Part-time jobs and activities that will give you marketing and PR skills
You can gain the skills that marketing employers are looking for through part-time jobs and extracurricular activities.
Fundraising is a great way to flex your marketing muscles.
You can gain the skills that you need to get a graduate marketing job without getting an internship in the profession. Some of the most common student jobs, part-time jobs and extracurricular activities can give you valuable skills that will be useful for a marketing, advertising and PR graduate job. Many of these will also allow you to earn money alongside your university studies, as well as gaining valuable experience.
We list a number of part-time jobs and extracurricular activities that would be good for a marketing CV below. Some activities remain viable options during the coronavirus pandemic; they may be carried out online from home or in a way that is safe during the pandemic. However, some may not be available while lockdowns and social distancing restrictions are in place – we include them in order to look ahead to when things get back ‘to normal’.
Volunteering or fundraising
You usually won’t just be raising money for good causes or volunteering your time when getting involved with a charity or RAG student society – or undertaking some self-initiated and self-directed fundraising. You’ll also be finding ways to raise awareness of the cause and to encourage people to donate or to get involved – a way for you to flex your marketing muscles. You may be organising events or using your creativity to design posters or social media campaigns.
You’ll gain transferable skills and personal qualities that will be useful in the marketing sector. Empathy and emotional intelligence can help you to understand customers, whereas being goal-oriented and target driven will stand you in good stead for working on marketing projects.
Society committees and entrepreneurship groups
Being actively involved with the committee of any university society or a business-focused, entrepreneurial group/project will develop your organisational, teamwork, leadership and communication skills. Many societies will have found ways to adapt in order to run their events online during the pandemic. If you are a member of a society committee, you may have used problem-solving skills in order to adapt them to be run virtually.
Some societies may have a ‘publicity officer/marketing officer’ role, which will allow you to directly gain experience of marketing and advertising.
Develop a social media following
Develop your personal brand and social media presence. This requires creativity and an understanding of analytics and data, if you are planning new content. This isn’t just for students interested in social media or digital marketing careers, actively using social media and networking online can help you stay commercially aware and find work experience opportunities.
Marketing-related courses and webinars
Online courses and webinars can be great ways to learn new skills and develop your knowledge of marketing, or any other topic that takes your fancy. For example, you could learn more about data-driven marketing through an online course, or you could see if the Chartered Institute of Marketing or Institute of Data & Marketing are offering webinars that students can join. Don’t be afraid to include relevant courses on your CV – they can help show that you have a genuine interest in marketing that extends beyond your job hunt.
Shop jobs should give you first-hand experience of front-end marketing. For example, on a hot day the barbecue and beer supplies are moved to the front of the shop. At Halloween you stock up on decorations and sweets. This attention to detail is essential in both marketing and PR. Knowing where and when to make your move is as important as who to sell to.
If you have managed to keep your part-time job with an essential retailer during the pandemic, you will have some great examples of working under pressure.
Telesales or call centre work
While a job in a call centre may not be your dream job, it can still be valuable experience. For one thing, it will teach you a lot about resilience. This is particularly the case when you are cold-calling people, where you are likely to deal with rejection a lot of the time.
You’ll also gain experience of putting together a strong pitch, as you’ll need to put together a concise and convincing argument when talking to potential customers. This will be relevant not only to your career in marketing, but also to job hunting as a graduate.
During the pandemic, there has been some telesales and call centre work available that you can do from home. However, this has also been a career area that has been popular with scammers, so do your research on the company to ensure that it is genuine.
You may not think that babysitting belongs on a graduate CV, especially if you are doing it more casually, but this isn’t necessarily the case. This is because there is a lot of responsibility involved in babysitting. You could even use it to demonstrate team management. After all, you have to persuade the children to do what you need to do.
Babysitting work is likely to be less available during the pandemic, but it may be possible if you formed a childcare support bubble with another household or if you had to help with home schooling while other members of your household worked.
Street teaming or student ambassador
Promotions work – such as street teaming, being a student ambassador or campus tour guide, or acting as a brand ambassador – are roles that, in normal times, would be an asset to any CV for a marketing graduate job. However, the pandemic will have put a stop to much of this work, although some brand ambassador roles may be operating virtually instead.
If you have experience of this work – or if you get the role in the future when things are more back to normal – you will have developed confidence and communication skills. After all, it takes some nerve to approach strangers in a single shift. Depending on the role, you may have developed organisational skills when arranging promotional events, or your creative skills .