Last week saw the first in our series of sector events and we kicked off in style with ‘Careers in Marketing, Advertising and PR’ and Robyn Cooke, final year CAS student, popped along to give us the lowdown. She discovered these sectors offer a huge variety in experiences and a range of diverse opportunities. Whether it’s leading a team project, analysing government data, or creating a new campaign for Persil – the evening’s speakers enlightened us to the dynamic world of advertising, marketing and PR. Over to Robyn…
Kate Bolton, the self-proclaimed ‘Grad Mother’ of a national Market Research Company (TNS), believes the key to a successful career in Marketing is to be ‘curious about people’.This was a recurring sentiment of most of the evening’s speakers; that jobs in Marketing, Advertising and PR involve thinking about people’s needs, wants and interests. Therefore they require ‘people persons’ as they often entail both individual and team work, networking and presentations; as well as sociable working environments. However, working environments within these sectors are variable as there are a wide range of organisations, from small boutique agencies to large international companies. The speakers at the evening’s events worked for both specific advertising or PR agencies, and marketing departments within bigger companies. So there are a lot of different opportunities to work in these areas.
The majority of graduate schemes or jobs in Marketing, Advertising and PR do not require a specific degree discipline; there is definitely a need for logic but you do not have to be an expert economist to excel in this sector. However one thing that is always needed is: passion. The five speakers talking at the event all showed passion for their jobs and companies, and this was their advice for those thinking of following in their footsteps. The high volume of applicants and limited places mean that being offered a graduate scheme is a lengthy and difficult process. However, the tried and tested advice of the evening’s speakers is to be passionate and enthusiastic, this will make you stand out to employers than just a 2:1 or a First.
For those who are struggling to gain internships or graduate schemes in these sectors, there was an interesting presentation by Rob Markwell, the Director of B-Hive. B-Hive is competition for those with a passion for Marketing, PR, Advertising, Graphic Design or Web design, and is an opportunity to present your own ideas to industry experts with the chance for it to result in a work experience offer. Check it out at www.bhive-creative.com.
Another thing I learnt during the evening was that these sectors are adaptable and evolving, especially due to recent developments in technology and the rise of social media. Therefore a common theme of the work in these sectors is: flexibility and creativity. The ability to be flexible was shown in particular by, Amy Williams of Ogilvy (also Warwick graduate) who had worked on a billboard project for British Airways and now was beginning a new advertising campaign for Persil washing detergent. You have to be able to adapt to the client or brief, but it also means it can be exciting as there is variety in your day-to-day work. Amy told us her tips on getting into the world of advertising, an important one being to ‘practise talking about adverts’. This is because the number one question you will be asked on an application or in an interview is, ‘What is your favourite advertising campaign and why?’
Although I already had an interest in marketing, advertising and PR before I attended, the evening’s talk did teach me a lot about these sectors and I came away with some great tips. A really positive aspect of the evening was that 3 of the speakers had graduated in the past few years, and two of those were Warwick alumni. So this made the talks directly relevant to those of us sitting in the audience and, more significantly, provided a sense hope for those who are keen to pursue a career in these areas. And to help you (and me!) do that I’ll leave you with some final top tips:
- Go for it! Online applications and screening tests may seem daunting but they aren’t trying to catch you out, so have a go and see what you can do.
- Do your research. Make sure you have researched your employer and the industry you applying into.
- Get some experience. Whether it’s work experience or extra circulars, employers want to know what you have learnt from your experiences and the skills you have developed to make you stand out
- Show some enthusiasm. In interviews talk enthusiastically and passionately about yourself, the work, the company; this is more impressive to employers than good grades alone. (It will also help you in the long-term to gain promotion)
- Practise and polish. Practise talking about adverts, campaigns or industry development, and try to form interesting opinions.
- Persevere. There is a lot of competition out there so don’t be disheartened by rejection, keep applying and good luck!