Graduate Case Studies :: canada :: Michael
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Michael

  • Country
    :
    canada
  • City
    :
    Toronto
  • Company
    :
    The Mezzanine Group
  • Subject Studied
    :
    Geology
  • Job Sector
    :
    Marketing, advertising and PR
  • Job Title
    :
    Marketing Consultant
  • University
    :
    University of Oxford

Please give a brief description of your job and what it involves

In my current position, I work with the Marketing Directors of my organisation to execute the marketing plans of our clients, who are typically mid-sized business-to-business (B2B) companies.

I am responsible for various areas of marketing, from developing and distributing content to digital marketing and measuring results. More specifically, my job responsibilities include:

- Writing SEO-optimized content for clients websites
- Writing blogs for clients websites
- Authoring white papers to be used as marketing collateral
- Advertising on Google, YouTube, LinkedIn & Facebook
- Event Planning
- E-mail Marketing campaigns
- Managing social media accounts
- Organising webinars
- Rebranding exercises
- Keyword research
- Reporting
 

What key advice would you give to current students who would like to get into a similar job to you?

Well, I didn′t exactly take the typical route into Marketing.

In Canada, the majority of Marketing Professionals either studied business or Marketing at an Undergraduate level. Alternatively, if they studied a subject which was less relevant, they subsequently took a post-graduate course in Marketing, Advertising or Corporate Communications at a local college like Sheridan or Humber. I did neither of these.

Having said all of that, I believe the advice I have to offer is still very relevant to anyone who wants a career in Marketing, or to anyone that is looking to change careers and/or countries. I spent 2.5 years in Investment Banking in the UK before deciding I needed to work in a more creative environment. This led to me emigrating back to Canada.

While in career transition, I worked as an unpaid intern for a digital marketing agency for 3 months. At first, this was a difficult pill to swallow. However, I soon realized that this was one of the best decisions of my life. It meant that I could learn the industry from the ground up, which effectively saved me a year of schooling (and the associated tuition fees). Plus, I gained the relevant, practical skills that employers actually want.

The result? I was offered a paid contract extension with the digital marketing agency. One month afterwards, I was snapped up by a Marketing Consulting company - meaning it took a mere 4 months to do a complete career u-turn and enter an industry which I neither studied for nor had much experience.

So, my advice is simple. Marketing is an extremely competitive field. If you want to get a foot in the door, start by doing an unpaid internship.

Why do you think you got this job e.g. what skills/knowledge/experience etc.:
 

Firstly, I applied on LinkedIn.

That seems to be the future of recruitment and companies regularly check their accounts for applications. I invested a lot of time to beefing up my LinkedIn Profile so that employers would immediately be impressed.

To beef up your LinkedIn profile, get people to write recommendations and endorse you for your skills. Also, make sure that you have detailed descriptions of all positions you′ve held in the past.

Secondly, I obtained relevant industry certifications.

I studied for and passed Google and Bing′s advertising certifications, which demonstrated my commitment to the industry and the fact that I was knowledgeable.

Thirdly, I showed initiative.

The role I applied for required you to be proficient at e-mail marketing and writing press releases. I had never done either in my entire life. So, for the former, I created an e-mail marketing campaign for my friends company. For the latter, I was given a homework assignment at the last stage of my interview, and conducted thorough research on "pr writing best practices".

My interviewers were hugely impressed that I was so dedicated to getting this job that I spent several hours of my personal time getting up to scratch.

Finally, I had a well-developed portfolio to demonstrate my writing abilities.

Coming from an Economics and Finance background, naturally, any prospective employer would have questions about my writing skills. However, because of my unpaid internship, I had plenty of writing examples which showcased my talents.

So - I would highly recommend bringing a collection of your finest work from the past to any interview. This will help you stand out from the crowd.
 

Please feel free to add anything else that you think would be useful?

Moving back to Canada after you′ve studied abroad for a number of years can be difficult.

There seems to be a culture here whereby unless you fit a certain profile (e.g. grew up in Richmond Hill, studied at The U of T) than certain employers won′t even consider you.

Additionally, it seems to be more about who you know rather than the strength of your Resume. In the UK, all of the major multinational companies have well-developed graduate programs which recruit people based on merit. However, in Canada, these grad schemes are few and far between. This makes networking all the more important.

I would suggest networking by seeking out targeted people on LinkedIn. As a first priority, look to see if any of your Universities alumni live in the city you′re job hunting in. Next, send messages to people who work at the companies you′re interested in. You may also want to attend trade fairs - the entry fee is well worth it.

In a nutshell, be incredibly proactive and DO NOT waste much time sending out hundreds of applications. Instead, focus on applying to fewer jobs, but having more phone call, e-mail and face-to-face dialogue.