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Tips for first timers: Keep your job search on track

18 Jun 12:00 by CIM

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Looking for jobs in the marketing sector is full of highs and lows. Whether you are searching out of circumstance – maybe returning to work after time away from the industry – or necessity, a protracted search is no small undertaking, and it’s important for candidates to recognise that and keep on top of things. Some companies will hire quickly, others will instigate a long process to find just the right candidate; your time frames might not exactly match those of your intended destination.

But, how do you keep motivated in a process that involves a lot of downtime, potential knock backs and, to put it bluntly, a lot of hard graft? Well, these tips may help.

What is your objective? What are your tactics?

Like a marketing plan, searching for a job requires an end goal and specific tactics in order to achieve it. So, as you would when strategizing, remember what your objective is – such as landing a role as a social media coordinator – and think of specific, SMART objectives to get there. In other words, are your objectives specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and do they have a time limit? For example, applying for two jobs each day, for a week, would be a SMART objective. It also stops you applying for multiple jobs at once, which can cause confusion and overwhelm your knowledge of each position.

Recognise that the first fit isn’t always the right fit

It’s not going to be simply talent that gets you where you need to go. Fred Astaire was turned down in Hollywood, The Beatles were initially refused a record deal and 20th Century Fox lost merchandising rights to Star Wars due to a short-sighted initial deal. Use these stories, or ones more relevant to you, as proof that the employer doesn’t always get it right.

What is more important, if there is rejection, is getting appropriate feedback.

Get your feedback

Maybe you didn’t have the experience, maybe you didn’t properly convey the experience you had. Whether dealing directly, with a recruiter, or even with friends, constructive criticism is there to help you go further next time.

The onus is on you, as a candidate, to chase this. Good recruiters will provide it, but they can sometimes be guilty of moving on to the next prospect. Good employers will provide it, but they are also concerned with filling the role. You should be the one that benefits from the feedback, because all mistakes can be rectified.

Ultimately though, it can make you realise that certain jobs are not right for you. The feedback may come in the form of general acknowledgement that they found someone ‘better suited’ than you, but this just means the role wasn’t right for your needs. Remember, getting the job is the objective, but the ultimate aim is for that job to be rewarding.

Otherwise, you could well be repeating the process in a few months’ time.

Reflect back

Like a marketing plan, there has to be scope to improve and reposition your aims. If your job search isn’t progressing, take time to reflect on whether your objective is the right one for you. If you are not pursuing the path you want to follow, the passion that can take you through the process and impress at interviews is not one easily faked; and, if you have to fake it, that’s a bad sign for your future.

Like a marketing plan, your job search will often need to be flexible.

Play the long game

For marketing, there are multiple routes to entry and multiple disciplines. There are roles for applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds, whether you went to university or not, whether you’ve held a marketing role before or not. It’s sometimes true that you’ll have to come into the roles sideways, doing some time in another department before moving into marketing. This will get you attuned to the company culture, provide you with contacts in the wider business – vital for anyone, but particularly in a department that touches every aspect of business – and let you know the structure of the business for getting things done.

Hopefully this has given you food for thought. A job search, unlike a marketing plan, might not have a set time period, but it does share many of the same qualities. It can be a gruelling process, but each stage is meant to inform the next step and, if it isn’t going right, you have to adjust. Take these tips in mind and they might make your journey easier, even if it’s six months, or a six second click through on CIM Marketing Jobs.

Remember to take our advice when you're searching. Find your next marketing role now.