After four hard, long years of studying, all that’s left to do is send out a couple resumes and voilà you’ve got your dream job—right?
Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy. In today’s hypercompetitive job market, it’s difficult to get a job, even more so when you’re a recent graduate who doesn’t have an extensive resume.
In fact, 43 percent of recent college grads are underemployed in their first job out of college, according to a report from Burning Glass and the Strada Institute. In addition, of those who are underemployed, two-thirds remain in a job that doesn’t require a college degree after five years, and more than half remain so after ten years.
If you have yet to get your start in the corporate pond, don’t panic. There are many ways to gain marketing experience and skills post-graduation. Use these tips to boost your marketing resume fresh out of college and land your first big job.
Take advantage of the many certification opportunities in marketing right now. Certifications show that you bring a specialized skill set. They also show that you care enough about your career to further your education on your own time.
Consider the many certifications that would boost your marketing resume:
Getting certified is easy and affordable, with most platforms offering free courses in addition to paid certifications. Google, for example, offers several online courses including Google Analytics for Beginners, all of which are free and only require an existing Google account.
Boost your resume: Once you’ve received certifications, be sure to highlight them in the “Skills” portion of your resume.
Improve Your Design Skills
Marketers’ skills sets have evolved exponentially in recent years. In addition to the skills that have traditionally fallen under “marketing,” more and more companies are seeking out marketers whose skills are diversified across multiple channels, including design. This is especially true for startups, who don’t have professional design staff and rely on their marketing team to create graphics, visual brand guidelines and more.
Give yourself an edge against the competition by improving your design skills on your own free time. Free online tools like MyCreativeShop make it easy to practice your design skills with a business and marketing-focused mindset. Browse around for templates that you might need to design as marketing assets in your position, like a company brochure, Instagram post or direct mail postcard.
Boost your resume: Include attachments to your designs when sending your resume and cover letter. Better yet, create a free website where potential companies can brose your designs.
Take on Freelance Work
Companies that don’t have the expertise or bandwidth to take on a full marketing team will turn to freelancers for help. In fact, 59 percent of hiring managers today are leveraging freelancers or “flexible talent” to fill in the gaps, according to Upwork’s 2018 Future Workforce Report.
Take on freelance work to build your resume and develop your skills, all while making some money to cover you until you find a full-time job. Websites like Upwork and Fiverr are easy to use and allow you to set up your profile and apply to a wide variety of freelance jobs.
Boost your resume: Include a section on your resume called “Freelance Marketer” and list the various freelance roles/responsibilities you had to prove your experience.
Practice With Your Own Brand
When applying to a potential job, 9 out of 10 times a hiring manager will Google your name. Make sure that what they find is a unique, consistent and professional brand image. Having a strong personal brand sets you apart from other candidates and makes you memorable.
Not only does this help you get the job, but building your own personal brand gives you a chance to practice your marketing skills and experiment with new ideas. Research and learn about branding best practices and then put them into play for yourself. You’ll learn a lot while ensuring that whoever finds you will be impressed with what they see.
Boost your resume: Include your professional social media handles and website at the top of your resume to make sure hiring managers see the work you’ve done.
Look for a Mentor
Seek out a mentor who can teach as well as connect you with opportunities to boost your resume. This individual can be an old professor, family friend or simply someone you’ve networked with online via LinkedIn or Facebook. Take advantage of this person’s expertise and recommendations and be sure to ask him or her to review your resume or set up a mock interview.
Boost your resume: Add a “Will send references upon request” section to your resume and make sure your mentor is ready to write a recommendation or give one via phone.
The Future is Yours to Take
You don’t have to wait until after your first job to start building a strong marketing resume. Use the five tips above to boost your marketing resume and gain tangible skills that will help catapult your career.