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January 27, 2013

Thinking of a career in marketing or advertising…

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Light bulb...then you're not alone: marketing, advertising and PR are seen as attractive career options for many students, and this appeal shows no sign of abating. Katy Edwards, second year history and politics student, popped along to last week's 'Marketing and Advertising Event' to find out more.

As an undergraduate tentatively exploring the “real world” that exists out there and wondering what my career options post-degree might be, I ventured through the snow to the Marketing and Advertising Event hoping to find divine inspiration. Here’s some of what was highlighted by the industry experts.

You don’t need a relevant degree

Marketing and advertising are not sectors closed off to those without a strictly relevant degree, so don’t panic if you see yourself working in these areas but are studying something completely different. At the event there were graduates from disciplines as diverse as Medical Microbiology, Drama Studies, History, and English Literature.

Relevant work experience IS important

Marketing and advertising are no different to the general trend in graduate employment that you need relevant experience to secure that dream job. The industry specialists had gained invaluable experience in related sectors prior to graduating, working for creative media agencies, advertising agencies, and PR companies in order to understand what a future career might entail and whether it suited them.

Set yourself apart

Another obvious point, of course, but with a stack of CVs and one job, offering a unique selling point is vital. Extra-curricular activities and earning a First Class degree are two ways of achieving this, but there are other options to consider. Two Warwick graduates had taken an extra business module to improve their credentials, and there are initiatives like B-Hive which give undergraduates an opportunity to showcase their skills to a panel of experts in order to secure a paid internship. If this sounds tempting then find out more in My B-Hive experience: from creative brief to the NEC.

There are a wide range of job options

Marketing and advertising companies employ a wide range of people who undertake different roles and possess different skill sets. Don’t be put off if you think designing an ad campaign wouldn’t be your forte, you might be ideal for liaising with clients and organising a broader project.

Don’t expect an easy 9 to 5

Many were keen to stress that neither marketing nor advertising are 9 to 5 jobs, and invariably involve much longer hours particularly when crucial deadlines are looming. The Marketing Executive for EAT noted that his working day quickly became 8 to 6, and while preparing recently to launch a new initiative, 6 to 10 (‘the bad way’).

“The Recession” hasn’t destroyed all job prospects

Some spoke of a perception that the current economic climate signalled the end of graduate employment opportunities in these career sectors, but it was stressed that this is not the case. While there may be fewer graduates being employed than there was at the peak, there are still plenty of opportunities for the ideal, committed candidate who has all the requisite skills and experience.

The industry is evolving and adapting with the times

As one expert remarked, ‘Who’d have thought five years ago that we’d need a social media team?’ Both marketing and advertising have had to change with the times, utilising digital media, the internet, and social media to stay effective, and campaigns are now run across a variety of mediums. Those looking for a career in these industries need that same flexibility and the ability to role with the punches.

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