Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Job Hunting While on the MSc Marketing Course at Strathclyde University
part 12...the final countdown

As an exercise it is aimed at preparing the strathclyde university marketing MSc graduate with some advice, approaches and even tricks in the job market. Further the student should get a grasp of setting goals and planning their career.

....quantity and quality

as mentioned, you will have set career goals and know some steps which can take you towards that. You should have an idea of your first career move and foot on the ladder. Don't be afraid to chance it and aim a little higher, but onlyu when your USP is super-relevant or confidence is high.

If your first goal is some expereince in that industry at an entry level job(or with the type of IT tools you wioll be using later) then you may find that you have a choice of job offers after quite a short search in areas like customer services, admin, retail-supply chain, IT-data work or internal-sales / telemarketing.

However if your first rung on the ladder has the label 'marketing', or 'advertising' then you will always face high competition by all the means possible IF the job is OPENLY advertised. Also for very sexy companies you will be up against many, many spec applications from other enthusiastic graduates.

TIP- go unsexy...forget glamerous...go for a marketing job or first step in something very unglamerous..sewage/waste B2B....mail fulfillment...printers. This will help you get on the ladder with a titlle like marketing assistant which you can use to sell over to other positions towards your goal. TIP on YOU interviewing THEM- "you can judge a company by it's carpets and coffee" - keith melvin, 1995.

Now you will have to note that there are hundreds of applications for jobs which are like Herald or marketing week, MPM advertised. Still go for these with the tactics discussed before..calls , photos, call backs, getting your CV early-in person. But your real quantity of effort will be in looing for the needle in the haystack. The job opportunity for which there are maybe just 10 applicants or even better as has worked for me...the job which is MADE for you!! ( i've had maybe three or maybe four!! )


1) The internet and e-mail are great...but full of spam and huge m\numbers. Use your head...look focused in on the companies you want to work for and get names for personnel and marketing in there. Send paper based letters of enquiry, marked private&confidential addressee only, instead of e-mails to marketing people. Take the time to apply on line after first contact and only send a CV if invited. Use the web service.

2) use the wee companies...look for the smaller web sites, the smaller recruitment firms and the smnaller players in your field of interest. Especially when these happen to have big clients!!

3) as in 1, trawl your wider industry and it's supply chain on the web and keep on going back to careers to see if they are recruiting

4) look for the weird job titles or search options and non marketing ones on the big search / job sites

5) look at the herald and scotsman job sections 13-18 months ago for marketing assistant jobs. The takers will believe you-me be moving on jobs!

6) look at the senior level new marketing departments or budgets appearing...get your CV into the company's personnel and then find out who the new director/manager is.

7) think a bit laterally- remmeber people believe you have more to offer and will work harder IF you are in a job already...a little story / tip

TIP- retail and supply chain. I marked this in bold above, because this can be a very good step into an industry and gie you some good behind the scenes views of trade channel marketing and the effect of advertising and brand on consumers.

lets take a hypothetical example ( i worked in dales cycles, but with no bike manufacturers in scotland it was very unlikely to move on for me being a bit cale-sticky!)

You are into sport X. You now go out to all the shops win glesga or home town and get interviewd for shop jobs over the summer. You then move on to work for a wholesaler in say, order handling, or to the most sexy shop in scotland. You get to know some of the reps from the big brands and know when they are leaving the job or they have to cover scotland from say Bristol! You get a job as a rep and then hey presto you are a year or two later a brand manager for whoever you are with or would like to be with....all from a part time job with real hands on consumer contact and as I say, you are all eyes and ears to the sales banter and the channel marketing.

this is the real networking and using the inevitable screen of recruitment consultants in getting on...working in the general industry to get specific experience at the sharp end will be a big USP at the end of the summer or come the 2008/ 9 january-february hiring-blitz. It puts yuou in a very postive light when networking especially as it impresses... it's like offering to make the tea for a year without having to do it! i.e. you shopw you will grovle and shovel shit with an ambition to move can graft and you are a bit savey. just dopn't shove it down their throats. If it's a shop job keep it in perspective and don't oversell it- but do put it in a n S&M context of how you are exposed to custoemrs and the competiting products and marketing messages.


