Retail and marketing graduates in particular will find themselves among those jostling for jobs. The industry has become more cautious as consumers have done the same with their money, with the outcome that an industry which has always been competitive is now even harder to break into. So that’s it then, years of studying wasted? Of course not, because graduates in those subjects have all the skills they need to see them right. It’s just a matter of reapplying those skills and marketing yourself.
1. Make the product good
Marketing and Retail are competitive industries and it can be difficult to get noticed. As in any business it’s important to let employers know exactly how good you are, and if you get the job, you need to knuckle down and do it. Mark Artus, CEO of leading Branding Agency 1HQ told us: "We expect graduates that we hire to be capable of executing any task that we give them. We expect them to be solving problems from day one."
2. Research and development When designing and selling a product, research is what it’s all about. Starbucks don’t just sell coffee, they also sell all the extras they know their customers want. The same is true when you’re the product. A recent study of employers showed that they’re not sure what a lot of degrees involve, so it’s up to you to sell them your skills. Be honest with yourself and find out everything about any company you think you want to work for. Artus agrees: "You’ve got to know who you are, what your strengths are, what your weaknesses. What do you want to get out of life, what do you want to achieve? "Graduates need to make sure they’ve done their homework, spent a good amount of time preparing whether for an interview or going into the business and really understand what they’re going into. Make sure you know the field you want to go into."
3. Budgets and timelines Everyone is feeling the lobster-pinch of the recession. Branding and marketing companies doubly so because it’s not just them counting the pennies, it’s also the people hiring them. In this climate, being able to manage a budget and work to deadlines is absolutely essential. Even for those working at the more creative end of the industry, knowing what you can do, when you can have it done and how much it will cost can be the difference between being headhunted for a promotion and being head of the queue at the job centre.
4. Ask the hard questions "The hard question is the question you need to ask but would rather not," says Artus. This can be the biggest question of all: ‘Do I actually want a career in this industry?’ Lots of graduates can feel locked into a profession by their degree. Remember that a degree is proof of what you can do, it’s not a contract, and if there’s one employer who wants the skills you have, there will be others.