Thursday, August 30, 2007

Strathclyde Uni Students of MSc Marketing 2007 and 2008

Yet More on pratical tips on getting a job.

The Competition

The problem for you in getting a job, whether that be in scotland as a really hard case to crack, or anywhere really, is that supply outstrips supply of starter jobs in marketing many times over!

One way around this is to of course come into marketing through the back door in large or fast growing companies by working in sales, customer services, IT / web or admin support as a temp.
These are areas where they often struggle to get motivated staff.

But a frontal approach on those first rung of the ladder jobs is not an unassailable height to attempt!

The supply in scotland is pretty high- you have say 200 marketing qualified graduates, plus maybe 100 CIM diploma each year looking for jobs in marketing- within scotland. You then have the sales personnel and that's say could be 100, and then the general business graduates which could be 1000 , plus arts graduates etc meaning say another 1000 at least !

Okay, but not all are all that serious about the job hunt, and some are really not lookign too hard, or just doing a nine to five temp job. Also many will miss a herald or a web site. And more will think about it but miss the deadline. So that cuts any particular application number for a job down to about 200-300.

Of these a good half are no-hopers, and a further amount will have a standard letter or have made enough mistakes that they just look like they present themselves badly. That cuts it down to say a nice round figure of 100.

Having a really good MMO letter and a targetted CV which covers areas they are looking for in some depth will then get you into the top 30! Putting a colour photo of you on your CV, in business dress, smiling will really, really help getting y our plucked out but some Personnel departments don't like it - so ask them! (they think it is used for racist or sexist descrimination, or just the butt of jokes in the marketing department.)

Of those 100 only 10 or so will ring up to ask questions about the job before they apply. Phoning up and speaking to two people will get you into the top 10. This means they either like your proactivity and eagerness, or they just pick you out from a huge pile of CVs arranged alphabetically or in order of receipt date. Very seldom if they put "for more information contact..." will they be annoyed to hear from you! Mentioning your name of course and that you will be applying. Following up with a call to present your high motivation for the role and ask if it is possible to have an interview may or may not help. THis can be seen as a bit pushy- confirming your apllication has arrived and leaving your name and mentioning you are really interested and wanted to check your details are inf ront of the right people is usually enough. It's no hard sell, it's goign to work. "get on the blower arfur!!"

So now out of 300 you are in the top 10!! this means a 3/5 chance of interview and with any luck at all you should get interview. Was it hard?

Are you going to write down some question snext time, and be prepared to ring u, ask them and leaver your name and mention you are very interested in the job??

The Interview- Preparation

The strathclyde careers service are really good at mock interviews, so prepare as you would normally or as you have been adivsed. Think of the questions they will ask and prepare an answer which matches MMO and remember each element of MMO must come across but the emphasis is on Motivation.

Do a fair bit of background reading on the company, it's markets and the type of marketing skills / projects they are looking to manage with you in the team. Make up questions which expand upon this and relate to the role and marketing department. FOr example, where will they be marketing to? If you speak german then this could be a USP they hadn't really thought about as for now, they use an expensive translator.

Come with copies of your CV. Your CV at this stage should have a lot of nice space around the entries and you should Leave your business card and pick up theirs if offered.

Think about the job advert. How do you mathc the requirements? THink of you Motivation. What questions do you want to ask them? How does your CV tell them you can do the job and how will you expand on the CV or get them off it all to gether? write a list of their requirements agaisnt your skills and motivations.

Also think of all the practicalities and logistik. Can you really make a 9am interview in Dar Es Salaam? Don't be afraid to ask for a later slot when 1) you will have more trains etc to get there 2) you and the interviewers will be more awake. Avoid 2pm and later than 3. 9am if you are an early bird and can reach it can be good- you set a fresh example they may rememebr as 'fisrt of the day'.

It can pay to offer to take the first interview on the phone or upon getting the letter to ask if this is possible given a tight time tabel or a long way to travel. Or just ask for a preparatory chat. If you have not heard of the company or if there is any vagueness as to the position then phone- it could be a telesales job or a company with no marketing budget what-so-ever (to be avoided by all but the very brave!)

I once had an interview in Derbyshire, Atherton I think- the highest railway station in England I think. This turned out to be 14 hours on trains or stations given the delays that happend, for a 50 min interview where i was told they actually had a brand manager in mind and would like me for a sales job. With hindsight I should have asked for a telephone interview or 'introduction'. Also I went to aberdeen for a "marketing job" which was completely vague - I had some abderdeen accountant/chicken farmer give me a one hour lecture on chucnky chikcens while every five minutes the smell of shit from the slaughtery seeped into the office! SO do look a gift horse in the mouth- and never go to far flung interviews who DO NOT offer to pay travellling costs. Even Edinburgh, ask before and if you see a manager ask them for a form or just phone up personnel afterwards and ask if you can submit a form. Phone the blighters up in advance if you have to get a taxi from the station / ariprot and ask personnel if they have an account or a driver. It is really not worth paying to go to a lot of can get an anchor interview and then pay for an upgrade to full flex, visit pals and other interviewers. Or better get two interviews in london on the same day and double the difference!!! Five interviews in the central belt of scotland could put you out of pocket by as much as £150 without travelling expenses. I mean, do you really want to work for a company too mean to pay out students interview costs??

Allow yourself extra good time- you will need time to find the place and get organised. Even better, drive to the place the day before. Ask personnel or reception if there are any special transport issues the day before for that time of travel and make sure you know your train, bus or flight is running and likely to be on time. Allowing good time also means having time to eat, pee, shower and dress immaculately. - On my 14 hour day I guess I was probaby a bit sweaty and tired and my suit a bit creased. Even on a one day interview trip, it can be worth getting chagned or havuing your jacket in a suit-carrier. A spare shirt and mayeb some wet-wipes and some deoderant and a toothbrush/paste. Remember if it is a stained shirt or bad breath that makes the only difference between you and candidate X then they will get 2nd interview!

Also to read through all your application paperwork- the letters, the CV, the original advert and notes you made. Remember the list with two columsn or three, mayching their needs to your MMO and also your list of questions.

Thorhg the interview, stop yourself from giving endless streams fo consiousness and ASK them quyestions. This breaks their mind set- they may be reading a joke printed out on e-mail by now having seen 10 cnadidates. Even simple open questions can help. But really you want to find a UBP- a ubique thing they are looking to buy in. Or a weakness pressure to fill the posituion. Find that and match you MMO and USP to the job.

At the end of the interview always ask how long it will take for them to get back to you and if you can phone for feedback on the whole process and who you could speak to. Check they have all the information they need and if they owuld like any more STARS or certificates or anyhting slese to help them. Ask if you answered the questions to their likeing with "how did youfind me in interview" and remind them of your USP. Ask when the job woudl start. REMEMBER NOW to mention your Big O- opportunity to come to 2nd interveiw at short notice, and start work/relocate etc on and before thaat date. Remember to say that you are really keen ont he job having found out more on it, don't make any excuses for yourself. Thank them, shake hands with eye contact and a smile, and leave promptly. If personnel see you out, you can ask them about travelling expenses or booking a cab on account!

Landing the Job

Now it is really a case of repeating everything at 2nd and even 3rd interview. They may be finding it hard to separate between candidates. By this time they will be more interested in someone to really DO the job and START at the right time. You need to focus on your motivation for the job. You need to have a lot more questions again on the job, the company,m the customers, the team......ones that show you are truly interested int he job and not just the salary and fringe benefits. Your "O" to start will be more prominent here and you should mention it early and late in the interview.

Go back to careers advisors and polish up your MMO - work on your abilities in the emthod and match these with Motivation. Then do a lot more background reading on the company, it's markets and the type of marketing skills / projects they are looking to manage with you in the team.

Part of your moticatiojn wil be shown in background reading...but don't be too smarty pants on the company and it's markets. Better to tell them a bit and then ask questions which bring it back round to the marketing function (or sales)

You should by now have an idea that you can use one or several USPs in the interview ... don't make too much of them, just mentione them and add' if that is of interest/rlevance? Repeat what they are looking for in a person as a question, then try to answer it.

In 2nd and in third often "offer" interviews you will find yourself asking as many questions as they do and also being more relaxed. BE more relaxed.

