Even prestigious companies in the marketing sector can only afford to offer one or two placements a year, while big graduate recruiters in other sectors hire thousands. In order to get the job you want you may have to work harder than your friends. You may even begin to wonder why you picked this career. However, there is a good reason to carry on. Although there may not be many positions available at marketing agencies and organisations, there are still plenty of jobs out there.
Follow these three steps to help you find marketing graduate job opportunities in ways and places that you may not initially have considered:
1. Look at jobs and schemes outside of the marketing industry
There are a lot of industries that need to promote their products and services to specific audiences. Many large employers will have their own marketing departments, some even run dedicated marketing graduate schemes or more general commercial graduate schemes with marketing rotations. To find out the top graduate employers where you could start your marketing career, we looked at The Guardian UK 300 2018–2019. Based on a survey of over 73,000 students, here are the top ten employers who offer marketing-specific graduate schemes (or marketing streams within commercial schemes):
- Cancer Research UK
- Jaguar Land Rover
- British Airways
- Civil Service Fast Stream – Government Communication Service
- adidas Group
The full list of the top 300 employers can be found on The UK 300 page. Other employers in the top 300 may also advertise ad hoc graduate marketing vacancies, but might not currently run marketing specific graduate schemes.
If you apply for a vacancy like this, it is important not only to prove your interest in marketing, but also your interest in the industry. For example, you can bet that GSK will ask: ‘So, why do you want to work in the pharmaceuticals business?’ Knowing what you’re talking about, and being enthusiastic to boot, will be a massive point in your favour.
2. Don’t wait for opportunities; go out and find them yourself
There are loads of estimates about the number of unadvertised jobs that are out there. Whatever the actual number, it’s worth knowing that there are vacancies which don’t get a whole lot of publicity (which is ironic, given that this is the marketing and publicity sector). It’s up to you to make speculative applications directly to employers.
The good thing about making speculative applications is that it really lets you show off your skills. You need to be bold, enticing, and willing to show off your unique selling points (USPs). Even if it doesn’t lead to an interview straight away, it can be a way to build up your contacts. They might even be willing to keep your CV on record if a vacancy does come up.
3. Get enough experience to compete
Whether you want to go straight for jobs or compete for the graduate scheme vacancies, you are going to need experience. A lot of people decide on a career in advertising, marketing and PR quite late in the application process. Some even use it as a fall-back option. The thing is employers don’t like being your second choice. If you want to avoid giving this impression your best bet is to pack your CV with relevant experience.
The good news is that this can take many forms. Obviously, a year in industry with a well known company is the holy grail of work experience, but if that’s not an option, a couple of months here and there will definitely help. While some companies do run in-house internships, you will have the most luck if you approach them directly and ask for a placement. If your work experience only comes with expenses, don’t let it stop you. There may even be jobs on campus which would help.
There are also opportunities to undertake postgraduate courses and professional qualifications in marketing. As well as giving you experience and evidence of your interest in marketing, these opportunities will also provide you with industry-specific knowledge that you may not already have, especially if marketing was a fairly late-game career decision for you.