BPhil Honours Marketing Management graduate looking for work

maumau

Honorary Master
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Aug 13, 2009
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12,651
#1
A friend's son got SIX distinctions in BPhil Honours in Marketing Management. I feel so bad for him after spending years slogging over a degree he's sitting at home unable to find employment. AFAIK he wants to do his masters but needs work experience.

He's been looking for work since January but most companies don't bother replying to applications. The ones who have replied claim to be hiring according to a quota system. Not sure if that's true but he sure isn't having any luck.

Any advice I can pass on to him?
 

GhostSixFour

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Nov 9, 2009
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#2
A friend's son got SIX distinctions in BPhil Honours in Marketing Management. I feel so bad for him after spending years slogging over a degree he's sitting at home unable to find employment. AFAIK he wants to do his masters but needs work experience.

He's been looking for work since January but most companies don't bother replying to applications. The ones who have replied claim to be hiring according to a quota system. Not sure if that's true but he sure isn't having any luck.

Any advice I can pass on to him?
Has he taken any form of online course in SEO and PPC ads and the like? I think google offers a free certification program into their tools - so maybe have him look into that.

Other than that - how is he marketing himself? He can look at himself as a product and entice companies to hire him based on what he can offer. Does he have a portfolio? Has he tried contacting smaller firms with a marketing plan/strategy that he can help them implement?
 

Lord Farquart

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Nov 27, 2012
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#3
Other than that - how is he marketing himself?
Judging by his qualification, he should be ace-ing this part.

Offering your services for free to get a portfolio and experience seem to be a better option than sitting at home. Maybe that can even be the foot in the door.
 

maumau

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#5
Has he taken any form of online course in SEO and PPC ads and the like? I think google offers a free certification program into their tools - so maybe have him look into that.

Other than that - how is he marketing himself? He can look at himself as a product and entice companies to hire him based on what he can offer. Does he have a portfolio? Has he tried contacting smaller firms with a marketing plan/strategy that he can help them implement?
Thanks so much GhostSixFour. I'll suggest those courses to him. He doesn't have a portfolio come to think of it, just a CV. He's done one or two websites for friends (free of charge), it's a great idea to have him include them.

At the moment he's persevering but seems to think the economy is affecting small companies. It can only be good to work on a couple of plans even if it's only for practice.
 

maumau

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#6
Judging by his qualification, he should be ace-ing this part.

Offering your services for free to get a portfolio and experience seem to be a better option than sitting at home. Maybe that can even be the foot in the door.
Fully :laugh::laugh::laugh:

Seriously though he tells me he'd be willing to work for free to get in somewhere like a bank.
 

Lord Farquart

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#8
Fully :laugh::laugh::laugh:

Seriously though he tells me he'd be willing to work for free to get in somewhere like a bank.
Limiting himself to probably 10 companies by looking at only banks? I’d say, given the current climate, take whatever you can. Experience is experience, same as with eventual paycheck. Be choosy later in life.
 

maumau

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#9
Limiting himself to probably 10 companies by looking at only banks? I’d say, given the current climate, take whatever you can. Experience is experience, same as with eventual paycheck. Be choosy later in life.
I'm with you in that.

He's sent out plenty of applications but happened to mention a bank would be nice. Think he'll take anything to be honest, provided it's in marketing.
 

Fulcrum29

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#10
I have a degree in marketing, spent about 9 months in the industry (being marketing-centric), moved to logistics within the company, and ended up in IT. Many opportunities.

I worked in argi, marketing apples, pears and grapes to the global market, mostly Europe and Eastern Europe. This evolved into a logistics department as the company took more control over their own supply line.

Though I was more creative, I ended up working with people, numbers and locations on a daily basis. You can't really pick and choose where you want to end up.
 

maumau

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#11
I have a degree in marketing, spent about 9 months in the industry (being marketing-centric), moved to logistics within the company, and ended up in IT. Many opportunities.

I worked in argi, marketing apples, pears and grapes to the global market, mostly Europe and Eastern Europe. This evolved into a logistics department as the company took more control over their own supply line.