At the end remember to state your opportunity to start ,and your keenness in the job and working hard to make a success in this career. Also ask when you will hear again and if you can get fuller feedback on the process.

I can gaurantee you pretty much that if you do a good MMO in your letter, Phone up to ask about the job and thenpreparte for interview tiht e careers service, then get a good MMO in interview, point out any USPs and reiterate your big "O" and keen-ness then you rwill be getting interviews for at least one in five relevant applications looking for graduates or those with up to a years expereinec, or those lookign for a specialist USP like language. Of those I reckon you need to have experience in two to three interviews and then about one in five interviews will lead to a job offer!

Now how to split your application effort- they have to be good so quality over quantitiy- I think the target applications for a two to three month period should be only 25 direct contacts. Of these 10 will be graduate jobs/ one year jobs at least, with a further 10 being open applications, and five being to recrutimenet consultants for actual jobs opr for fiurms who use them. It is probably good to do some spec' applications to other 2ndry targets in the industyr and follow them up when you can with a call, or if you get a name in reply acall them and start to network a bit into the marketing department.

This may mena only one or two a week, plus some spec letters plus some networking calls and meetings. Also you have your family and freinds circle- nepotism and favouritism is rank in marketing... my predecessro in the first good agncy job, got his job because his dad gave business to the company on that condition!! Maybe you are working temporary and this level of acticity is easy to manage, It means when the mobile goes you can seem really focused becuae you rmemebr the company and have the paperwork to hand.

Temp jobsin big companies can take you places- it is at least a 'brand name' on the CV- or if it is a specialist branch you want to getr into then temping in the industry can be worth it's wieght in gold. You should underplay the 'getting a foot int he door' and just say you want to temp while you wait to graduate or whatever, and want to earn some money and get some proven, practical expereinece. They can be a bit wary about people coming into say customer setrvices or sales and buggering off to marketing from temp roles designed to get people in the door for longer careers in the former! So play it by ear- listne to what they have to say and don't offer any real ambition other than gaining experienc ein this inditry secotr or type of compnay. If they are positive to this, they will probably offer up that they like to recruit internatlly to marketing.

There are a lot of 'peri-marketing' or 'pseudo-marketing' jobs now- business analysis, IT and web to name but a few, and also all the rather dull business services markeitng buys- conferences, freebies, direct mail and fullfillment, list building/buying, print material, direct mail cheapo shots, as well as the glamerous ad agenies. Temping in these areas, or traeting a graduate trainnee job as temping can be really key in getting a stronger foothold in an interesting company or industry sector.

One bit of advice is to go for the unglamerous! go for the mail fullfillment! the stuffing good bags ! go for the building analytical reports or making new web security pages. Or get some specialist training in your first degree to pop out into a mroe techcnically related marketing job, as in say computing, logistiks, biotechnology...this expertise learnt in say a year can be directly transfered into a marketing joba dn is often more important than the marketing experience per se. For example a technical writer for pack inserts and customer information or user manuals. This can be a very good way into marketing where you will be very popular for doing something no -one wants to be pedantic about!! Remeber, every industry has marketing or at least sales and gaining a competance in something specialist gives you a huge USP, despite lack of actual marketing experience.

Once you are in a temp job or a placement, then you can really start to 'work' the recruitment agencies and try to get around them when you can. They won't be very helpful to you, but at least you will get some good leads on marketing deparmtents who are expanding. They may be able to sell you in as a temp or a more junior position than the managerment ones advertised and make a qwuick couple of grand based on six months time to fee on your head now.

As an umeployed graduat the recrutiment arses won't touch you. But remember you are an active job seeker! Placements and temp jobs can be equally good.

Post Interview

Call up for feedback- this is why it is good to get a business card from the marketing manager/diretor who interviewed you..and dropping one on the table solicitis this!

Somethin I still do today which is a mistake is that i just go and cry boo-hoo, I'll never get a bloody job, and DON't vall up for reasons if I get a rejection. Calling up can be enopugh to tip the scales ...but if they are gruff then just put it down to pressure for time. Maybe speak to personnel now ( who are chocolate kettles often when it comes to feedback on marketing jobs- you get vague crap- but sometimes they will point out errror or over-exaggerationsi nyour CV and itnerveiw techniqeu and point out where you answereed weakly or did not expand renough on)

also if you call and they have an awkward sod under offer, pissing them about a bit on start date or salary, it may be just enough to come back from a knock back letter. In Norway the bastards wait until the person is often IN the job i.e. around 8 to 12 weeks to finally reject you!

Now on getting a job, great, just really make sure this is not a con. I mean moving to LOndon without relocation expenses, or working 50 hour weeks for 12k. A bird in the hand, job wise, is worth 20 interviews but if you do have another series of interviews ( i.e first followed up by 2nd) in the bag, then it may be worth holding off a week to get these in, find out the starting slalary there and then negotiate!

So aoverall , it doesn't look so bad. The MMO, the USP and the phone call are your key tools. I once advertised a graduate job for a marketing analyst to work for me- it was in the herald in a 1/8th size on page 3 of the Jobs pages and I put I think my name as contact with switchboard number. It woudl be 23k now. DO you want to know how many people called me up? none!!

get on the phone!

good luck

Monday, August 20, 2007

Strathclyde Uni Students of MSc Marketing 2007 and 2008

More on pratical tips on getting a job.

Okay, so now you have a goal and a good idea of how OTHER people got there and what it takes of a person. You also have an idea of a route to get to this goal.

Now here are some tactical tips:

1) Make Business cards -branded for the class! Make a nice business card for as many of you as will want one,, have a project to do this and buy it from a printer- often they have spare 'kerf' around a nice colour print job and can pop say 6 business cards on the run. So you should be able to deck around all those you need for people interested at a couple of printers for small or NO cost! Brand it with the Uni of you are allowed or make your own brand for the 2007/2008 class mark!

This helps me! getting the course known. Put your photos on it in color...get a pro photographer in or make your own stuido...hire the stuff ! someone is bound to be a photo buff who can bring a camera and you can no doubt hire 'slave' flashes, warm tone filters and a nice background. Wear business dress for hte shoot! or do it agraduation. give them to each other as a mimento!

Now how to use this...well all those networking meetings you meant to send a CV from or they knew of someone who could... a CV is a private document- people don't really want it lying around as they knwoa bout the dataprotection crap. ....and let's face it you dopn't have much to pyut on it on average, just your education and part time / temp jobs, right?

So havign a card to leave,or a few, which is a quality one you can just write on, marketing vacancies? is ideal for informal meetings, passing on to friends or for more formal networking meetings. Furthermore, when you do get a client interview through an agency it can lead to the famous work-arounds!!!

Also offering a card immediately will lead to you getting a card, as a matter of business etiquette whereas being a student on a networking visit will often NOT get you a card. These are useful for calling them back, writing a thank you letter or askign them for a dvice later or checking when a job is advertised at them.

2) work around recruitment consultants...leading on from previous comment. They are no pals of yours but in a couple of years time you will struggle to get shot of them! Even though an employer may be willing to accept a new graduate because of your MSC and special first degree or other USP, the agency don't like this as it may reduce their fee and they think it wastes their time...they want a straight job-to-job with no more than a 10% payrise if they can. Riskyt young graduates who haven't done the australia thailand tour yet are not what they want.

Recruitment consultants work as follows:

AIM- to recruit the best possible person for the job at hand at the 'correct' price.

That is to keep wage expectations and rises by shifting jobs DOWN! often you will get suprisingly offered the same as you are on in a current role or the going rate - once I got offered less and I there was no company car as in my current role at that time.

Also in terms of 'the right person' they will often over look very talented people becuase of some fixed idea of 'must have' which they have maybe misinterpreted with the client. BUT this is a more underlying thing- they do not want a person who will not fulfill the job for a year because-

AIm 2- To hire a person who will perform and stick the job for the 6 months to one year prior to agency getting paid.

So as in the last paragraph, they will overlook people who are a bit riskier - and even re-advertise or begin head-hunting int heir old data base of 'paid for' candidates i.e. those who have worked the above time to fee date!!!

Aim 3- increase the number of clients and jobs at those clients outsourced, push up their fees, increase their income.

