Tuesday, April 01, 2008

It is only a minority of positions which are advertised, in fact 60% are not and this is even higher in some business sectors or for certain particular levels in management. Hard to believe isn't it?

Conversely the average strathclyde marketing graduate probably uses about 90% of their energy on advertised positions.

Further to this, if you subtract the public sector positions in marketing, at say assistant level, then you have even fewer. You bet your ass that most of these jobs in the big cities are filled with either the sitting temp or by nepotistic means. I would guess that 70% of entry level marketing jobs are 'secret'.

About a third of positions are filled through recruitment agencies

per se, but this is much lower in terms of entry level jobs and probably they are less advertised by them. As said before, you as the new graduate probably have little or no appeal to a greedy consultant looking to get their 10% on a fatter 30K plus candidate placing. However it is worth using the Michael pages and even some of the better temp agencies like Adecco, as a source of a potential foot in the door, with or without them actually placing you.

Often they will be a barometer of new recruting in a company or whole industry ( remember, coushy jobs like in whisky marketing tend to be in 'dead mens shoes' - you are awaiting a raft of retirals from middle managers who moved into marketing in the 70s and 80s) or the smoke signal that a new department is opening in your chosen field or geographical area. They are of course by this time quite well known to some of the customer managers and the managers they have recently placed and can offer you at a cheap fee, on trial, or just as a favour. So they are a source rather than a means to an end.

It is well worth worming your way into a friendly consultant. I recommend writing to them and then door stepping them! This shows your motivation is really high and often they have a little procedure for doorsteppers which is very positive. You may be asked to come back later but it is a lot pyschologically harder to turn you down. Once you are in a temp job, a first marketing job or a project "you are working in" then they become a little more interested. But only a little and positive attitude and determination counts for more. If they ask you to send your CV in then use that as the excuse to visit them - "can i drop in present it in five minute meeting and come back with any more details you might think relevant?" . Never use e-mail as a first introduction method. If they ask you to register on their web site, print out the on line CV and doorstep them anyway with it in hand.

The non marketing consultants will fight you off with poison tipped umbrellas but the marketing specialist should at least see you after some of the tactics above. Also you have a chance to show your USP and this may be relevant to all sorts of recruitment consultants in terms of their clients.

Finding clients can be the reverse of what you think- often it is best to find a company you want to work for and establish if they use a recruitment firm. Then go both through the firm and the make contact with people at the firm.

At Least a Third of Jobs are Filled Through a Network

This statistic is possibly higher for some grades of marketing jobs in SMEs and fast growing companies. These are both formal networks, and informal. An example of the former would be say the arts marketers association, where the latter would be say a five a side team ladder!

Networking as an exercise has never worked to well for me because I was too upfront and focused on selling myself to the direct person. THis is not how it works as I found out. It is much more subtle. It is actually about just mentioning what you want to work in to all and sundry, or even before that finding out what your cousins boyfriend and his mates do or what your neighbours grown up daughter does for a living and at which company. Network appointments give a little bedrock to recruting a stranger. It is a shoe-horn method where the contact go between is the horn which eases you in. This is especially important in Norway where I live and has got me jobs even by just a vague name drop early in a networking phone call.

Plain old nepotism, old school tie, pals and people who fancy you are all immediate sources in marketing.

Enough on that, suffice to say it is the go-between contact who must know you or be trusted by the potential employer who gets you in there and not much to do with you.

A Surprisingly Large Amount of Jobs are By Open Application

Over half of the non advertised fulfillments remaining, if you like, are by direct contact, including companies own web sites BUT not the on line CV databases which as yet are probably too general and spam filled to elicit general useage.

In the last couple of years the work market in much of the western world has become so tight in some sectors that employers have taken far more proactive methods. Theses include more outward networking but also more non position specific marketing and PR. These lead to direct contact most often.

Like all effective direct marketing of complex products or services, open applications need to be treated with some degree of quality over quanitity- you need to build a good contact list and have a good message, and also follow the 'mailing' up or preceed it with a courtesay call.

