The marketing and PR sector is a popular industry for graduates because it gives them access to different departments and networking opportunities. It is also a great opportunity to explore your creative side and use your communication skills.
Firstly, it is good to remember that whilst marketing is focused on promoting and selling a specific product, PR is focused on maintaining a positive reputation for a company as a whole. PR is used to effectively communicate key messages to a diverse audience by first identifying all audiences and how messages can be tailored to resonate with the public. Marketing covers promotional, direct marketing and advertising which seeks to return direct sales.
Whilst it is important for businesses to be able to articulate the differences between the two roles, it doesn’t change the reality that marketing and PR are as reliant on each other as a business is to their combined success. This is why it can be such a good job to go into for graduates!
What Areas Can You Go Into?
- Digital and Media Marketing specialises in promoting brands or products through digital means. You could be dealing with emails, Facebook posts, vlogs and all kinds of digital media in order to make sure the right brands reach the right people at the right time on the right device in the right way.
- Public Affairs includes media relations, campaign management and policy advice. Public affair employees work to maintain relationships with these individuals and to assist clients to promote and protect their interests.
- Advertising Account Planners are an integral part of the advertising process where they work closely in creating communication strategies for advertising campaigns.
- Market Researchers will learn how to understand consumers and clients, and how this affects potential strategies of all types of the business.
What Skills Will You Need?
Marketing is a popular industry for graduates who want a creative and exciting role after University. All companies will look out for someone who is driven and a good communicator, however, there are a further six skills you will need to stand out as a candidate.
- Communication Skills
- Analytical and Critical Thinking
- Digital Skills
- Commercial Awareness
There are also some student jobs that you can take up part-time that will help you gain these transferable skills and give you a taste of the marketing and PR life. Often these roles require creative skills and can prove to future employers that you’re responsible and committed. Some of these roles include:
- Retail as it shows you have the ability to analyse and consider current market trends, especially in relation to other competitors.
- Hospitality or Entertainment are common student jobs as they all demand strong communication and social skills.
- Office administration can showcase your organisational skills and attention to detail. Call centres, especially within this, can show resilience and sales experience.
What Opportunities Are Out There for You?
Marketing, as an industry, is all about ideas! This means from the bottom of the chain right to the top; marketing roles have to be taken by creative and communicative people. Marketing graduate schemes can cover a broad spectrum which also include career progression, access to top firms and the ability to network with different departments.
Top graduate schemes to look out for:
- Virgin Media Commercial Marketing Graduate Scheme
- Newton Europe Graduate Scheme
- Nestle Graduate Marketing Scheme
- PepsiCo Future Leaders Programme
- BlackRock Marketing and Communications Program
- TPP Communications and Marketing
What Questions Can You Expect in a Marketing or PR Job Interview?
To be prepared for your next interview in this sector it is a good idea to practice likely questions. These are some questions that might come up, and how to answer them:
What types of marketing campaigns have caught your eye recently? With this you just want to show your employer that you have a general awareness and interest in marketing/communication campaigns. Make sure you can back up your choice with intelligent reasons as to why campaigns were eye catching.
How effectively do you think you can work within budgetary constraints? Budgeting is important for any campaign so they want to check that you can use logic and reasoning. You could also draw upon your own experiences of budgeting to show how you’ve previously dealt with it.
What do you think about how we market our current products? This gives you a chance to show your creativity and suggest effective marketing strategies based on the research you already should have undertaken on the company.
Digital Marketing is key in our organisation. What makes content successful and what do you think are the best ways to get people to link to our content? Employers aren’t looking for a definitive and accurate answer here, they just want to see whether you are familiar with the terms and tools to create good content.
What blogs, marketing periodicals and media do you regularly use or read? This is where you show how you get involved and understand industry trends. You need to also show that you can demonstrate that you are taking responsibility for educating yourself and that you will be able to grow in the marketing and PR sector.
Remember…if you want to know more, book an appointment with the Careers department because they will be able to discuss pathways with you, point you in the right direction and give you extra insights! When you then start applying for jobs within this sector, they can also look over your CV and do practice interviews with you. Don’t be afraid to specifically get them to ask you any of the questions listed in this blog for even more practice!