Standard business strategy- sell to more customers and sell more to those customers once you have them! "add value" in the recruiting field i.e. just tell the client they have to pay upfront fees, expensive ad' space costs and 'consultancy' before they even get the candidates on their chair.

Tactics- they don't like new graduates or people on training / placement schemes very much as there is uncertainty on pay level and hence the cash % they can reap- these candidates also are riskier as they have not proven they stick jobs for more than 6months and they have wander lust todo thailand and bondai beach!!!

Tactics- they will as said offer what you are on. They will find your other non financial motivation to leave the job and use that instead of offering a pay rise. This keeps their cost effective customer recruiting in line and means they get more business as they can say they recruited below the target cost!! It even happens that you go to a client interview and they are comfortable with a level of x, and then mysteriously later the recuntment cuntsultant comes back with a far lower offer or 'indication for you level of experience'.

so work around the fckers! Yep, find out who the employer is, who maybe their contact is and say you have already applied there or are not interested. Once you have this information get off the phone asap. Don't remind them of your name. Then send a spec' letter to the marketing director and one to the personnel, phjoning up.

Also you can second guess who they are advertising for on their web sites. Combine 'leading glasgow direct marketing agency' with your spec searcha nd call all three or four agencies up to find out! Send spec letters to all ten in the UK or whatever.

Where recruitment consultants can come in handy is

1) for sales- these often look for new graduates
2) for the very occiasional graduate recruitment programme

They are most handy at getting into big companies becuase they have done the ground work in finding the right HR and marketing decision maker to get you in front of. They have an "in" to some department you probably didn't come accross-- for example did you know the brewers sometimes have seperate trade channel marketing departments? i.e. either sales support for pubs, their own pubs or packaged beer promotions etc which are not always controlled by the brand manager, or 'off advertised' brands get a trade channel manager who is effectively a below the line brand manager- what a great "in" to a company? Some HR departments have their own marketing people! Some agencies have specialist IT or HR or trade channel departments!

The main aim of a recruitment consultant is to get two candidates who can slip into the job and are really motivated to LEAVE their last job. Thereafter they can have experienced person who is unemployed. Then the rest are just fillers to get 20 CVS infront of the cleint and then 6 people into interview. The other aim is to keep wages under control for the client, sot he reason to leave will be plausible but they won't really get much of a pay rise- tyranical boss, relocation to the dear-green place, divorce or a very minor promotion. So often the actuall offer for you can be disappointing. Also they are fond of 'quick fivers over slow tenners' the first two rungs of the ladder they would rather close the deal at a low overall salary to get the client's money in, than work for a candidate who is looking for top aware of this. If you bleet on about minimum wage expectations you may get thrown out early. Best to really talk about this directly with the client when you can, but throw the focus off this to begin with.

recruitment consultants usually hate graduate positions as they are inundated with calls, many from persistent no-hopers who think they can just get into a job from whatever degree. However some times there will be a specialist job they are recruting for or a whole new division/factory etc in a company which needs some of YOUR skills and attitudes. Now the 20 CV is likely to be maybe 30, and the interviewees say 12 your chances are a lot better of getting in front of them.

having your own business card is a very good plan because it means the client can discreetly keep your details ...tucking them in their wallet or

3) quantity of research over sheer number of apllications- quality in execution

you want to do a lot of reseathc into advertised employers and those who you have identified as good starters. You may find out foot in the door jobs as a temp or rep ect...make a good list of companies you really want to work for in the industry which you want to get into. Then go thorugh them and get a name to write to from reception. If they have a job title like ''office manager" it may be worth giving it a miss and in stead phining them up to 'network' to sya an account manager in an agnecy, a project manager in internet or a product manager in the work place. If it's a small company maybe just go to the top! Find out a bit more about the company from this first or second line of contact and find out who would really decide to take someone on and who may be building a team. Find out if they take from temps and if anyone is off on maternity etc. Then send a well formulated letter whcih states you overriding motivation to work for this company out of all others and why this general industry excites you. State you are prepared to 'put in a huge effort' to get a foothold in a career with them. Ask if you can come in to an informal first meeting uin the letter. DOn't send your CV ..yet!

You should at the same time write down a list of questions which are open ended...don't let them close ...avoid 'are you recruiting right now' ..Mention you wrote to them and are really interested to find out a little more about them, maybe just the chance to present yourself and what you can offer to get a foothold.

5) government schemes - work placements etc

These are very much a double edged sword. Usually they lead to a rather long period of doing work you should be paid for followed by a mediocre salary in the same effective job where people still expect you to make the tea. ....they are therefore what YOU make of are offering your mind, your skills, your ideas...and you really control a good deal more than you may presume for now.

...the truth is that the employers don't really know what to give you to do they go along with it out of goodwill and a sense of guilt and mayeb that they woudl like to do some more marketing or maybe bloster their small marketing dept.....unless they are just taking you as a free trainee which often happens, or as free extra stamp licking, telesales or what ever...

get a couple of projects to do. Give them some 'stratgic goals' stay clear of mailing customers and acllling them up. THen network for advice on how to do these, like to marketing agenices etc.

You may be lucky and have for example IBM down the road in Greenock from wher eyou can stay at Mums while this period of poverty plays it's way out towards a job as a junior assistant IKT interface trainnee!! which brings me to

6) walk down your happy street

Where do you want to have your first poorly paid job in advertising? You may have a good idea of employers and brands you want to work with, but maybe you knwo your first say 13K job is goign to have to be near your current student digs or your parents so you can slum it while you pay off some debts and get some experience to 'sell on' for a better job.

Take a walk down suachihall street, where-ever you want to live and work and start writing names down. Head out to the Gyle in Edinburgh, or just down your own town's high street, business estate or industrial area.

Then think of somewhere a bit of a commute away where it may be cheap to live. Ayr, Grivan , Dunoon? Find a local business directory or just the phone book and start looking. WHys top there? Aignon, Melbourne or sydney!

If it's sales you are after, you can be based just about anywhere, I based myself in Inverness for example. WHo would you like to sell to? What woudl you like to sell? Go to an indpenedent shop or a business who might see reps and get some cards if you can, photocopied. FInd out who the sales manager is from them, making sure you aren't looking lie you steal their job.

Also you mya like to try a day out with a rep if you get to know one a bit. Dress up and go out as a 'trainnee' ...often this is kind of on the wish list of recruitment constultans looking to employee someone.

If you end up going somewhere nice for an interview, walk around a bit, get some more leads. Findo ut what other functions they have there..perhaps you coudl start in the IT or customer services departments..

Tak notes when there are big company presentations on names of who runs what. These are all leads for your further contact..

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Okay, so what could I do tommorrow?

Say I became part of a consultancy with placements out into companies

what would I like to do?


have a stabalising job with promotion or a good salary. Perhaps somewhere cheaper than Oslo

OR- have a fast stepping stone job

(other alternatives are not in this context)

To come into an SME as marketing manager

To get into an incubator/investor / start up scenario ( inc. but not only tech transfer)

- share pay/options

OK- so this means working in incubators or investors ...or some international marketing

areas of work:

marketing, innkjøp , sales strategy/training, business analysis related to these, management consultancy, SME start ups...


Environmental, recruiting/training, analytical, INCUBATORS/SOFT&HARD INVESTORS & tech transfer, biotech, pharma (OTC as well) , new cutting edge media( mobil, palm), chemical, sports, tourism.

What projects could I do as a would be SYSlb consultant?

1) agency revue/turn around- get into an ad' or web agency and turn profitablilty and effectiveness around. get into a telesales /ad space sales and turn it into DM and web fulfillment. Advising on every part of the business and using different analytical tools to present arguements- basuicallyu, hiring, firing, tightening up suppliers/purchasing, internationalising purchasing, taking out 'time wasters', intorducing new forms of training,

2) marketing audit- cost effectiveness, organic growth/underlying growht, pareto analysis- lost customer/potential customer, market re-segmentation/psycholiogical and benefit segmentation

3) Sales effectiveness study- pricing analysis and strategy. Training in spin/ lead management / time management. Making sales support department- admin support by call in and hand written fax, appointment making, fulfillment/call back bookings, lead handling, account (and lead) mapping, web searches, e-mail reading, managing calls

4) Database quality - getting down to the real quality of any database of contacts: ageing, cleaingin, splitting into fields, de-duplicating. Planning 'student' phone cleans. Creating new work flows and admin/ persmission rights. Meta data and reportage of activity and 'behaviour' of people using them.

