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How To Become A Marketing/Advertising/PR Professional

How to Become a Marketing/Advertising/PR Professional

Step 1: Understand the Media Universe

Current media professionals will be the first to tell you that knowing what area of the industry you want to get into is the key to your success. So, what we’re saying is, don’t rely on a psychic to advise you of your career path – Do the research and find the right one for you! To help you get started, read the brief overview below and get some ideas as to what industry might be right for you.

1. PR- Companies want to stand out from the crowd. This is where you come in. In a world where the public is the buyer and the media are the sellers, it’s your job to make sure both the public and the media have the correct understanding of your company/client. People who do well in PR are those with excellent communication skills (You’ll need to be able to spin a bad situation into an advantage), skilled multi-taskers, (So many people, so little time!) and a creative thinker (Helping a company reach it’s full potential will be one of your top priorities.)

2. Advertising – Don’t believe what you see on TV. Advertising isn’t all martini-drenched lunches, snazzy ad campaigns and hobnobbing with elite industry leaders – it’s also a lot of hard work! Ad professionals are especially determined go-getters with an eye for what works and a passion for all things brand related. Think you can cut the mustard? You’re core duties will include: getting the public excited about the product, thinking of the best ways to deliver that product (Will television, radio, internet reach your audience better?), making sure your client’s needs are met and much, much, more! A good ad professional’s job is never done.

3. Marketing- Behind every successful ad professional, salesperson or PR guru is a marketer. This profession is the guts, the spirit and the backbone of the whole operation. In this field, you’ll be analyzing stats and demographics in order to anticipate the public’s needs and then position the company to fulfill those needs . Strategic thinking is a marketer’s key talent. If your creative brilliance matches your strategic and analytical genius, marketing will make for a very rewarding career.

In general, persons interested in these careers should be mature, creative, highly motivated, resistant to stress, flexible, and decisive. The ability to communicate persuasively, both orally and in writing, with other managers, staff, and the public is vital. You’ll also need tact, good judgment and exceptional ability to establish and maintain effective personal relationships with staff members and client firms.

Before choosing which industry will suit you best, try asking yourself how you measure up in the following areas:
Basic Skills
Social Skills
Technical Skills

Step 2: Find your niche.

Congratulations! By this point in your job-journey, you probably have a good idea about what you’d like your chosen medium to be, as well as, an assessment of your chief skills, personality traits, interests, strong-suits etc. Now that you have that settled, it’s time to set your sights on narrowing down to positions in your media industry.

There are very few types of organizations in the country or world for that matter that do not need or use marketing, advertising or public relations in some form. Opportunities exist in a wide array of companies and businesses, not-for-profit organizations, television and radio stations, publications, political parties, schools and governmental entities as well as online business and websites. Choosing the right one for you can be very exciting.

Step 3: Education

A wide range of educational backgrounds is suitable for entry into advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managerial jobs, but many employers prefer those with experience in related occupations.

Education and training. For marketing, sales, and promotions positions, some employers prefer a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis on marketing. Courses in business law, management, economics, accounting, finance, mathematics, and statistics are advantageous. Additionally, the completion of an internship while the candidate is in school is highly recommended. In highly technical industries, such as computer and electronics manufacturing, a bachelor’s degree in engineering or science, combined with a master’s degree in business administration, is preferred.

For advertising positions, some employers prefer a bachelor’s degree in advertising or journalism. A course of study should include, for example, marketing, consumer behavior, market research, sales, communication methods, technology, visual arts, art history and photography.
Become a manager Degree Programs & Info
Resume Tips Internships
Job Networking Paying for School
Job PromotionSeminars and Workshops
For public relations positions, some employers prefer a bachelor’s or master’s degree in public relations or journalism. The applicant’s curriculum should include courses in advertising, business administration, public affairs, public speaking, political science, and creative and technical writing.

Certification and advancement. Some associations offer certification programs for these managers. Certification — an indication of competence and achievement — is particularly important in a competitive job market. While relatively few advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers currently are certified, the number of managers who seek certification is expected to grow. Today, there are numerous management certification programs based on education and job performance. In addition, The Public Relations Society of America offers a certification program for public relations practitioners based on years of experience and performance on an examination.