Though I was more creative, I ended up working with people, numbers and locations on a daily basis. You can't really pick and choose where you want to end up.
Great, very interesting how your career has evolved. I'm willing to bet he hasn't thought about marketing fruit and vegetables. That's a really lateral idea which I'll suggest.
 

^^vampire^^

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#12
Did he research job possibilities before studying? This is probably the biggest thing people should be teaching their kids nowadays. If there is no possibility for employment then it's a waste of time studying it. There is a great video by that Mike guy from Dirty Jobs on following possibilities rather than passion as passion doesn't create prospects.

Over and above this, I have come across many people that are book smart but not street smart. There are tons of people out there getting distinctions left, right and center. They may be able to regurgitate what is taught or even apply it in a limited scope as requested in exams etc, but when it comes to the real world they may be completely incapable of realistically applying skills to actual situations, or the pace changes too fast for them to make meaningful contributions. If anything this is sorted out very quickly with some meaningful real world experience (even by doing some free stuff as previously mentioned), but after a while people in the know either want someone who has some experience so that they can communicate on the same level (which proves understanding and staying power in the field) otherwise you just get left behind. You've mentioned that he did a website or 2 for free... was this building actual websites or doing SEO and other marketing related tasks? What is important here and probably more meaningful to prospective employers are the analytics/metrics or other measurable data. If he built the sites, did the people/businesses increase revenue, sell more products etc? If he did the marketing side of existing sites, did he track anything measurable from before and after to gauge his success/failure? Being able to walk into an interview saying "I have no formal full time work experience but I worked on X, Y and Z and these are the black and white measures of how I made a difference to the business" is more likely to get prospective employers excited rather than "I can really tell you the indepth parts of XYZ marketing strategy."

I know it may seem somewhat mean and someone has raised it in a somewhat humorous light but if he cannot get a job is he not failing to market himself? This happens to many people but could be construed far more seriously for those in the marketing field because titles simply have the word "marketing" in them. Stupid I know but people are small minded.

Over and above this, is doing a masters valuable? Has this been thought of and analysed. Does it increase job prospects? Will it increase earnings? I am an avid believer in work experience after your first qualification as it very quickly sets your expectations in reality. You do more growing up and understanding of your career in the first 6 - 12 months than you do at any other time in your life as you very quickly realise what is expected of you on the daily. Imagine studying for 5+ years, getting your masters, struggle to get a job and then realise you hate it. Rather get some experience and then continue studying while working. It also has the benefit of making studying easier as you can apply real work experience. You get more value out of your further studies when you know what is expected in those roles; it allows you to focus and extract learnings from studies with regards to what is actually important, rather than what you perceive is important.
 

maumau

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#13
Great post @^^vampire^^. I appreciate the time and thought you put into it :) there's content he would benefit from so I'll print it out for him.

Marketing is one of those nebulous ideas I'm too old to understand but there's seems to be a lot of it around haha. And it even has it's own language - god forbid.

The trouble is available jobs keep changing and what is popular today might not be popular tomorrow. There will always be a need for jobs that require human input like hairdresser, horticulture, vet, plumber, electrician etc. but I guess young people daydream about where they want to be and choose a career path based on that.

The idea of not interfering in your children's future has its drawbacks, on the other hand many parents do interfere under the guise of guidance. They can also be wrong.
 
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maumau

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Joined
Aug 13, 2009
Messages
12,651
#14
Has he taken any form of online course in SEO and PPC ads and the like? I think google offers a free certification program into their tools - so maybe have him look into that.

Other than that - how is he marketing himself? He can look at himself as a product and entice companies to hire him based on what he can offer. Does he have a portfolio? Has he tried contacting smaller firms with a marketing plan/strategy that he can help them implement?
He's covered SEO and PPC but doesn't have a portfolio. He seems to think that would build up when he starts working but @^^vampire^^ has made some valuable suggestions.
 
Last edited:

adam88

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Aug 29, 2011
Messages
268
#16
I studied Engineering, I worked at a call center for about 10 months, was unemployed for a year. Lectured for a year then took a 50% salary cut to get into the industry I wanted to get into.