5) Investor due diligence?? Advising on true level of benefit and ideas of market size, players, cost of penetration per % share, share-of-voice, typical financials for competitors and new entries, margins etc

x) assertiveness in the work place.

y) purchasing of marketing effectiveness- SLA, cost, risk, price per item, effective measurement, tracking value for money, making bids comparable ( agency, IKT, web)

z) international price analysis- priec poit, product group, variance, harmonisation assessment, revenue impact of one Euro price, other cost recovery from price harmony

The theme here is that i act far more as

1) a consultant and 'senior level' interloper! potential to bunny hop the 'starter' in the door jobs and get up to the bigger money levels of 600k !

2) the question ask-er on the front foot!

This would train me to just ask the big questions, like the MBA arses do, and just use challenge management and pushing out hte comfort zone.

I think this is the good route to getting in the door. I would then plan to have a shorter prøve period and get my feet under the desk....whcih is another thing

Also I could consider

PURCHASING STRATEGY and channel / value chain stratgey- players in the market- supply chain-. supplier-risk analysis (STRisk). Risk of banjkruptcy, risk olfm monopolisation, . ABC split of suppliers. Cost analysis, JIT, stockholindg, site visit assesment , HSE. Buying out suppliers as an option. Price and cost drift/ageing. Cash flow..payment scheduling...SOPs for reprimand...contract management,

Web Marketing Strategy -- Web Project Management- need-benefit, user studies, web stats, navigation , web prescence- traffic , SEM, e-mail blasts, customer "permission marketing", database of customer/cookie behaviour etc etc measure exisiting, benchmark to competitors, best in industry, best on web...not to do.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Further Follow up To strathclyde uni

Big or small?

I have a pretty unique career profile in having worked for multinationals as well as local start ups, and as a supplier in a small-medium to larger companies.

All the things they say about small vs large, are of course true !

There are a lot of the obvious ones- you get a wider hands on in a small company with less cash to splash. You do endless paper work in a large company. You get a social life (if you want it) through a large department, although sales and marketing don't usually mix too well with the nerds outside the MDpt.

In asking this question of me, you really should ask yourself about who you are and what you like doing. Are you comfortable as a small cog, getting along famously with lots of people ? What type of ambitions do you have in ten years? Where do you want to have your first five years of career or where will you relocate to? Are you risk aversive? Do you thrive with new hands on tasks or prefer strategic analysis, report writing and think-tanks?

If you answer these and combine it with your wish to either be a corporate fat-cat or an entrepreneurial marketer/ business person then you will start to move in the direction. BUt a lot of small company, especially consultancy/agency land start ups, have significant experience in big companies. COnversely though, a lot of consultants fail becuase they can't make the cultural change from comapny structured to self driven day to day work life. A mixture of the two through your career is what I personnally recommend if you have ambition to be in the start of something exciting and small.

In terms of people you may no more escape egotistical lunatics in a large company than in a small. Those little hitlers are a curse in life and are often not avoidable. In a big company at least you could move sideways or report their fondling to HR, whereas in the wee bit ltd you have to put up with them or leave.

In a small company that peripheral mussolini in accounts can unfortunetly have a much bigger say in your life, by pur prescence. I had one cut my travelling lunch allowance..what did I do? stayed in the office to eat my sandwiches and saw clients either end of the day, spending far more time OUT of the office just driving on the by then extended commutes. In a big company departments put up barriers to stop staff poaching and encroachment of authority, while pussy footing about trying to set up interdepartment projects.

For your CV, big names and big projects are always more impressive. But for you personnaly having a wider and deeeper responsibility and effect on a small company can be more rewarding. Also you can argue for goodies and get promoted often easier in the wee company - which probably lacks any job descritpiont heirarchy, fixed pay increments and 'must habve' qualifications. If you get green back or save money in a wee set up, you get seen.

Which brings me to another point. The old S&M debacle. Tow closely knitted functions being run by competing and highly different personality types. Sales managers being arrogant boers ready to take credit for anything yet blame marketing for all bad quarters. Marketers being failed sales people with a part time diploma, or little empire bulding bitches who are good at sucking cock upwards while pushing ass downwards. In a large company you can get some distance and hold them off with your bosses, whereas in a small you have to be able to get along with them and any case, you will probably be doing some sales or handing over hot leads personally so the cultural difference is not so noticeable.

In a small company the cultural barrier is often not there or is quickly broken. You may as I say be S&M manager anyway. But you will be involved more closely with getting new leads, doing presentations and winning individual deals. In agency land you will be actively selling with the idea of the next contract or the other bit of business in the forefront of good account execs who go on to build have got to be able to find a sale and sell the guys on it! In a specialist agency you may get to work hands on with large companies doing small, focused work for them and this can expose you to both in a nice way.

On the 'get rich quick side', big companies offer stock options which are most often a lottery when they mature and hence worthless...small companies often avoid offers, but when pushed they stock options which are most often a lottery when they mature and hence worthless.... But stock-pay can be worth it's wieght in gold..getting paid full stock in lieu of a higher salary. All small companies should offer this to their key 'doer' personnel and their managers as well as the founders and bloody backers. But few do outside california.

Adivce? Well you may have the luxury of a choice in job say at Marketing Manager level twixt large and small - ask yourself-

1) who do I like personally?

2) what is my motivation for this scene? to get to the next? to make money? to make na impact? Do you want to go self employed / start a little enterprise?

3) what do I want to do day-to day? Do I accept wider responsibility and more detailed work in the small or the enivatble paper work reportage, monthly 'all employee meetings' and other 'wish you weren't here' crap in the large? Do you want to push little agencies about?

If you are unsure about what you want and you stand with an offer, all else like location and pay being equal, then go for the large company will get more from it on your CV and you will get a chance to be promoted internally.

Having said this last point, there is always value of working in the small, micro economy because you get to know the anatomy of a real's necessary diet and fat reserves, it's good and bad customers, it's reportage to the tax people instead of "the street". If on the other hand you are an MBA type, then your analytical tool box, strategic planning and outright ambition are probably wasted in a small enterprise and if you want more responsibility then poke at a medium sized one, in rapid growth if you want to make a big impact. Otherwise you can join those happy bands of middle managers with wierd job titles and wierder subordinates, slicing, dicing and powerpointing their way up the corporate ladder. They tend to do a lot of analysing, talking about and getting ideas from the people who actually do the work while actually not really doing anything very much...if an MBA graduate finds a 2% extra profit margin out in the woods and no-one is there to see the powerpoint, do they make a sound??

As I say, a mixture through your career is good becuase

1) the large builds your tool box, while the small sharpens it

2) you make an impact in the small faster than in the large

3) you learn the nitty gritty in the small, while the strategy in the large

I've had great fun in both and it really comes down to your immediate work colleagues, who may not be so proliferate in number in a large company anyway. Having a local watering hole is just as important as the size of the department you work in as it's here that relationships are forged. So steer clear of those soul-less business parks and industrial estates if you can and find out if there is a good local for friday pay cheque nights and birthday lunches. Come to think of it this is what has really 'made' jobs for me...the relaxed pint and pub lunch and after hours beers.

In terms of impact, I have been able to proabbly conversly make larger impact with senior big company execs BECAUSE I worked for small companies and in so doing I'm not afraid to deal at this level and cut to the quick in data, even if I shoot from the hip too much without backing up my data & checking it thoroughly. Now I see only small companies as attractive becuase I don't want to get lost trying to make authority for myself in a large company with intrenched department heads!

Friday, August 10, 2007

As a follow up to the Strathclyde Uni talk on getting a job, this is another wee chat about working in 'agency land' versus ' client side'

Most people in my MSc wanted to get jobs directing a lot of different agencies from a strategy in comms and marketing they had developed while working in some large company. Most people ended up working in SMEs or the public sector with a far higher level of 'hands on' and a lot less bossing agencies about or making up strategy.

A few worked in agencies and I think one or two did very well, with me using it as great experience

Ok , so what are they main differences?

