Wednesday, May 11, 2016

College Marketing Students: 3 Tips for Navigating the Job Hunt

As students of marketing, we seek to learn this ever-important skill to help brands tell their stories to consumers, as well as to tell our own stories to prospective employers. Having done so at Northwestern University, on the job hunt and for brands such as Coca Cola, my experiences only echo the outcomes of advice about breaking into the professional market mentioned in two great articles.

In her “If You Need An Interview Script, You Shouldn’t Be Interviewing” article for Forbes, Liz Ryan, founder and CEO of Human Workplace, a prominent think tank, coaching and consulting business, emphasizes the importance of avoiding “the script” on job interviews for employers and potential employees. She holds that the strongest culture fits and organic conversation come from more humanized, natural-feeling conversation, rather than more contrived back-and-forth. In letting go of pre-rehearsed questions and answers, employers and potential employees yield more meaningful results from the interview process, and thus, better understanding of job fits.

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In his “Landing an internship has become way more important and complex than anyone’s acknowledging” article for LinkedIn, Jeff Selingo, a prominent thought leader in higher education, emphasizes that this sense of fit holds true in the realm of landing internships as they become even more important in the ever-evolving job market. He underscores the paramount importance of internships (summer and school-year) in helping college students get a foot in the door for full-time jobs after graduation, or developing strong hands-on work experience.

After reviewing these articles, working marketing-intensive internships and studying Marketing Strategy at Northwestern, I offer three tips based on my experience, as well as Liz Ryan and Jeff Selingo’s expertise:

·      Beware of Scripts: Approach each interview not as a rigidly structured back-and-forth, but rather as an engaging conversation with someone you would like to work with.

·      Internships = Investment: Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty in the job market during and between school years, as even the job experiences you like the least give you perspective on the road ahead.

·      Think Big Picture: Always have a sense of your true north, as each step you take (whether in an interview or networking event) helps to guide you on your path toward achieving your greater goals.

With these three takeaways in mind, the job search should stand as a look to your future (near and distant), as well as an exercise in finding a work environment that genuinely fits your personality and skills.
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Michael Schonfeld is an Integrated Marketing Communications student at Northwestern University, as well as a marketer experienced in helping brands use music to build their identities with consumers.

You can find him on LinkedIn or on Twitter at @MSchony.

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