The call center I worked for at the time only employed graduates, they had a high turn over and would take on about 60 people a month. There was a lot of Finance, Engineering and Science grads from all universities.

Most people did not bother responding to job applications, probably get 1 response for every 50 ads you apply for.
 

adam88

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Joined
Aug 29, 2011
Messages
268
#17
Did he research job possibilities before studying? This is probably the biggest thing people should be teaching their kids nowadays. If there is no possibility for employment then it's a waste of time studying it. There is a great video by that Mike guy from Dirty Jobs on following possibilities rather than passion as passion doesn't create prospects.

Over and above this, I have come across many people that are book smart but not street smart. There are tons of people out there getting distinctions left, right and center. They may be able to regurgitate what is taught or even apply it in a limited scope as requested in exams etc, but when it comes to the real world they may be completely incapable of realistically applying skills to actual situations, or the pace changes too fast for them to make meaningful contributions. If anything this is sorted out very quickly with some meaningful real world experience (even by doing some free stuff as previously mentioned), but after a while people in the know either want someone who has some experience so that they can communicate on the same level (which proves understanding and staying power in the field) otherwise you just get left behind. You've mentioned that he did a website or 2 for free... was this building actual websites or doing SEO and other marketing related tasks? What is important here and probably more meaningful to prospective employers are the analytics/metrics or other measurable data. If he built the sites, did the people/businesses increase revenue, sell more products etc? If he did the marketing side of existing sites, did he track anything measurable from before and after to gauge his success/failure? Being able to walk into an interview saying "I have no formal full time work experience but I worked on X, Y and Z and these are the black and white measures of how I made a difference to the business" is more likely to get prospective employers excited rather than "I can really tell you the indepth parts of XYZ marketing strategy."

I know it may seem somewhat mean and someone has raised it in a somewhat humorous light but if he cannot get a job is he not failing to market himself? This happens to many people but could be construed far more seriously for those in the marketing field because titles simply have the word "marketing" in them. Stupid I know but people are small minded.

Over and above this, is doing a masters valuable? Has this been thought of and analysed. Does it increase job prospects? Will it increase earnings? I am an avid believer in work experience after your first qualification as it very quickly sets your expectations in reality. You do more growing up and understanding of your career in the first 6 - 12 months than you do at any other time in your life as you very quickly realise what is expected of you on the daily. Imagine studying for 5+ years, getting your masters, struggle to get a job and then realise you hate it. Rather get some experience and then continue studying while working. It also has the benefit of making studying easier as you can apply real work experience. You get more value out of your further studies when you know what is expected in those roles; it allows you to focus and extract learnings from studies with regards to what is actually important, rather than what you perceive is important.
Have you ever been unemployed as a graduate? More than a quarter of graduates do not find employment within the first six months. It is very easy to sit on the outside and nip pick on what things you should do and what you should not do, I had a CV made by a graphic designer, written out by a copywriter and I would apply for a job that would fit my skill set to the tee and I would still not get a response.

If someone studies for 5 years, get a job and hates it - that is the path they have chosen to take. The person might only be 25 at the time, I do not see anything wrong with that. Vera Wang is worth Millions and she started her career at 43.

You could have your head on straight and be 100% sure of what you want in your career or where you want to go. Things can still go wrong. I was 100% sure of what I wanted to do, took me 4 years to find the job I wanted since graduating.

There is no way to understand what is 'expected in roles' when you are studying. Key parts to being a good employer are communication, showing an ability to learn and adaptability within your position. A university degree is going to develop yourself academically to prepare for whatever is about to come. Like Engineering, yes I have strong analytic abilities but it also taught me to be a problem solver, how do I make things cheaper, faster, more efficient, more effective this could be applied anywhere - this was my opinion and at the time of Unemployment I would have worked anywhere if it added some value but there was a limiting factor and that was that employees did not understand that and did not want to take a risk. I got a call from a HUGE Company in South Africa after attending a graduate program interview they called and said, they LOVED ME but they don't know what to do with my skills??

Unemployment is rough in South Africa and sometimes people are just dealt a bad hand.
 
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