Practically speaking ? you will work far longer hours in agency land and have more stress...this can be nice and exciting while you are young and without kids but come 35 do you want to be slogging out 12 hour days with a family ? You can down size your hours a little as you get some respect in an agency, or of course start your own agency!

The upside is that you DO tend to talk more comms strategy and DO more marketing communications than in a client side role- in the client you spend a lot of time coming up with the concepts and getting your ideas accepted then it's PRESS the MAGIC BUTTON and the agency scurrry about making up ads', PR, web sites etc etc

The key job is going to be account executive...these are the go between agency and client...often it is an assistant role to the account manager or director, but usually it comes with a good deal of responsibility over some projects at least.

You are much closer to how things really get done in marketing- print, design, mailing/fulfillment,creative thinking, photography, the press, and of course programmers and ISPs in internett desing land. This is of real importance when you come to a small company later in any marketing role- you know what goes on and can take on direct responsibility. In larger companuies it means you can squeeze the agency on money or time or know when they are maybe overpromising on either of these!

Also as mentioned you can have the chance to go self employed and have the ability to join in a small gang leaving to set up and hence spread the risk and offer more as a team. This is often lacking in big marketing departments...basically you can do nothing of any real 'doing' value outside as a consultant until you are really quite respected in the industry.

In agencies things happen fast and this makes it exciting that you can loose your job pretty quick if a client walks or doesn't like you! Because there are large gangs of creatives and designers, and the type they attract, the agency world tends to be very sociable and a lot of fun. Larger companies can lack this on the client side, whereas most any agency will have plenty of pub nights, seasonal parties and win-champaign nights! Also the clients expect to maybe let their hair down with the whacky agency guys and be wined and dined and partied.

Often in a role you are really always flying by the seat of your pants and making it up as you go along. Your boss or the cleint will probably land things on you like event management or a product launch video and expect you to get on with it. the phrase " experience is that certain quality you acquire the exact moment after you most needed it" applies. Very good for confidence building.

The major plus side of client side is that you work less hours and get some higher percieved job security. Also at some points in time and career level, it can pay better than agency. 6 years ago hardly any agencies in scotland were offering their new account managers company cars for example- unthinkable back in the 80s!

Client side can go slowly though. You could be stuck in a marketing assistant job waiting for someone to leave or go on maternity and even get looked over for someone with more hands-on experience of PR for example. Also it can take ages to get comms

Monday, August 06, 2007

Job Hunting While on the MSc Marketing Course at Strathclyde University

This is a lecture I'll probably never ever make, but it's one I've had in mind for a couple of years atleast.

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.

It is worth pointing out though that throughout the text these are the highly personal and possibly idiosyncratic views held by DF.

Why do this talk?

Guilt is often a motivator in my life....... as is sheer boredom! The eagerness to share is also there. But mainly it's the guilt of knowing that you folks from the MSc 2007 and 2008 will face not only a tough time getting jobs, but a hell-ride in progressing your career and even occiasionally holding onto a job. No one came and spoke to us way back-when I did the MSc.

I sit here thinking of all the mistakes and false hopes you will go through and the guilt pangs force me to use an hour in an otherwise fruitless week, to someone elses benefit.

The "Real" world

The harsh reality for you is that you have all chosen what is probably THE most competitive business career area in terms of securing a job and advancing your career within any given company.

Just think- you want a job in scotland ? right..the majority of the class are still local or like it so much that they wanna become a jock!

..and you don't want to condescend to work in sales first? And you want a job with training and career progression, early responsibility and strategic input that really uses your MSc??

...okay. Firstly there are not that many jobs in scotland, a theme we will revist of course. But more unfortunetly there is a huge supply of eager would be marketeers.

On the one hand there are what, three or four undergrad degree courses supplying in any year say 100-200 graduates into the local market. Then you have the two or more MSc courses. Okay. Now take a look at the marketing jobs pages in the herald for a monthy or two. Pretty thin on the ground for new graduates.

BUT wait...your prime time focused degree does not only compete with others who "read marketing". Think of all those general business courses at the uni's and colleges. They have to study years more to become an accountant, and let's face it most areas of "business" are er, dull! So you will find yourself working with lots of people from shitty colleges with shitty marketing content who whangled, flirted, thigh-flashed and nepotised their way into a plum wee marketing job.

Finally you have the hoards of those in work, often sales jobs, studying the good old CIM diploma in marketing. An organisation which does not practice what it preaches in my experience with their sloth like customer services.

tough? yep! I'll do a slide on the statisitcal chances to convince you how thin it is. BUT i offer to help you getting your first job and more importantly setting career goals and communicating with prospective employers


The trouble is that there just aren't many marketing departments in scotland, and in general it has a lower level of investment here. Maybe the English like showing off more, or companies like to be near the bigger markets or seats of power with their marketing function.....

You need in my advice, to work at some point in a really big company, and that's going to be in England or elsewhere. In a large company it can be like doing an MBA on the job because there is so much to learn and then all the stats, reporting, analysing, presenting, researching etc to do. Most of it hot air, but you learn to support your arguements fully and also not to be precious- to give up on your ideas when they fall on stoney ground and move on§!

even considering SMEs , there are thousands of good opportunities in England whcih come with more early hands on and better career development or chance to change company quickly down south. Scots are naturally conservative with a small "c" and often are very retentive with their marketing personnel...and the personnel tend to change job LESS OFTEN than people in england. They like it here and are less eager to show ambition.

Jobs there are a plenty in the home counties. But wait, youy don't have to succumb to the commuter rush and all that is negaitve in London. Some people grow toloveit. And of course there are the really rather wonderful home counties and south coast, with woods, country pubs, beaches and nice weather.

Then there's also the M4 corridor, slough to cardiff and even swansea with some real rural lifestyle possiblilties.

Still too far away fra home and ma's cooking? Try the leeds-manchester-liverpool corridor. There are more jobs for firts time graduates and better career development than in three years advertising worth of jobs of the whole of scotland. Umbro, addidas, astra zeneca, henri lloyd to name but a few all had large marketign departments there when I lived there. Thats what i did. I had shitty jobs in scotland after this course and needed to get a proper career boost.

SO take the plunge now and come back later- you will find that jobs in scotland which look for 1-2 years experience are often filled by folk who have grabbed the first job they could 'darn sarffh' stuck it for 2 years, got some brownie points and now want to move home. Jobs looking for 3 or more years are often filled by much more experienced professionals looking to "down size" and 'live a little' back home here- or they just like scotland.

That is not to say don't try to get a job here, just be aware that you most likely will need to get on the career ladder by some other means...for example working in sales for a company with a marketing department in scotland, or doing project work through socttish enterprise and the LECs.

It's all in all best to take the pain of relocation now while you have no kids and are used to living a bit erm out of a suitcase, or you need to break with the whole local-yocal thing to build your indpendence.

Now how are you going to get your first job, where-ever you choose, without any experience??

Experience is Not Everything!!!

Most often graduates get all hung up on their lack of experience. Now all of you have ONE YEARS experience in a very practical subject which uses the real world of marketing as it's reference and not academic tomes. That's enough for you to apply to any job looking for a years expereince!! Don't be afraid! You may offer far more than an internal sales person applying for the job for example

For many jobs the MSc course will give you some of the tools you need in researching the market, understanding the strategy, presenting ideas and managing products. But this or any level of years experience is NOT ENOUGH to secure a job through the application and interview process.

I'll introduce you to a little acronym which all readers of crime or followers of frost, lindley,cold case and John Nettles will know and have to heart already


Now can you tell me what it stands for?

Right- Motive, Method and Opportunity.

Most applicants focus on the Method...their experience realistically, we are not talking joinery certificates here.

so it goes like:


How will I do the job? what have I done that is similar? There will be hundreds of really experienced people applying!! Oh dear oh dear, I will never get that job!

Most people totally down grade the Motive element and forget completely about the Opportunity.

I have been pipped to the post by far less expereience candidates in quite senior meaty jobs around PM level by far less expereinced candidates..because I forgot to say and keep on saying why I really wanted to work in this job! Other jobs which I was not all that bothered about but could have been good stepping stones, just went to first interview and the inevitable rejection letter.