On outset you want to establish who you could send your CV to and what they might want to hear. A personnel manager may need more customer service agents or sales people, so talking of your general skills in temping and your interest in the company may get you in the door where after you can establish a route into marketing immediately or thorugh a temp job in another department. Whereas a marketing manager may be looking for extra leg work and may get you a couple of weeks free from the dole or whatever, or they may need someone with your specialist first degree or career experience. You have only really hard work, enthusiasm and knowledge so far to offer, not the industry experience which will make you a good decision maker, project leader and people-manager.

It's a wise move to make up a mini cv which is a sales statement about you with bare details. This will have contact details and i recommend a photo, and a summary to be written in prose about what you are as a person, what you can do and what you are motivated to take on in your next job. No details on your actual experienc or lack there of. I had a terrific response to interview from about 40 e-mails I sent out and just about every single one replied at least with a polite "no thanks", pnly one being an asshole. I got about four interviews, but I had completely oversold myself in my little paragraph! If I had toned down the message or been a little more vague then maybe I would have had even more interviews and a successful blind date.

Advertising as Smoke Signals

So now you can see that advertised positions should only take up about one third of your effort. For public sector marketing jobs at the entry level, do apply by all means, but expect to even get to 'final' interview only to have your hopes dashed by Mary McFinbar the cooncil directors niece getting the job she was promised a year ago.

I'd say spend only about 10% of your time on the actual effective method of successful networking. Shoe horning in on reputation of a go between depends very much on how many good links you have. My seemed terrible at first hand, but it is often the second link in the chain, that cousins boyfriend or neighbours son, who have the foot in the door for you.

You should spend a great deal of your time on quality direct marketing or telemarketing yourself. This would also include the few relevant recruitment agencies you find. You want to be ahead of the qeue when someone decided to appoint a marketing dogs body, sorry, executive or APM.

Preparing a campaign means appreciating you are going to hit the individuals several times and you are going to make many of these contact points in target companies. So researching a list from the web, talking to contacts you find and snowballing out your list is the key. You will also get some good contacts out of the blue on the web these days, aiming at marketing director levels or manager and the odd personnel manager or CEO even.

It is worth doing both quality in terms of totally 'wrap round, follow up, tight targeted' hits and also some quantity from a list of contacts. use the Mail merge fuinction carefully with maybe a line in your excel source for the different companies products or business areas etc which slips in nicely to your mail merge paragraph two. Quanitity in e-mails or letters are quick to execute but spend time on formulating them and cleanign your list and data source so as to personalise each letter autmatically without gramatic mistakes or obvious blah-blah spam terms.

Following up means following up each and every one of your key targets in the telephone. It may just create a snowball to the next person or a polite no thank you. But you will be surprised that some of these will bear fruit and some of the actual contacts will want to interview you.

The key thereafter is getting to the bottom of what they need in terms of entry level marketers or how else you may need to worm your way in. A full Cv at this stage is as I have blogged earlier, the kiss of death. You want to uncover what they are up to now, which positions are at the entry level and how they fill these. Get people talking on more along the lines of what they do at the company and how the department is structured, then quickly go in after their entry level area. People move in and out of this banding very quickly so they may establish in fact a need they didn't know about- to have someone replace jean with the nice tits asap when she gets promoted to group product manager by the MD.

So after som digging about you will probably send a short half page, elevator pitch resume rather than a CV and only send a CV upon getting in on their needs. Out of say 50 such initial, well groomed and followed up open applications you will get about 5 interviews believe me.

Also some of the out of the blue replies asking you to interview from the other trawls will come through with or without a follow up CV.

Be wary. Don't go to an interview without a good idea of what job they want to see you about. Often they will have some crap or a sales job with no "in" to marketing but just call you in anyway. I spent 14 hours on trains to be told I was being interviewed for a bloody sales job post Marketing MSc! Any far flung interviews, which are dubious or don't pay travel by all means agree on the interview and then qaulify what the job actually is. If it is a bit of a 'well maybe as a stepping stone' then do the initial interview on the phone, and keep it short. If it is quite a tasty job in Truro, but you can't afford the 150 quid and they aren't paying, come up with some excuse the night before and change to a telepone interview.

Out of about ten interviews, procured from which ever source, and screened to be bone fide jobs for your career move, you will get one job offer which you should always take "in principle" while then trying hard to push others to interview you again or drop you.

Good luck!

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