3 Tried-and-True Methods Sure to Help College Students Get a Job In Marketing Before Graduation [part #1]

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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 (dave.s@bngteam.com) 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. 

Here are some amazing stats about blogging from, Lee Odden, author of Optimize and CEO of Minneapolis-based marketing agency TopRank Marketing.

  • 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.

3 Ways My Life Changed After A Near-Death Experience (And The Most Important Lessons I Learned)

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On December 23rd, 1994, I almost bled to death as the result of a horrendous skiing accident.

I was skiing with my brothers on an icy winter day, and in my feeble attempt to keep up with them, had a nasty accident that landed me in the hospital.

It was awful. I remember lying in the snow after striking what felt like a Mack truck, thinking to myself ‘what just happened?’

Then everything got really scary when I tried to get up.

As I flexed and moved my body and legs to try and stand up, I realized something was very wrong. What I didn’t know at the time is that my pelvis, parts of my hip, and my tailbone were shattered. I was bleeding internally and hemorrhaging blood, but couldn’t feel it.

When I finally got to the hospital, two days before Christmas mind you, the doctors immediately prepped me for surgery and put me under.

While the orthopedic surgeon was operating on me, he noticed a sudden drop in my blood pressure.

Twice.

It dropped to the point where they had to medically resuscitate me. I almost died.

Life is incredibly fragile.

I don’t often think about death or the frailty of life.

There’s not a reason for me to think about it. For the most part, I’m healthy and have zero concerns for my well-being.

I live life like a guy who’s in his late 30’s, heading into his 40’s. I tend to live like I’m invincible and won’t ever die. Most days, I typically live like I’m promised one more day on this earth, working desperately to squeeze in a little bit more each day.

I don’t pop pills, don’t self-medicate, and don’t take any prescription medications. As a friend of mine once said, I don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t chew and don’t hang out with people who do.

But our existence is still vulnerable. You’ll die someday. I’ll die someday. Life is short and we’re not here for long.

Seeing life through a different set of lenses.

People I’ve met that have experienced a near-death experiences tend to look at life through a different set of lenses.

From their encounter, they’ve learned that life is indeed fragile and tend to live with a renewed vigor and freedom.

They are liberated. They dream. They are confident. They are grateful. Most, not all, tend to live life with a reckless abandon, where their focus is on letting go of things instead of on hanging onto them.

I envy people that live this way, don’t you?

What I learned.

I’d like to think I learned something profound from my accident.

I want to say I had an epiphany which caused me to become some all-knowing intellectual with a level of emotional intelligence that rivals that of Jesus,  Gandhi, and Tony Robbins.

But I didn’t.

I did discover some things. But it wasn’t the accident that taught me, rather the recovery afterward.

My recovery was rough. I got bad news from my orthopedist, after my surgery, and I had a choice to make. He told me I may not ever run again, and I’d have to learn how to walk. My doctor told me it would be hard. This news was pretty discouraging, considering I was an active, young guy.

But for me, it was all a matter of perspective. That’s the first thing I figured out.

My perspective changed. Perspective is a powerful thing. Perspective is the art of changing your attitude toward something. It’s choosing to make a conscious decision to live either in the negative, or live with a worldview that things could always be worse.

For me, perspective revealed that I needed to find joy in my trial and circumstance. Doing this wasn’t easy. Finding joy, and choosing to embrace this mindset, was the most gut-wrenching personal commitment I’ve ever had to make. But the alternative was way worse.

I also learned the power of goal setting. I’ve always been an intentional person who favors action over conversation, but living with purpose through goal setting is key to not wasting your life.

You can’t accomplish everything or be anything, despite what the commencement speaker told you at your college graduation ceremony. You can, however, set goals to help you achieve your passions in life.

Lastly, I learned not to give up. I could’ve thrown in the towel, early on, and ended up living in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. But I didn’t. Instead, I plowed through my physical therapy and found inspiration in accomplishing little victories.

Life is going to seem daunting at times, but there is always hope. You simply need to persevere and take action. Do not give up. Even when you fail, keep moving forward.

You need to learn to focus your energy on what you can control, get up earlier, learn to hustle, and embrace the things that make you wiser.

Change your perspective, set goals, and don’t quit.

Learn to be grateful.

Have you endured a scary situation in your own life?

Maybe you’ve had a life-threatening experience, as I did, that shocked your perspective, forcing you to be more grateful than ever before.

What was it and how did it make you more grateful for what you have?

Share in the comments below. I’d love to know how your trial made you more grateful, and if you learned the same things I did from a near-death experience.

 

Five not-wrong-but-annoying-things you can do on Twitter

I’m addicted to Twitter.

It’s short, sweet, to the point and relevant! It’s such a great way to communicate.

But man is it frustrating when I login to my Twitter account only to see some of my followers completely hijack my Twitter feed because they choose to post random things 50 times in a row.

Here’s an example: you check Twitter and see 50 posts…from the same person.

Annoying. So what does this do?

It ends up flooding my Twitter feed from anything relevant and good.

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I’ve got a solution. I’ve created a guide that you can follow, with five technically not wrong — but annoying — things you can do on Twitter that cause the world to shift out of alignment. These five things are practices you should avoid.

  1. When posting throughout the day, don’t Tweet 50 Tweets all at once. By randomly and strategically Tweeting throughout the day, you’ll gather more followers because you won’t annoy the masses. You’ll get more traction — in terms of relevance — and engage more people.
  2. Tweets with food pics. Okay, this is just gross. I’m guilty of it, just like many Twitter addicts. Enough said.
  3. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a duck. If you follow a Twitter account that looks naughty and share their content, you could potentially look silly. If it looks subjective, then it probably is. Plus, no one likes to get a call or email from your social media manager asking, “did you know that you shared a inappropriate photo of Kim Kardashian…again?” Avoid those touchy conversations.
  4. Political Tweets. Be kind here. If you’re complaining about various political candidates via Twitter and it’s perceived as negative, then it’s negative. No one likes a “Negative Nelly” or a “Debbie Downer.” Be kind, be high level and be encouraging.
  5. Be creative and original. Don’t post the same stuff all the time. Tweet about a run or walk or a great coffee shop meeting. Engage people on Twitter with what you’re passionate about. Don’t Tweet the same stuff all the time.