No real motivation came across..nothing to convince them that I woudl come and learn their company and be keen and work most of all in marketing, bloody hard to do a bloody good, precise job. You are the holder of the company's image and comms' so you under under a lot of (undue) pressure and livign in a glass house!

So how should the acronym look on a 20 by 60 bill-board for you , given you are apllying for jobs which are within reach..i.e. up to one years experience, maybe related to your first degree or previous work life?


MOTIVATION is not all that you need, but it is the single most important element in the application & interview process. Your letter should reek of it, you should be phoning up to find out more about the company, leaving your name. You should be thinking of showing how motivated you can be as a person and THEN thinking of how your MSC, other knowledge and work experience will be the METHOD for this one job.

Also note the large "O" . As i said this is often forgotten. The opportunity. You had no alibi not to bloody start first september!!!!!!!!! You are mostly above all else avialble and relocatable TOMMORROW. For a marketing assistant or say business analyst job for example, your availability can be decisive. make sure you make the em0ployer know you can start at the drop of a hat!!!! Once again, in letters, initial phone calls, interview and follow up phone calls.

Given a much more experienced adversary in the post interview discussions, you being able to start september 1st can swing it. WHY?

(1/9/2007 for example at time of wriitng and becusiae so many graduate trainng rounds begin then)

1) the other candidate may be playing them for an internal pay rise- standard tactic of the "wise money"- find another higher paid job, threaten to leave, get a pay rise you do or do not deserve!!

2) if they don't start SOMEONE ASAP they may loose the budget for that position- marketing managers are wee empire builders and all know that career development means managing more people

3) they don't want to be otherwise pissing about waiting on relocation or termination periods, and given your very high level of motivation for the job, you win!!!

The second I have put in retro-bold becuase it is really important and something you will never hear as a recruitee but will hear often once you are in management.

Okay so now you know to present your motivation and availablity, not forgetting to place your skills against what they are looking for. But wait, motivation is easy enough to lie about in a letter but are YOU REALLY MOTIVATED?

Focusing, setting goals and planning your first career moves

To BE motivated you have to have a goal - which is both inspriring and high while also being achievable. Then you MUST be able to make smaller goals which you believe will take you towards that goal.

So you want to be a group product manager ? advertising account director? start your own consultancy? That will take you between say five to eight years to get there. That's your first step- the goal.

Now go and find out what it takes..speack ot someone who works as this. ( you may to your chagrin uncover that 90% of PMs have worked for some considerable time in sales, shock horror!) Ask them what their first job or two were and how they got onto that particular career ladder and how they got promoted!

( To job agencies and career advisors this type of thing is part of networking....not directly appklying for jobs but gettting your face infront of people , asking some questiosn adn lookig for a netweok of people to mayeb do the same or maybe, just maybe get a proper interview with....generally I think Networking is a pile of pony-- in fact it's embarressing, parading yourself about asking some useless questions and trying to get more leads. But habing a specific career goal researfch path coudl just put you infornt of someone who decideds to call you up and interview you!!)

Armed with this information you will be able to see that you either need to get into a particular industry career path, for example sales first, or just bloody well get a couple of jobs under your belt with a range of the experiences you will need - be that hands on PR, managing ad budgets, writing marketing plans or building web sites!
You may set a goal which requires a good deal of people-management and admin relating to this. It may be best to take a job in fast food outlet you have been part time in, to get say six month management experience in real people pushing! Or you may duck out of a very glamerous, competitive company and industry to get more senior, hands on people pushing somehwere where it's a lot easier to get into.

It is likely that your first job will be quite crappy! Either a junior marketer, an assistant account executive, a 'telemarketer', a direct markeign IT plod or the likes. This is your foot in the door and first job on the CV, but you want to actually get more out of it than that!!! which Brings me to my next headline relating very much to MMO.


This is the biggest lie told and the biggest fib people tell themselves. It's "percieved wisdom"- mum and dad and big siss' tell you "must get a year under your belt" . Everyone knows you have to stick your first crumby job for a year. Well that's crap!

It's spun about by parents who have goen up the outdated career ladder in heirarchical companies which no longer have heirarchies! Maybe they were "general graduate trainees " in on of the big names and made tea, typed or photocopyied for a whole year! Now a lot of the big companies have down sized and look to take people at the first rung with some experience from elsewhere rather than have them being a burdon as a new graduate.

Also of course it is spun by recruitment consuiltants who are goign to most often be no help to you at in makreting, until you get atleast in your first job/rung of the ladder. They spin the one year thing and then they just go on ignoring your calls and e-mails, taking better cnadidates until one day you are that better cadnidate and they are never off the ruddy telephone!! I hate dealing with them to this day, although they can get you a first sales job. They area lways justa filter with their own hidden agenda and prejudice about holding out for the best candidate and all others being also-rans. They will only "sell int he best" and will actively use you as a comparison- keen but green, etc to sell up the one or two people out of six they sent to interview. Above all they need bodies for interview, so being a bit skeptical and maybe talking with hom you are to be interviewed with can be worthwhile. I usually try to work around them and even use them to get good leads, asking that my details need not be sent to this company. If they send your detaisl they can claim you were from them. Workign around them by guessing hte employer or saying you have already been rejected by that one then scurryingoff to apply, means you get to market yourself in your way and also saves the employer up to £5000 in fees if you are sutiable MMO for the job!!

There are the LEC and Scottish enterprise placement shemes or one-off opportunities or just networekring to SMEæs. Also there are far more marketing jobs with SEMs now than ever, which can offer you broad marketing funcitonal experience, if indeed they may lack the budget of the big departments. A lot of these are never advertised and your own first degree or previous ( or new found) work experience can cause them to create a wholly new position in marketing, rtaher than say nother accountant or field sales punter.

You are armed with a business masters from business school which will open doors. However many of those will most likely want some experience and to be seen to be recruiting people who are on the career ladder already. THIS DOES NOT mean you need to stick out a crappy job or one of these LEC projects for a year.

If you get a first job with an SEM or as a junior within a bigger organisation, get a project to do. Market research is often a good one, because it is a strong point of the MSc course and not everyone has hands on experience with strategy in mind too. Make any project achievable in say 2 to three months and keep yourself away from falling into making tea and doing menial tasks. Now use this to sell yourself into a really much better job- the type or company or general industry which you have identified as your first real step towards your main goal.

There is very littel point in photocopying for a year, which does happen! Dont let yourself get pulled into all that junior-assistant/trainee-marketer crap...get something out of your first job if it's a buit crappy and then get the hell out of it!!!

I have seen many, many people come into or get jobs infront of me with just a few months experience in a 'starter job' THe lecs used to run a very good local 'graduates into business' may need to strectht he truth on where you live or are maybe "moving to" but what the hell!

Sales as a first career move

Most of you proibably hate the idea, but Sales for you guys is an excellent way into large and flashy companies. In many 'agency side' roles you will be selling at some point anyway and in any marketing job you always have to convince a skeptical internal audience of sales managers and accountants that your ideas will make money!

As i have touched on, in my experiecne over 90% of PMs have worked in sales and it is really useful- if not a complete prerequisit-e to have been in the same sales force or at least the same inductry for some roles.

Remember your MSc never goes away and you will be able to use it intellectually within a sales role- on both gnerally understainding the business and it s strategy and makeritng itself, as well as appplied in your won job. Think about all the communciatiions and segmenting, competitor positioning, customer personality and prioducts being managed AT you. Before I had even done my MSc I was making messages up which were being used on a national basis!! I was aguniea pig for new saels tactics and they were a it pissed when I left to do the MSc- my boss got fired for losing too many staff!!!!!!!!

sales comes often with a nice company car, extensive training and after some time int he field a how should I put it, 'flexible life style' - experienced sales people know that 80% of business will come from only 20% of customers and with some experience will know to nurture the current ones and focus on those new ones they realistically klnow they can win. Often this means extra work in one period ofset with "working from home" i.e takingit easy later!!

You will get taught and groomed in presenting and arguing in an assertive manner which will stand you in good stead for any career in business what so ever! Even if you go back to the labs or engineering side, this will be good . You didn'dt choose marketing because you are a shrinking violet!!!

Back to first job, it is pretty easy to get a temp job doing some form of sales or customer services which involves handling potential sales, or just working in a shop which has some sales training. This can help immensely while looking for your plumb career sales job.

