Start A Blog
Starting a blog can be a great way to put your online marketing skills on display. You can show potential employers that you can create quality content, earn links, and build an audience – things that many companies need to excel in online marketing. Ideally you should create your blog on a personal domain like charlessipe.com so that you can build your personal brand and rank first in Google for your name.
Attend Networking Events
Many new graduates have the misconception that most of the jobs available can be found on job sites or Craigslist. While Craigslist does have some great job postings, a large majority of job openings are not advertised or posted online. Often the hiring manager is too busy to spend time seeking applicants so they just ask people they know for referrals. This “hidden job market” can be accessed by having a connection to someone who is hiring or knows someone who is hiring. Building your network can help you find these “hidden” opportunities. One of the best ways to build your network are professional networking events such as American Marketing Association, Social Media Club, or Chamber of Commerce meetups. A multi-year project I worked on was a result of talking to a fellow alumni at an alumni networking event who happened to have a mentor who was looking for an online marketer.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile can help you get found by people looking for talented individuals with a specific skill. Including keyword phrases like “Seattle marketing specialist” several times in your profile will help you rank highly when people search LinkedIn. Additionally, having more connections increases your second and third degree network which helps you rank as well according to a Mixergy course on LinkedIn. Joining and participating in LinkedIn Groups can also be a great networking opportunity.
Request Informational Interviews
Marketing professionals are typically very open to helping those who are just starting out. If you contact marketers and request to buy them coffee or lunch so that you can ask them how they got to their position, they will often say yes. Often this relationship can lead to a possible job later on or introductions to other good contacts. Just make sure that you prepare some good questions and even research their background. You might also want to bring a pen and pad to take notes. One time I was conducting an informational interview and the person got very upset because I wasn’t taking notes.
Hire a Career Coach
A skilled coach can teach you how to be more effective in your job search and help you prepare to perform well in interviews. They can teach you things you don’t know that you don’t know and notice mistakes you may be making. I have never hired a career coach, but I would consider it in the future.
Become Active in Social Media
Building a social presence can help you get noticed by potential employers and it can also help you build relationships with key people in your industry. With Twitter you can often talk to people you would be otherwise unable to reach. You can use the @ replies to respond to questions or comments people make and get them to notice and engage with you. I recently was able to attract the attention of one of the top people in the field of online marketing by responding to his plea for help on Twitter.
Offer to Work for Free to Gain Experience
Often times new marketing grads face a Catch-22. A position requires that you have marketing experience but you can’t get experience unless you get hired. One way around this is to contact a marketing person at a company you are interested in and offer to work for free. I know a person who did this at a Seattle startup and eventually became the number two person at the company.
Do you have any additional tips for new marketing grads or comments. Please leave them in the comments below.