You may not think that the small, menial, traditional Saturday jobs you did during your Sixth Form years; or the summer jobs you’ve undertaken during your undergraduate years have any real connection to your dream job in marketing or PR but don’t be fooled. Often, these part time jobs actually include skills that are required for these creative roles; it’s just a case of indentifying them and flagging them up to your potential graduate employer. These sorts of jobs often provide the types of skills graduate employers are looking for. Let’s briefly look at three common scenarios.
Whether you’ve worked in a shoe shop, stacked shelves at the local supermarket or helped out at your local newsagent, shop jobs give you first-hand experience of front-end marketing. At Christmas, your stock levels and how you position stock in store will change. A massive sporting event such as a Football World Cup or Wimbledon will have a similar effect on supplies and what exactly sells. As will the differences in weather seasons.
This ability to analyse and consider current market trends and news stories is essential in both marketing and PR - knowing where and when to make your move are as important as whom to sell to. And trying to get ahead of the trends is key to obtaining the best sales before your competitors do.
Catering, hospitality and entertainment industry
A very common part time job many students undertake is those in the catering, hospitality and entertainment industry. You may have worked behind the bar in a local pub or at your Student Union. Perhaps worked Saturdays in a local cafe, or manning reception at your local cinema or sports centre. All of these situations demand strong communication and social skills – paramount for any role within the marketing/PR sector where communication is key.
In these job situations you need to handle customer’s requests and to keep them happy and contented. You need to listen, be charming and good natured at all times. You perhaps will have found yourself in tricky situations and displayed the necessary skills to overcome these scenarios. For instance, dealing with a difficult customer who isn’t happy about the service on offer; or dealing with loud and rowdy customers in your bar.
If you’ve been involved with helping to create an event in these locations, this in itself shows marketing experience and creative thinking. For instance, a quiz night in a pub or a special offer that your gym is offering requires you to publicise it to new and current customers – how did you advertise, who and where did you target? Perhaps you’ve been involved with handing out flyers – this is an essential part of promotion – don’t just dismiss it as a menial task. Here, you are acting as a brand ambassador for the company or product – it also requires confidence. Not everyone can approach a stranger and try and sell a product.
This is all valuable marketing and PR experience and shows a potential employer that you’re already used to thinking in this manner.
Various administration jobs may not offer you the chance to develop creative or direct marketing/PR skills but they certainly showcase your organisational skills and attention to detail. Many marketing and PR assistant roles require you to juggle lots of little different tasks which keep the department running. For example, issuing all press releases on time, keeping up to date with all your contacts and managing the databases. If these simple but hugely effective tasks get lost, then the whole campaign which has been worked on could fall apart if the right people don’t hear about it at the right time.
If you’ve worked in a call centre, this will teach you a lot about resilience. This is particularly the case in cold-calling centres, where you are likely to deal with rejection a lot of the time. In this sort of role, you will have also had to develop a strong pitch over time in order to encourage potential customers to buy. This is hugely beneficial in a marketing and PR career – to be able to show you can create a story, sell a lifestyle or encourage interest in a product is hugely important.