In part 2 of this blog series about how college students can get a job before graduation, I’ll share a few more tidbits.
I’ll also share some wisdom that doesn’t necessarily apply to the tactical pieces of marketing, but nuggets that are just as important for you, a college student, when looking for your first job, post-graduation ceremony.
Let’s get started.
In email #1 of how NDSU or MSUM students can get a job before graduation, we touched on 3 points for college student to be aware of.
- Know who you serve. Whether you’re blogging, creating email campaigns, or writing website copy, the end goal should always be to serve the consumer. They demand value, so give it to them with byte-sized chunks of educational, yet compelling content.
- Blog. Employer’s and bosses want to see initiative. Any company looking to hire a college student that’s soon to graduate should be looking to see how creative and motivated they are. If you’re skill-set is the same as all your peers, life’s going to be hard for you. If you’re able to differentiate yourself through some sort of unique project, like blogging, then this is good because you’re able to show initiative which will help you ultimately land a gig.
- Avoid the career-killing attitude of entitlement. Entitlement is when someone thinks they should “get” something when they haven’t worked for it. Entitlement is when you think that because you have a degree, you deserve something. Just because you have a 4 year degree, doesn’t mean a potential employer will give you the keys to the castle. You need to earn it. You have a tremendous amount to learn post-graduation and in your 20’s. The next few years of your post-graduation-life should be spent learning, listening and being patient. You won’t be a manager right away, and you won’t make $50k, $60k, or $100k right away. It’s also easy to be a martyr when this happens. Don’t fall into this trap. This is rooted in entitlement and this attitude will kill your newly budding job-adventure. See what Jon Acuff and Michael Hyatt have to say about entitlement here.
Enough reviewing, here are 6 tidbits of wisdom that will help you land a job before you graduate from North Dakota State University or any college in America, for that matter.
Tried-and-True Method #1: Learn about technology
Unless you move from Fargo to the Twin Cities and land a gig at Best Buy, Cargill, 3M, or Medtronic, you’ll undoubtedly be working for a small-to-medium-sized business (SMB).
What does this mean? It means that most SMB’s use website platforms, like WordPress, to run and launch their websites.
Learn about platforms like WordPress before you graduate. This will not only help you get a job as you’ll have some experience, but learning this skill-set will carry into other jobs you may have later.
What sort of aspects of WordPress should you learn about?
- Learn how to build effective landing pages.
- Learn how to effectively use SEO plug-ins, like SEO Yoast, in order to get the best search value from your site.
- Understand how to find and use WordPress themes that will get you the best user-experience possible.
- Figure out how to impact the little things when building or updating a WordPress site like page titles, alt tags for images, tagging video’s that are linked to your site, and how to use forms applications, like Gravity forms.
(if you don’t know what the above mentioned terms mean, that’s okay. but you need to start researching them if you don’t. Use Google and the web to learn about them)
Other technology to learn would range from social media automation tools to SEO tools.
Get to know social media software like Sprout Social and HootSuite Pro. You’ll also want to understand more robust marketing automation software like Infusionsoft, Hubspot, and Act-On.
What does marketing automation software do and why is it important?
When you cut your lawn, you can use scissors or a lawn-mower. Both will get the job done, but only one saves you time and makes the job more efficient.
Marketing automation software is the lawn-mower of digital marketing activities, and learning about these technologies will make you a smarter marketer.
Tried-and-True Method #2: Everything begins with copy
Copy, as in copywriting, should be a heavily stressed part of every marketing degree.
And I’m not talking about journalism, as in writing large, cumbersome paragraphs as seen in the Sunday newspaper.
I’m talking about web copy. Web copy is defined as copy that’s published on webpages, blogs, e-books, landing pages, social media accounts, etc.
Everything starts with copy.
Let’s take blogging as an example. There’s a science and an art in setting up the layout of an impressive company blog.
You need to consider how to write effective headlines, create calls-to-action that drive prospect and customer engagement, and how to develop blog topics that answer questions for prospects.
That all starts with copy. Copy is anything in the form of written word that ultimately gets in front of your customers or prospective clients.
Learn how to write and write well. Check out some resources here that will help you write amazing copy.
Tried-and-True Method #3: Play nice in the sandbox
When finally getting your first job out of college, whether the career field is marketing or not, you need to learn how to work with others.
This may sound easy, but it’s not. It is very complicated.
In working in a small business environment in Fargo, or working for a billion dollar company in Minneapolis, working with others can be challenging. You need to learn how to productively express yourself when frustrated, you need to know how to constructively work through conflict, and most importantly you need to learn to listen when working with others.
Listening, truly listening, means not interrupting others and hearing what someone else is saying. This is a tremendously tough skill to learn, but learning it in your 20’s will save you all kinds of crazy-headaches when arriving in your 30’s and 40’s.
Learn these 3 things when working with a team of people, and you’ll instantly catapult your career to new heights.
Tried-and-True Method #4: Don’t gossip
I once worked in an environment where almost everyone gossiped. There was constant backstabbing, plenty of tittle-tattle, and more scandalmongers than a Hollywood tabloid.
Few trusted each other, everyone was hypersensitive, and most were afraid of making mistakes. It was awful.
There’s nothing worse than office gossip, and there’s nothing more hurtful than when you find out a co-worker, who’s trust you thought you’d gained, sacrifices your professional friendship for selfish reasons.
If you choose to be a “busybody”, do so at your own peril. Because once you break that bond of trust, it’s very hard to ever get it back. And when you have a professional reputation of distrust, it will follow you, and no one likes a gossip or a busybody.
Rise above negativity, don’t talk about others behind their backs, and tackle issues that you have with others directly, by talking things out. You’ll be better off in the end, and certainly won’t burn any bridges either.
Tried-and-True Method #5: Don’t quit
Many marketing professionals I know job hop. I’ve been guilty of this in the past, as have many others. When I see marketers that job hop, one thing comes to mind: Quitter.
Quitting doesn’t just apply to those in the marketing field, either. It applies to everyone.
Too many people in our modern-day-society choose to quit. They quit on life, they quit on their marriages, they quit on each other. It’s easy to quit…and it’s extremely lazy.
When hard times come, in your new career journey, don’t quit. Keeping hustling, keep grinding, and do not give up.
Life in the working world will be very hard at times. You’ll encounter bosses who never compliment you, executives who micro-manage you, and work with customers who generally make life unbearable.
But don’t give up. Don’t quit. Stick it out. As Jon Acuff says, “Show up helpful. Show up grateful. Show up humble.”
Tried-and-True Method #6: Learn to sell
Whether you work for a non-profit, or a for profit company, you’re always selling.
You’re selling a product/service to your prospects, you’re potentially selling an idea to investors, you’re pitching a concept or a budget to your bosses, and you’re selling suggestions to your fellow peers.
Before you start selling, however, you need to have empathy. Empathy is when you put yourself in the shoes of the person to whom you’re selling.
For example, if you’re selling to a prospect, imagine yourself in their situation. Maybe they’re hesitant to buy because they’ve been burned before and don’t want to commit.
Or maybe your boss can’t support your idea because he doesn’t have the budget to support it.
Or perhaps your co-worker can’t quite grasp your recommendation because they’re strapped for time, and their schedule is completely full.
Either way, have empathy. Your audience deserves to have you walk a mile in their shoes. That’s what makes someone great at sales.
And always remember: don’t sell your product, rather solve peoples problems.
Punch fear in the face
Take each day one day at a time, and enjoy this season in your life, post-graduation.
And if you would, leave a comment below and share if you can relate to anything you just read.