Although experience, ability, and leadership are emphasized for promotion, advancement can be accelerated by participation in management training programs conducted by larger firms. Many firms also provide their employees with continuing education opportunities—either in-house or at local colleges and universities—and encourage employee participation in seminars and conferences, often held by professional societies. In collaboration with colleges and universities, numerous marketing and related associations sponsor national or local management training programs. Course subjects include brand and product management, international marketing, sales management evaluation, telemarketing and direct sales, interactive marketing, promotion, marketing communication, market research, organizational communication, and data-processing systems procedures and management. Many firms pay all or part of the cost for employees who successfully complete courses.

Step 4: Assemble Your Book

Creating a book is not necessary for all media jobs. A book is usually assembled for creative jobs, such as, graphic designers and copywriters. A collection of your work, published or otherwise, your book should do the talking. Focus on your strengths. If you’re an artistic mastermind, your book should contain photos, drawings, etc. If you’re a whiz with words, your book should reflect your copywriting/press release skills.

Assemble a clean, edited (your book is not a catch-all!), professional book full of brilliant ideas and you may just find yourself one step further in your quest to landing the media job you want.

Step 5: Network. Network. Network!

Networking might be the single most important step in getting a job in media. Hey, just by being here, you’ve already begun!

Advertising, PR and Marketing is all about making connections. And while connecting to your buyer, your audience and your client will help you keep your job, your long-term success as a media professional depends on your ability to collaborate with others in your field. Networking, whether it involves securing employment, generating business leads or seeking professional advice, yields immeasurable rewards. Building your network will also make it easy for you to make connections to companies or industries by connecting to seasoned professionals.

Network to Seize Opportunity

The first step is to be proactive in learning about – and exposing yourself to – others within your field. Explore the following networking opportunities:
Network with Media People: Where applicable, respond to questions on media career-related communities. Establish yourself as a valuable resource, and you will likely win the respect, advice and interest of your colleagues. Who knows? You may even catch a recruiter’s eye.
Gather Information: Research your trade and learn about fellow experts within your field.
Be a Fan: Attend a seminar held by someone in your vocation. After the seminar, send the person an email, advises Len Foley, a sales trainer located in Atlanta. Note your thoughts about the seminar and suggest that the two of you meet to further discuss your mutual professional interests. Moreover, find out what networking groups this person belongs to.
Join Industry Focused Groups: Find out where your local industry events and networking groups are. Join an organization in your field to enhance your skills. Joining a group will keep you in the know about new faces and developments in your profession. It may also expose you to the advice of experts and will allow you to share your expertise and, thereby, strengthen your “brand” among your colleagues.
Identify Yourself: When networking and attending related functions, make sure you have a name tag and you’re easily approachable. If the event you’re attending doesn’t supply a name tag, convert your business card into one.
Don’t Shy Away from Expert Advice: Listen carefully when a colleague or field expert offers advice. In addition to good counsel, she may give you the inspiration you need to fuel your next big effort.
Don’t Limit Your Contacts to Your Industry: Be open to meeting people in all avenues of media. You never know when you may be one person away from the person you’d like to meet.
Build your network before you need it. The great myth of networking is that you start reaching out to others only when you need something – like a job. In reality, people who have the largest circle of contacts, mentors and friends know that you must reach out to others long before you need anything at all.

Step 6: Research Potential Employers

When you know the area of the industry you’re headed in, then it’s time to learn about the players in the game. Searching on the Internet is a good place to start to make a list of the companies in your industry or location. You might also look at who’s hiring in your area by doing a job search on MediaBuzz or by attending a job fair in your area. Job fairs allow you to see who’s hiring and to talk directly to recruiters.

Research The Companies You Are Considering

Finding out as much as you can about prospective employers will not only help you identify the companies that suit you, but will help you land jobs by impressing your interviewers with what you know about them. The areas you want to research include pay, the culture or company climate, stability, and room for advancement. Cruise the internet for employer reviews. These are particularly helpful for finding out the good. bad, and the ugly about companies from current or past employees.

Visiting the company’s website will give you a lot of information about the company and its executives. If the company is public, you may be able to access a lot more information about them. Talking to HR and company recruiters before you apply may be a good way to get your questions answered and learn more about the candidates they are hiring.

