I see a growing trend in college grads, specifically those who are pursuing a degree in marketing, PR, or communications.
That trend is this: most college graduates do not possess the applicable digital marketing skill-sets that allow them to positively impact potential businesses that wish to hire them.
And that’s certainly not the fault of college students.
After all, most North Dakota State University (NDSU) or Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) students enter their college years expecting to get an education that allows them to find success and happiness, along with a few Bison games in between.
More importantly, as a graduate or soon-to-be grad, you would hope that your Alma mater has prepared you for the coming work-world, so that you can tackle earth-shattering marketing campaigns, graphic design and PR strategies.
But the learning curve is steep, and students simply are not being trained in many of the strategic and tactical aspects of digital marketing.
Some of the most basic core competencies are being missed.
An aptitude for things like web-copywriting ability, (not to be confused with journalism) email marketing expertise, basic knowledge of blogging, and how to create measurable marketing strategies are being buried under a mound of expensive books and old-school teachings that aren’t relevant.
Enough is enough
I’m passionate about helping college students.
And it’s time that those in the professional working world step up to help the future generations of marketers tell better stories, that ultimately help businesses grow.
In light of this revelation, (not a recent revelation by any means) I’ve decided to help any college student that wants to get a job after college.
If you’re a marketing major, communications major or journalism major at North Dakota State University, Minnesota State University Moorhead, or Concordia College, then this blog piece is for you and I’d like to offer a lifeline.
If you’re REALLY serious about getting a job after college, I’m even willing to help.
Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll email you all kinds of great resources, knowledge and wisdom in the marketing industry, that can help you get a job faster and make you a better marketer and writer.
Onto the three ways you, as a college student, can land your first gig out of college…
Tried-and-True Method #1: Prospects and customers, not you, demand value
The first step in getting a job in marketing before your graduate is to understand who you serve.
You need to know why businesses and organizations function and how marketing is a part of this equation.
Organizations, whether it be for-profit businesses or non-profits, function because they have clients and customers that demand something.
It doesn’t matter if the business is B2B, B2C, or non-profit, they all exist to serve a customer.
Customers and clients of your future employer(s) are demanding you to educate them, and inform them. Customers and consumers of your future employer ultimately find value from whatever it is you happen to be schlepping.
The product or service that you’re offering must give prospective customers/clients some sort of return on investment (ROI), which is the definition of value.
As a writer, marketer, content creator, your job is not to create awesome social media campaigns or storyboard the next viral YouTube video.
Your job is to create web-based content that creates value for customers and prospective clients, thus creating revenue and sales opportunities for the company.
The marketing campaigns you develop are simply a tactic to accomplish this, and embracing this mindset of serving the customer first is paramount in your career path. Own it.
Tried-and-True Method #2: Take initiative
How does a college grad create value for my future employer?
By showing initiative, that’s how. One awesome way to show that you’re taking initiative is by by creating online content that customers and prospects will love.
One excellent tactic that helps businesses engage customers is with a blog.
I would encourage every single college student to unabashedly dive into blogging.
Blogging, when done right, can educate buyers, build trust, and drive traffic to a businesses website. Blogging is not expensive, rather simple to learn, and a great way to engage prospects and potential buyers.
- 76% of B2B marketing leaders use blogging as a marketing tactic.
- 62% of B2B marketers rate blogs as effective.
- B2B marketers that blog receive 67% more leads than those that do not.
- Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website.
- Blogs have been rated as the 4th most trusted source for accurate online information.
- The only thing blogging costs you: your time.
As a college student, blogging, and showing that you blog consistently, shows employer’s that you’re passionate about your craft, and that you are purposeful with the knowledge that you’ve learned.
It will immediately differentiate you as a job candidate.
Tried-and-True Method #3: Check your attitude
One of the worse elements of a bad attitude is entitlement. The character flaw will kill your career, fast.
This one thing won’t necessarily help you land your first gig, but will derail it.
Keep this in mind: most professionals don’t really find a career rhythm until their 30’s, most of your wealth will come in your 40’s, and you’ll spend the first 5 years or so working on tasks that aren’t awe-inspiring, but very necessary.
And you’re also not entitled to anything, nor do you deserve anything. You are not going to make $50k a year, right away, nor will you have job security or awesome benefits provided to you.
Early on in your marketing career you’ll be challenged with what will seem like crappy, menial tasks. Projects like organizing tradeshows, writing printed collateral for crusty sales-guys, and dealing with a myriad of tasks that seem silly at the time.
But these tasks are not silly, rather a very normal part of your development process.
Even though entitlement doesn’t have much to do with skill-set, it is super important as its part of your overall mindset.
Mindset is much more important than skill-set, and way more critical to your career path, so be sure to constantly check your attitude and mindset to make sure entitlement doesn’t take root.
Punch fear in the face
In anticipation of your famed graduation day, you’ll undoubtedly be hit with a tidal wave of fear and emotions…especially if you don’t have a job lined up.
This is normal. It’s happened to all of us before. So remember to breath. You will survive and you will eventually get a job.
Take each day one day at a time, and enjoy this season in your young life…and remember to get busy blogging.