Guest Article By:
Nadine Evans, Co-Founder and CEO of the Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals
16 years ago, I graduated university with a fresh degree in hand and couldn’t wait to enter the corporate world. I, like my classmates, poured over resume designs and cover letters, experimenting with fancy paper and even fancier fonts. Job hunting meant one thing – getting an employer’s attention through your application.
While I hardly think of myself as old, it might as well have been in the dark ages. New grads found employment by traditional, old fashioned methods, like, applying for them.
It’s a different landscape now. It’s rumoured that 80% of jobs are not advertised, and with Millennials now comprising of 35% of the workforce, the competition for entry level positions for new grads is at an all-time high. How can a young, ambitious, marketing grad get ahead?
By understanding the new realities of the job market. Turns out, it’s not that difficult, and here are our top tips for job hunting:
Get out there. Most experts agree, networking is the best way to land a job in your field (take a look at this insightful 2013 article by Forbes on the subject: Six Best Way to Find Your Next Job). Today more than ever, it’s about who you know.
Attend events, meet ups, and any industry conferences that are relevant. Fortunately, in the marketing world, there are many of these, and your school likely facilitates industry days and networking events. Attend, attend, and attend. Those who get out there, get hired.
Utilize informational interviews. The ‘Informational interview’ is another form of networking, where you ask a leader within a company or industry for a coffee or meeting, with the goal to glean information. Seek out professionals and companies that you’d really like to work for, and reach out to leaders to see if you can interview them. Some groups, such as Ten Thousand Coffees, offers these types of meetings as a service.
The informational interview can be a millennial’s secret weapon. One of our members, a social media/PR manager, has gotten all her roles by utilizing this method. She once found an agency she desperately wanted to work for, and managed to get an informational interview with one of their principals – and her goal was to get hired. It worked, and she was offered a job a few days later.
While not all informational interviews should be approached as secretly job hunting, it’s not a bad strategy when you happen across your dream job. Be careful not to come across too strong, but at the same time, it’s nice to state that you’d love to work for that company (and why).
Consider the potential of Associations. Professional associations can provide incredible networking and professional development to new grads, and Workopolis agrees. In their article “Networking Made Simple: 5 Reasons to Join a Professional Association,” they state:
Job search networking is most effective when you can come together with a targeted group of like-minded individuals. Finding people to meet within your industry will go much farther to achieving your career goals than blindly connecting with strangers online. Joining a professional association does exactly this. It allows you to schmooze with current professionals, other job seekers, and, more importantly, top employers in your field.
Higher Bracket, a job search site for seasoned professionals and those seeking six figure incomes strongly recommends participation. Check out their reasons in the article: “Why Join a Professional Association.”
The great news is that there are many associations – for all different types of professions and focuses. There’s professional organizations dedicated to accreditations and learning, networking and connecting, growing one’s business and career, and some that offer discounts and benefits that help along the way.
We at CAMP (The Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals) believe strongly in the benefit of associations, and we’re pleased to bring an inclusive professional organization to marketers. Our focus is on creating a community of marketers – whether a student or new grad at the beginning of your career, a brand manager looking to grow your market share, a mid-level manager looking for the next opportunity, or a seasoned executive looking to hire the next great marketing mind – we’re happy to connect everyone. Our goal is to provide an accessible network for all marketers, regardless of your individual focus, where we can connect and grow and build. Student membership into CAMP is completely free, and we encourage all students considering a career in marketing to join. For more details, please visit our website.
Keep Searching. Although the old adage is that most jobs are not advertised, a number of them continue to appear on website listings like LinkedIn and Indeed.ca. Pay attention for applicable roles, as traditional job hunter is not completely gone.
CAMP’s recent event, “Career Planning for Marketers” included some excellent tips from Kick Senior Recruiting Manager Helena Gospic, many of which involved traditional approaches to application submission. Ensure that you’re applying for the right roles, and remember to include keywords into your resumes (for example, if the role is asking for Adobe Photoshop, make sure you include those words into your skills – assuming, of course, that you have experience in this!), and customize your application.
Network Digitally. While there’s no substitute for face to face networking, getting yourself out there on social media can really help get you noticed. LinkedIn groups offer great ways to network, and we strongly encourage you to use Twitter to connect with companies you’d like to work for. Hana Abaza, Vice President of Marketing for Uberflip recently hired a social media specialist, and didn’t take a resume. Instead, she encouraged applicants to reach out to her on social media.
It might seem rough out there, but not for those who understand that job hunting is a skill. Just like me and my peers at the turn of the century, it’s hard work, but once you learn the new reality, it works. Companies want to hire the best, and as long as you can demonstrate competence, passion, and an ability to work, you’ll be fine.
Nadine Evans – CEO of CAMP
Raised in a small town in Newfoundland, Nadine headed west after graduating and fell in love with the bustle of Toronto. Her true passion is marketing and she’s spent the last 15 years in marketing roles, and is the co-founder and CEO of the Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals (CAMP). When she’s not connecting with other marketers through CAMP, Nadine is at the soccer field, gym, or swimming pool cheering on her two favourite munchkins, trying not to become that mom everyone fears.