Take your time with this step. You want to end up in the right place.

Step 7: Polish Your Resume

Selling yourself to an employer is your first challenge, and your resume will be your sales pitch. Media resumes need to be results-oriented, emphasizing how you will contribute to your employer’s bottom line. Start by creating a profile or career summary that highlights your relevant skills and value to potential employers. Include the main reasons an employer should call you for an interview, and clearly show your areas of expertise and industry knowledge. For example, if you are pursuing a marketing position, those keywords and your supporting knowledge should be in the profile. This section is perfect for exhibiting the drive, energy and enthusiasm that is so important in the media profession.

Document Your Achievements

A need to continually achieve is key to success. Prove you are an achiever. Document your three biggest victories, and be prepared to reel off a list of at least seven other significant wins in your life from school, sports, music, class politics, etc. You will achieve again for the employer, because past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. You may not have media success, but you have had success in other areas. Success leaves clues.

It’s deceptively easy to make mistakes on your resume and exceptionally difficult to repair the damage once an employer gets it. So prevention is critical, especially if you’ve never written one before. Here are the most common resume pitfalls and how you can avoid them.

Avoid Common Resume Mistakes

1. Typos and Grammatical Errors Your resume needs to be grammatically perfect. If it isn’t, employers will read between the lines and draw not-so-flattering conclusions about you, like: “This person can’t write,” or “This person obviously doesn’t care.”

2. Lack of Specifics Employers need to understand what you’ve done and accomplished. For example:

A. Worked with employees in a restaurant setting.
B. Recruited, hired, trained and supervised more than 20 employees in a restaurant with $2 million in annual sales.
Both of these phrases could describe the same person, but details and specifics in example B will more likely grab an employer’s attention.

3. Attempting One Size Fits All

Whenever you try to develop a one-size-fits-all resume to send to all employers, you almost always end up with something employers will toss in the recycle bin. Employers want you to write a resume specifically for them. They expect you to clearly show how and why you fit the position in a specific organization.

4. Highlighting Duties Instead of Accomplishments

It’s easy to slip into a mode where you simply start listing job duties on your resume. For example:
Attended group meetings and recorded minutes.
Worked with children in a day-care setting.
Updated departmental files.
Employers, however, don’t care so much about what you’ve done as what you’ve accomplished in your various activities. They’re looking for statements more like these:
Used laptop computer to record weekly meeting minutes and compiled them in a Microsoft Word-based file for future organizational reference.
Developed three daily activities for preschool-age children and prepared them for a 10-minute holiday program performance.
Reorganized 10 years’ worth of unwieldy files, making them easily accessible to department members.
Get Into the Field… With Help from MediaBuzz!

Let MediaBuzz help you get the job you’ve always dreamed of….
How to Become a Marketing/Advertising/PR Professional
Quiz: Is a Career in Advertising Right for You?
Get Advice: MediaBuzz Jobs Forum

5. Going on Too Long or Cutting Things Too Short

Despite what you may read or hear, there are no real rules governing the length of your resume. Why? Because human beings, who have different preferences and expectations where resumes are concerned, will be reading it.

That doesn’t mean you should start sending out five-page resumes, of course. Generally speaking, you usually need to limit yourself to a maximum of two pages. But don’t feel you have to use two pages if one will do. Conversely, don’t cut the meat out of your resume simply to make it conform to an arbitrary one-page standard.

6. A Bad Objective Employers do read your resume’s objective statement, but too often they plow through vague pufferies like, “Seeking a challenging position that offers professional growth.” Give employers something specific and, more importantly, something that focuses on their needs as well as your own. Example: “A challenging entry-level marketing position that allows me to contribute my skills and experience in fund-raising for nonprofits.”

7. No Action Verbs Avoid using phrases like “responsible for.” Instead, use action verbs: “Resolved user questions as part of an IT help desk serving 4,000 students and staff.”

8. Leaving Off Important Information

You may be tempted, for example, to eliminate mention of the jobs you’ve taken to earn extra money for school. Typically, however, the soft skills you’ve gained from these experiences (e.g., work ethic, time management) are more important to employers than you might think.

