This is a guest blog by Joanna Roberts who attended a seminar I gave to undergraduates at Keele University about getting into marketing.

I find it ironic that I hope to find a job in the marketing

industry, yet I’m not brilliant when it comes to selling myself. So when I found out about an event being held at my university for students considering a career in marketing, I knew I needed to go. What I didn’t know was that the session would be led by somebody who has extensive industry experience on many levels.  Paul was once in my shoes, a student at Keele University about to graduate during a recession. This meant that his tips for navigating the rapidly changing world of marketing and PR were particularly significant.

Finding That Lucrative First Job

We began with the basics – using the correct spelling and punctuation in correspondence with potential employers is underestimated and seems obvious, but Paul reminded us that many graduates stumble at the first hurdle. As a ‘spellcheck worshipper’, I hope I’ll never lose out on a job because of this! We also discussed the importance of researching who to write to. When you’re drowning in a sea of cover letters, it’s far too easy to address everything to ‘Dear Sir/Madam’. Paul pointed out how impersonal and off-putting this is to potential employers. In the future, I’ll definitely make the effort to research who I’ll be contacting.

Recognising the Importance of Creativity

We spent some time considering the significance of creativity in job applications. What better way to demonstrate your creative marketing ability to a potential employer than with a job application that will stand out from the crowd? To illustrate this, Paul showed us a ‘video CV’ created by somebody who desperately wanted to work for Google. It certainly gave us an idea of the creative lengths people will go to in order to get noticed.

Staying Social Media Savvy

Finally, we discussed something that most students are very familiar with. Many companies now use social media as a recruitment tool and are also likely to scrutinise potential employees’ social media pages. Paul highlighted the danger of having somewhat ‘unprofessional’ information plastered all over our Facebook timelines for potential employers to see. It will certainly be something to consider, even though there are no embarrassing pictures of me online at all…

Thank you again for a really informative discussion, Paul. It has undoubtedly made the prospect of pursuing a career in marketing much less intimidating!