You probably picked your industry and maybe related it to your first degree- medical sales for the biologists, estate agency for the surveyors and so on. Remember your uSp and the research you need to do to evaluate your career path. You may have to take an internal telesales job, a customer services job or a job at a competitor before you get in the door.

HOWEVER you face an near insurmmountable which I am going to solve fo ryopu at no expense!!

You will be interviewed by sales management, for example the scottish area and national sales managers. What they really hate is people coming in for a year and going to a marketing job, or worse just waiting longer without being at all motivated for the job. They want long term customer relationships and immediate access to present deals across the terratories. What they don't want is trainees all the time leaving the job for marketing. They want someone they understand and can influence, not new people all the time.

It took me about 6 months to be an effecti ve seller and I could/ should have stcuk it but I came back to do the MSc here and then I was stuffed! I'd shown my hand and no sales manager in the country would give me a job! The average is probably a year to be an effective seller from scratch, and then pay-back for the company in sales growth and profits takes another year or more- I heard the average cost of a traiing up a pro-seller in b2b or medical sales is £60K all in for the first year alone.

So it's a dilema- you know you need to work in sales for only 12 to 18 months before you can move into say an APM role but you now know that sales management don't want you to do this- and they call the shots!

You have over me, the advantage of not having already worked in sales and also a "tight" labour market. Now lets use tactic number 1-

1) The papers always have a "sales and marketing " section- use that name and say you wanted to work in that field and wanted a related business qualification. Say this is as against a general business graduate, S&M is your personal focus. marketing is the closest degree to this aim and will be very uiseful , will it not, to a career which is in this area....the next thing will be they immediately ask when you actually want to move into marketing, and you can answer if you want as follows in 2-

2) say you believe that PMs are chosen from successful sales people with around 5 or more years experience with a track record in sales...which is kind of true for some, but maybe not what you are going to do. This is a realistic time period to be employed in sales from entry level in the eyes of a SM- now you can aslo say that you will be still part of the team, influencing and selling on ideas with say 5 years experience infront of individial customers under your belt.

3) now remember your MMO in the short term- you love this company and it's products, you feel you could really sell them. Offering bloody long hours of hard work is both method and motivation enough for anyone who can hold a conversation to get on in sales. Leanr about the company and seloloing in general on the web- a huge amount of free stuff is out there now which I never had any access to - it just was never published on paper but now it's all cut and pasted on the internet from varuious (dubuious) internal sources!!!

4) PHONE UP for more information ont he job and prepare four or five questions for them before you send an application. Make sure you leave your name and don't offer too much information at this point. Refer to the fact you will send an application to them. This is a big, big tick box in their wish list and will get you interviews believe me, even if all you ask is four easy questions. Stay off salary and cars - focus on what type of customers, how many products at one time, geographic area, type of person they are looking for, type of motivations they expect, how many hours it is etc choose a sleect few which expand on the job advert.

later, phone up the guy who inteveiwed you- get his/her business card - you never know you may have someothing to offer them in six months even if you don't get the job.

5) Be a good listener in the interview- & ask quite a few questions using the open ended answer often but not always. Stop in your speils about yourself and ask questions about what they think of this in terms of suitabliilti a) for the role b) for the team/working for them. Be consious about stopping in your speils and be focused on your message to them..basically they are looking for someone who is self aware and confident, motivated in their acadmeic career , able to tell a stroy in a convincing fashion and can ask open ended questions in an intelligent dialogue. If you can convicen them you really want to work for that company and in sales for several years building a succeessful trakc record then you will have our pick of jobs!!!!

Strategy in Going thorugh sales

Now you have some tools, remember your career goal. Once you get second or further interviews you will probably get a one to one with the personell manager... you can ask them about becoming a PM eventually, and you don't have to lay it on so thicky. They are the internal poachers helping take people out of sales to fill new and open PM postiioins, anmd often for the reason of head-coutn (see "O" baove) they are pretty keen to take someone like you with even six months in the field into sales. If you are really lucky you may meet some PMs and the marketing director at lunch- get away fromt he SMs and talk candidaly about thei r expectations of promoting people from the sales forve, their own background, It may be worth not mentioning your MSc- many of them will not have a marketing quilaification and will, belive you me, find you a threat!! Charm them and keep on being pally walley with them if you get the job in sales- they may phone you up if they have an APM oppening and as they are wee empire builders looking for ,man-management experience, they need to fill it asap! use it or loose it.

You may find that an initial interview opens you up for a wider graduate training programme or fast-track programme becuas of your masters, with the expectation being say 18 months in the field. Often you will get maternity cover or a high turn over terratory or be part of a commando sales force- these roam the country on empty terratories or bolster exisiting sales with more calls on new products or new er, bribe methods to get in with customers. This is all good for the company and the SM's becuawe you are better than nothing and they may be able to get their teeth into you for a long term sales career anyway.

What is very wise is relocation to the part of the country the HQ is in- this means you will get called in more often, have the chance to drop by and also be a guniea pig for new marketing or just the mandatory 'field visits' PMs are expected to do. This is one area where it is important to be realistic with yourself- it is fairly unlikely that you would go to a competitor with a say socttish HQ as a PM directly, so you may have to think hard about your location and career route. You don't want to be doing 2 times 2 years in two companies or more years in sales if you know it is not your main amibition. If say moving to scotland as a PM is your goal then it may take you quicker to go through say 6 to 18 months sales in the "home counties" and 18 months again as a PM than having to start again later with a company which 'promotes' from the scottish area- that is to say most often you need to take the pain of relocation as soon and as short as you can to get up the career ladder to be in an excellent position to CHOOSE your job back in scotland or wherever.



Anyone tell me this?

Yep, unique selling point or proposition. Should turn it on it's head to be a unique buying point! Hee hee, customer cetnric approach.

Everyone here has a USP for any given marketing job. Most likely it will be to do with your first degree, previous work experience, second or other native languiage, hobby or maybe MSc Project.

Also it can be your availability as above, your willingness to relocate or ability to work long, long hours which make you ,abvove other candidates, unique.

Also it can of course be your personality....and this can be determination, communication, caring/listening and above all Motivation of course.

For a job you may find you have two apparent longer a usp? well as I say it is as mucha single over-rdigin reason to buy or at least a JND - just noticeable differenec given there are four identical candidates or a confusing picture with no otherwise clear winner. Listen to them, probe what they want and then postition your best USP. You may findout that this is what all the other candidates have, so use no.2 in the same way later. Also rememebr MMo, perhaps they will find their own UBP without you knowing .

Above all elese a USP can make up for a lack of general marketing experienceand place you a little unfarily even, above the competiton!... especially when it relates to language or a technical degree

Thinking of USP will now open up quite a few more jobs for you and allow you to choose a USP as you apply and go throught e interview process. Find out their weakness or taste...fidn out when they need to get someone in place and why. FocYou can dare and try a littel bit of SPIN...i.e. if they don't get someone like you then they risk having someone who does not understand the product or market or language! SPIn is risky but the best business people use it- finding hte weak point and over-emphasising the risk or ratehr escalating the implications should I say ....

Quantity or Quality

This is an age old dilema in job hunting. Do you get as much market air-time as you can? OR do you target market yourself and add the personal touch?

In my experience, quantity of applicatiosn is NEVER a winner. However, quanitity of research, lead finding and company information IS worth while. But in applications, realistically you have to be able to present a very clean , tidy application whitha very plausibel MMO using your USP

Phone up for any job ad' with a name on it and be preapred with a few simple questions as for a saels job. Be also prepared to drop it - if theyt are busy or seem harrassed. Note their name but maybe don't leave yours unless you are asked.