9. Visually Too Busy

If your resume is wall-to-wall text featuring five different fonts, it will most likely give the employer a headache. So show your resume to several other people before sending it out. Do they find it visually attractive? If what you have is hard on the eyes, revise. 10. Incorrect Contact Information

I once worked with a student whose resume seemed incredibly strong, but he wasn’t getting any bites from employers. So one day, I jokingly asked him if the phone number he’d listed on his resume was correct. It wasn’t. Once he changed it, he started getting the calls he’d been expecting. Moral of the story: Double-check even the most minute, taken-for-granted details — sooner rather than later.


Coverletters should NEVER be one size fits all. Think of resume cover letters as jalapeno peppers-small, but packing a wallop. Stating specifics that attract you to that company will show HR that you have done your homework and know you are a fit.

8. Nail the Interview

You’re in the business of knowing people, so interviewing should be a walk in the park, right? Wrong. Identifying personalities is only the first step, how you respond to each interviewers is how you’ll really win them over.

You step into a position of power when you recognize the interviewer’s style and adjust your approach accordingly. As you prepare for the interview, ask yourself, “How might my answers be different for different interview styles?”

Type 1: The Absentee

His Style: Sometimes an interviewer isn’t mentally in the room. Maybe his boss dropped a big project on him earlier that day, or maybe he’s completely unprepared.

How to spot it:
He comes in late.

There is a lag between when you stop speaking and he responds.
His body language says distraction; he plays with his pen, stares off into space, doodles.
He can’t stop looking at his BlackBerry.
Your Best Approach: It’s almost impossible to make a strong impression on someone so distracted, so keep it simple. If this person is strapped for time, offer to reschedule. Get your most important message across and then focus more time on your interview follow-up.
Get Into the Field… With Help from MediaBuzz!

Let MediaBuzz help you get the job you’ve always dreamed of….
How to Become a Marketing/Advertising/PR Professional
Quiz: Is a Career in Advertising Right for You?
Get Advice: MediaBuzz Jobs Forum

Type 2: The Buddy

Her Style: Smiles, jokes and tells you to relax: “Hey, let’s go shoot some pool and talk about the job.” There are actually two forms of Buddy I know: inept interviewers who just want to be liked and expert ones who realize that putting you at ease can get you to reveal a lot of information you might otherwise not mention, like your salary range.

Your Best Approach: Be friendly in kind, but don’t be lulled into completely letting your guard down.

An additional tip: Sometimes these types are looking to gauge your suitability for the “company culture.” In business, especially, there are many managers who want employees who embrace a very gregarious work environment (think regular happy hours, company sports, etc.). So while you don’t want to be lulled into revealing too much, you also don’t want to come off as cold or unfriendly.

Type 3: The Inquisitor

His Style: Never cracks a smile or diverts from a “show me” attitude. Fires off tough questions about your experience. This is the interviewer you imagine when you say, “I hate to interview.” Your Best Approach: Stay cool and project respect and confidence. Don’t think the tough, poker-faced attitude means you won’t get the job. Often, the Inquisitor believes a stressful interview unearths a candidate’s hidden qualities. It’s also important to remember that the Inquisitor can often become your best advocate throughout the interview process and on into the job.

One of the biggest mistakes interviewees make with this type is to try to evaluate how you’re doing during the interview. Project confidence and always assume it’s going very well. That’s your only way to survive.

Type 4: The Laser Beam

Her Style:This interviewer focuses on one topic, such as a sales job’s quota. The Laser Beam is a common style for a line manager.

Your Best Approach: Satisfy her judgment, and move on. She wants to hear numbers related to your past performance at a specific task. Don’t ask about hours per week. Don’t ask about compensation. The most important thing to know about this type is that she wants you to be committed to the same goals as she is. She sees every other aspect of the job as superfluous and thinks you won’t be committed if you care about them.

Save your wide-ranging questions for the HR department.

Type 5: The Shotgun His Style: Fires questions all over the place. One minute you’re talking about sales quotas and the next you’re discussing company politics. The challenge is that the subjects don’t seem connected, and you have no idea how the interviewer is judging you.

Your Best Approach: This is where your careful presentation really pays off because you can relate your strengths to many different aspects of the job. Finding ways to link your answers to his disparate questions is a big plus. It shows a control and intellectual strength that will pay off in any job.



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