This week I attended a packed professional development and networking event for Marketing students and Chartered Institute of Marketing members at York University Management School. Speakers included directors and heads of marketing from The Big Word (translators), Benenden (healthcare), ex-Vodafone and, most enlightening of all, two currently employed recent global marketing graduates.

Some common themes emerged that resonate with current trends in getting a graduate job and careers:

Cut through the noise when applying for jobs

L’Oreal whittled thousands of applications down so they could carry out telephone interviews with (wait for it) 4000 people to reduce the number further. Tips that worked for the two graduates elsewhere:

  • an interactive infographic instead of a standard CV direct to the CEO
  • bypassing the application route and sending an email to the CEO, saying he had been offered another job he didn’t want because he always wanted to work with this company

It’s OK to explore and dip your feet in to try things

  • The value of an internship and rotating among different departments to see what you like and don’t like
  • Apply for Google funds to run a marketing campaign without being employed to add to your CV
  • The value of being involved in university societies to supplement degree learning
  • “Your favourite course is a big hint for your career direction.”

Build a network of people who know more than you

  • Join a professional body and attend events
  • Get a mentor

The value of speaking other languages

One of the graduates successfully got a job as a Marketing Manager straight from uni (and she didn’t think she had any chance at that level) because of her languages and cultural understanding rather than marketing experience.

Other tips for success

  • Know your success measure
  • Delight in what you do
  • You don’t need to be the expert, it’s about the team
  • Deliver more value
  • Honesty, personality, flexibility
  • “Test and learn, then move on”
  • ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ (cf Richard Branson’s advice above).

If you are a recently employed graduate, what are your top tips for getting a graduate job?