candidate who excels using Adobe Photoshop, include the phrase "excels using Adobe Photoshop" in your resume. It really is that simple.
5) Portfolio of work
- Sample writings are important for marketing professionals. This doesn't have to be a class project that was 50 pages long. A simple one page creative writing piece, or a sample of a press release or blog post that you have written will be fine. Make sure this piece is polished, free of grammatical and spelling errors and showcases your true talents as a creative marketer.
- Sample projects you were a part of are important. Even though you may not have executed the final end piece, if you were part of the vision or part of a team that worked on a project, it is important to showcase the end result and discuss how you were a part of this project.
- Graphic designers it is extremely important to have a clean portfolio that showcases your key abilities. You may have a lot of great work to share, however its best to showcase your most prized pieces that truly reflect your skills, but also relate most directly to the position you are applying for. Be prepared to discuss each piece in your portfolio. Topics to discuss include the tools you used to create it, the approach from start to finish, how long it took you to create it, and why you like this piece in your portfolio.
6) Find companies that you want to work for and put together your top 10 list. Even though you may not start working at that company right away, have a game plan to get into that company in the future. Find out their criteria for hiring.
- Informational interviews are a great way to start building your professional connections. While you are still in school, its very easy to say that you are working on a school project and would like to interview someone in the position you would like to have one day, or with the company you are interested in working at one day. During the interview, ask key questions about the position and how they got into that position. Also ask if its okay to stay in touch with that individual. After the interview, send a Thank You card (not enough people do that nowadays), and connect with that individual on LinkedIn. Send them an email every few months letting them know how you are doing.
- Connect with your top ten on social media channels - Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Comment on their posts and get recognized as someone who knows about that company and is genuinely interested in their success.
- Keep sending them your resume every 6 - 9 months. Even if there isn't a position that is available, it doesn't hurt to send them your resume. This way, when the time comes that they are looking to hire, your name will more than likely pop up. One of my first big career moves was made because I was sending my resume to companies that were not posting jobs.
So, potential new hires at Keystone Click, a few pointers for you:
Get your LinkedIn profile jazzed up.
Have your portfolio polished.
Any other great tips to share for the marketing or creative student that is ready to advance into their career? Comment below.
About the Author
Ms. Highby’s expertise is in Internet marketing, user experience, search engine optimization, and strategic planning. Holding a Masters in Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University, Ms. Highby is always looking for the next big challenge. When not sitting in front of the computer, you can usually find Ms. Highby on the ice with the Brew City Blades, Milwaukee's only women's travel hockey organization.
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