As a jock, I know we have problems with our calvinist upbringing which is at odds with our cultural sense of pride, 'industry', rebellion, independent thinking reality of the scot as a self-object. So we some times puff ourselves up a bit too much, or the opposite we undersell ourselves. Many of us swing between the two, always adapting our behaviour infront of the wrong situations...either hiding or gloating...

It is easy for scots to get into using a lot of adjectives and presenting things as personal triumphs in a context of body language and 'bonne aire' which intervewers just dinnae like...especially sasenachs who have a bit of a superiority complex as we know.

The self same soft southerners have got their jobs by being positive, using effective communcation - neiogh near over-communicatiing ...and most of all being objective. Putting it simply many of them are able to talk more about themselves as an object and their acheivements in a matter of fact way. We scots tend to either hold back, or take even it too personally. many of the english just seem to get on and this is why when they choose to move to scotland they are far enough up the feeding chain that they get high paid management jobs over the heads of all the 'wee mary-s' who have been frustrated int heir junior marketign roles.

The key is to let other people read in between the lines. If the job says you have to be an excellent communicator, then spend a lot of time on the letter and CV, get a practice 'enquiry abou the job' phone call with the recrutiment services at the Uni and a practice interview. Plan out all the questions and counter or follow uip- questions in advance and learn how to summarise what you know about the company..while having some very specicif c examples or success they ( or you) have had. Remember the STARS and remember these can be very basic.

In a selection screen and then interview basically they want to know

'1) are they presentable, punctual and polite
2) can they communicate 2ways
3) are they a threat or are they too weak for the team*
4) can they do the minimum operations to fulfill the job
5) are they showing high motivation (emotionally- not often explicit from the interviewers)
7) are they better than other candidates in respect of 1,2,4 and 5
8) when are they available

and if you come from a recruitment agency
1) why you have been screened thorugh
2) are you just a filler interview or are you a real candidate?

These are presented in very much the order they are done consiously, but 3 can be decisive. If a fat frump just dumped is confronted by a young lithe thing then they can feel attacked. You won't get through the mental block and onto 4. On the plus side, your build up (see soon below) and your intiital presentable ness can reinforce your motivation and set the whole interview and apllication in rosey glasses.

* this is the real reaction, and is relevant to that which I wrote about scots above...firstly, are they too pompous or over enthusiastic ...are they playing too "big" in the interview. Are they a jumped up little tosser? Will they do as their told, work hard while having enough initiative to actively get things done? WIll they be my boss in two years with their MSc! Are they better looking than I I feel challenged by their physical and psychic impression. Are they too trendy or too dowdy?

A lot of what i give in this list and the undernote"*" paragraph is about "when two people collide". IF you can get over the initial hurdle and premept the first impression with the key decision maker in the interview, and your direct boss, then you have won half the battle and in a round where they are mad enough to be interviewing in excess of 15 people for the same job then you will stand out. This meas doing the ground work...having phone contact or having had an earlier networking meeting with said decsiion maker. Having laid down in your application your MOTIVATION and HOW you fullfill the points in the job description and how you are ready to take on, responsibilty.

this is why motivation shines's a kind of modesty if played's a bending in worship at the mantle of the littel emperor and his or her god-dom in the company and industry..."I will work for ytou, oh great litte demon" . Motivation further breaks down the barriers have at least a 1/3rd emotional buy fromt he decision makers and it can be 90% ...motivation plays to this side..the emotuional peri-conscious touchy feely factor.

For me most successful interviews have been based on t he ground work leading up to the offer of interview. The focused letter and Cv and the follow or or premeptive enquiry. This laid the emotional path as well as the concrete road to " can do job at hand". In fact it has probably oversold me for some jobs and landed me other jobs I could have done with passing over! I may not have been the best candidate before interview, but after the others played it wrong they had nothing to fall back on. So you kind of get secletcte dby a process of elimiation...the others are hit hard by not getting over the emotional hurdle...they have somehow turned the interviewer off or not show the right motivation for the job.

To be frank if I had applied my usual techniques to jobs just beyond my immediate phsicalgraft then I would have got some of them - instead, being too shy or just not confident enough to do it.

Vey often it comes down to a job where there are some gaps for you to move into and you get the opportunity to dare and do this by showing the motivation

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