I'm working on a project that I'd sure like your help with. You might have seen my post about putting together a free e-book for college grads about to descend upon agencies, marketing departments and publishing entities. I thought it would be cool if we could all offer a piece of advice or a success (or failure) story that might encourage the kids (ouch...I hate calling a 22 year old that!) who have the passion for business to keep chasing that elusive first job.
Well-timed, Drew. Earlier this month, in what has become a regular, once-a-semester occurrence, I gave a speech to McGill University's BCom students about how to get a job in a "non-traditional industry" (their quotes, not mine).
The reason I keep being invited back is that there is no course in how to gun for a gig (nor one on "How to Study" either, but that's a whole other bone to pick), and my outrageous ramblings seem to have struck a chord. What I say is rather unconventional and contrarian (now THERE'S a Surprise!), and while it goes on for 90 minutes, the advice can be distilled down into the following, which can be labeled:
The Three Ps of Marketing Jobs
(Finding 'Em, That Is...)
A dirty word in politics, but a valued shortcut in business. Years ago, I created a TV series for CBC in Canada called "Getting Job One," and for it, we interviewed dozens of job-seeking students. All of 'em eschewed going to their relatives or friends for help with stinky disdain; they were gonna get their first job themselves, goddamit, even if it killed them! Well young'uns, the most valuable asset in business is your contact list, and at this stage of your careers, yours subsists primarily of those close to you. There is no shame in depending on others for an "in" to get you a job; you'll be depending on others for the rest of your working days to keep it.
Perhaps the best tactic of them all. By offering yourself up to a prospective employer for free, to do anything--everything!--you are showing confidence in yourself, your abilities and your potential to fit in with the company. Some have softened the blow of this term with the euphemisms "Intern" or "Volunteer," but make no bones about it--you know what you want, and this is how you'll get it. And when I say "do anything," I really mean "anything"--wash cars, walk dogs, separate trash from recycling. Trust me, perform well for free and when that paying gig opens up, where do you think they'll look first--that pile of resumés...or the guy or gal bustin' butt down the hall?
And speaking about resumés, throw yours away. It ain't worth squat. Unless you've started a business or two, or worked in the field, in the eyes of most marketing job-offerers, you ain't done nothing. Worse still, unlike law, medicine, science, architecture and the like, in the marketing game, your marks don't count for much. So instead of listing your classes, interests, school activities and other rather irrelevant things you've done, on a resumé, market YOURSELF with a document I call a Presumé, in which you convince your prospective employer what YOU WILL DO for him or her. This will show forward-thinking, creativity and salesmanship...three factors crucial for success in marketing.
There you go Drew. Hope this helps...and doesn't get you into too much trouble!