Also who do you go to? Most often personell people are actually not the best to send an open application to. they can be good to network to...get information from or perhaps a temp job "in the door" . But they struggle with budgets and wnat to make their own mark on recruiting so often are a hindrance. You want to go direct to the marketing manager or director or in an SME it is best to go to the managing director- in fact you may even replace a marketing manager who is no use!!! Remember your MSc is a threat to many unqualified Marketeers or those who struggle, so going to the top means you don't face this kind of petty jealousy. The personnel or marketing managers under the 'big boss" will now bend over backwards for you to arrange interview , becauase keeping el cheifo happy is their number one priority in the working day

Your goal in applicatiosn should be at this stage and later in career to get your name noticed and talked about internally to the company before they read your CV in any depth. You need to break thorgh the 'outisder' barrier to be the nice new freindly person, motivated specificallyt to talk to this company about opportunities. This means, like a little coke advert on the subway, you wnat to pop up surreptioscloulsy maybe three times before you actually get your CV read. Once in the door and taliing to them this personal feely approachg will win you the emotiuonal are a person and no longer a have got them to see you and meet you!

Phone personell, ask about the company In general- marketing can be a turn off for personnel with no jobs there buit 100 in customer services to fill! then maybe get a name in marketing to speak to at the end of the general conversation. Always offer to call back later or come in in person for a 5min chat and maybe an introduction. When you get a lead lawys mentuion you had a nice chat with the persn in name and they said it might be okay, if you had some time to talk to you more abot the career in this type of general role...two threats down- you have an IN from personnel and ytou are looking for general uinformation and not applying in your face right now.

I once had a 1/8th page in t he herald with my name on it and do you know how many people called up for further details? None got through to me anyway!!! Think thorugh your questions and remember ytou are interviewing the company as muych as they you- it is the sutiablitiy of the company to your own motivations as much as the other way around!

Job hunting while unemployed can be a pretty thankless task, sending out anonymous applicatiosn and on spec letters. But using on it as an extended information searhc and focusing on finding out about companies and careers and wondering yourself if it suits you reduces the streess level, gets you used to persinal contact and gets you plucked out of the pile of other applicatiosn who didin't go that extra mile. Time is used a lot more constructivly in OPENing doors rather than hoping and getting them closed on you.

Getting a foot in the door can be a double edged sword- okay a customer services, tlelmaerkting or any other old job in a company can seem like a good foot in the door- a chance to mingle - but you may be tarred with the brush of being "them" from the "us" of the marketing department at war with customer services. Or they will be a bit snotty when they get an application from you, the temp! Once again not a lot of epople in marketing even have a BSc in the subject so you are quite threatening. So getting some exposure to your industry it can be wise to find out IF your no.1 company prospect DO advertisie internally and DO take internal candidates from themps. Otherwise it can be wise to work for a COMPETITOR and come in with knowledge from that angle. Foot in the door jobs are a bit challenging like sales as the more direct line to marketing rols

Your Letter

I take this before the CV because it is often what is read first, not just out of curtousey but to check you are applying for the right job and what plausible story you may or may not have.

Often in fact, I have noticed that they haven't really read your CV- they are so impressed by the letter- this is a bit problematic and recently I completely over-sold myself in a spec mailing, attended two promising first little 'chats' and got sent home to think again on that count!

But your letter is going to of course go through the different screening and be read for MMO! Most people themselves will be looking for method in everything because that is what appeals to the 'level headed' but I reckon most people actually recruit on the emotional- that is why Motivation is so big a part and needs to shine through.

Motivation should be in most paragraphs of a four to six paragraph letter. Which job and why you are apllying of course. Then maybe a little on the industry/ market appeal and why you conisder yourself suitable. Then maybe throw in your USP in relation to this and the specific job on offer and that company

Finally a more general "work, hard, acheive' paragraph and a bit about yourself in this light and generall y people ability is to come before the usual "look forward tro hearing from you regarding this exciting opportuntiy' slips in.

remember to be abkle to back up all that you claim with practical examples- more on that in STARS later

You probablyu have USP, you definetly have MM now some O- remembver Opportunity to rlocate and start at short notice or immediately even. Be keen!

Pre-letters: it can be worth, even for an advertised postion to write an open application on spec anyway. You don't need to include your CV and you can write to several people at the same time without annoyuing anyone with loads of bits of paper. Some bright spark in marketing or personnel should put two and two together and contact you in regards to the actual position. This means you have had air time already. Follow the letter up with a brief call to personnel and then get a name in marketing to speak to. Hold back on your details, deflecting questions on your experience to 'i'll send an application, but would like to know more about the role'

These days people no longer have junk flyers and telesales- they have endless junk mail and a full inbox! So when applying it can be more noticeable for a job with many applicants to send in a quality paper Letter and CV, in a non fold envelope to several people- mark it private and confidential, addressee only- this gets you past the cheeky wee secretary jealous of university types! Your CV or any application is a very private matter! People now will get only a handful of envelopes per day with maybe just one external with a hand written adressing and licked on stamps i.e. clearly NOT juynk mail.

Your CV

The CV for most of you is only important in the manner it presents information. It should also present motivation to reinforce your letter in a more fomral way. It should explain as much about ytour presonal qualities as it does your first degree work, your part time jobs and your masters course.

Also it has to stand out- putting a colour photo on the top right corner in line with the address details can get you picked out. Do this!

The other practical thing is that people always like to write in the margins and spaces so make them large. Use prose for the introduction, what you achieved in jobs or in projects and any paragparh on hiobbies if they are rleevant or show more about you in terms of this role and MMO.

the first parpagraph can be - "An outgoing and hard working person, actively looking for roles within x industry. Has relevant education for this industry/career ...has a usp... currently completingmastersat business shciool in marketing with motivation to have a career in xxx. Available for interview and can commence work immediately/short notice"

this can run to maybe even three paragraphs with sub headings like 'personal qualities' 'lifetime achievements' 'Acadmic Record Summary'

You can also blend in project work and achievemnnets with work in a chronilogical career summary or just 'experience and achievements' . this forces the reader to think about you and ok, it hides your lack of work experience in amongst other interesting and RELEVANT experiences. Now e need to finish off with STARS becuase this is the final impressive technique qwhich will get your abilities noticed and understood.


situation, task, actions and results

I have a mate called James Hosea who is always goign on about what "we did" and what " we acheived" . He is a clever bloke and good at getting other people to do stuff, and also at taking praise when maybe he doesn't deserve it. He does howver avoid the "i" a lot.

Now in an interview situaion this is the kiss of deatrh. Personnell are good at using this as a n attach point to throurghly discredit you or puyt you on the spot. Think about the situation and rsults in terms of the team but the task and YOUR actions personally.

It may be that you did something quite minor but it shows you understood a team problem, you got a task given or defined it yourself and you did something and you understood the postiitive impact it had on the team.

Think of all your project work and work ecperience in this light. Choose some which are just you and some which are a team, some where you just followed on and others where you took the lead. Put a littele note on the acheivemnent or general task in the CV and be prepared to talk about it. You can also of ocurse use a as star in your letter, or even a couple, to support your personal abilitieis in rleation to this job.

Other than STARS I think the Career setrvice at strathclyde offer an excellent intervirw coaching service which is of really international clibre in my experuience! SO they can prepare you for the ype of quesitons and general way interviews work. STARS will help you a lot in answertinbf some of those hard " give me some examples" questions.

You know, that really ends all I have to say in this first badly spelled draught of the talk to be erm published. Personally I hgave undoubtedly had more interviews than the whole of your class put together in the course of 20 years in the work market, widest possible sense of course at my still tender age!

I hope to give this talk one day, and use the stats I got hold off and the more clever reducing the odds pyramid

Myself I had a hell career in many ways , with lots of hours many of which wasted! My ny biggest failing was not to set career goals ..."any road will take you there if you don't know wher eyou are going" I am excluded from many jobs by being too old and just too capable to go back and start in a new direction.
ALso I lack any concrete man- management line reporting to put on the CV for positioins which actually fit my bloody psychographic profile and general attitudes!
If I had been more serious about doing what I said I would, makerting genetic products, then I would have gone and spoken to more people about it ...maybe I would have chosen not to go in becuase of the percieved need' for aPHd . Certainly it is a habit to get into in phoning up and getting known, and it gets TOO easy now...too easy to presume and ask the tight questions which dont' expand the pososibility. Too easy to lean on my many years experience and too easy to forget my motivation element.

There must be many interviews I went away from leaving the interviewers unimpressed by my lack of real interest and real motivation to work for them rather than just thinking aout the job as a pay cheque each month. Motivation is not all about jumping up and down enthusisatically - it is about focusing on what you want and if you do this, following a path which will get you places

good night and good luck!