Dear Aquent Oracle,
I am a couple years out of Business School and I guess it could be said that I am a ‘contractor’ who has worked for over a dozen companies in the Columbus area. Many of these roles have not been marketing related per se, and came about through ad hoc staffing agency placements. I am really trying to get into a marketing career, but I now have to figure out a way to sell my non-marketing, and short-term, at times random experience.
How do I best capture this on a résumé, and explain it during an interview?
The Aquent Oracle says
Dear Columbus Contractor,
You mention that many of your previous contracting roles were not marketing related. Am I to assume that therefore a even a few of them were within the marketing space? Marketing is certainly a very broad area and you need to really think about where you want to end up. Did you study any marketing-related subjects at Business School? Have you been exposed to a marketing team – even within an administrative capacity?
During a job interview you are going to really have to demonstrate your enthusiasm for wanting to work within marketing – and back up your passion with any previous exposure (whether it be from during your studies or your short-term contracts) you have had to the discipline. Your motivation and eagerness to work in marketing along with the right attitude will certainly go a long way and can hold a great deal of weight at a job interview. It’s not all about what marketing skills and previous experience you can bring to the table.
However expressing your passion and motivation on paper in a résumé is not quite as easy to do – especially in the United States where it is suggested that a résumé is restricted to one page. This is where you really need to think about your University subjects, papers you may have written, work experience you may have undertaken, workshops you may have attended, or associations with which you may be affiliated – anything that will align you to the marketing space – and ensure it is clearly documented within your résumé.
You will also need to appreciate that you may not land the ideal job within marketing immediately. Applying for a role as a Marketing Associate or a Marketing Co-ordinator is more realistic than applying for a role as a Marketing Executive or Marketing Manager. For anyone a few years out of Business School it’s still about getting your foot in the right door – and this is certainly possible for you as you have been exposed to different organisations as part of your contracting experience.
So ensure you are passionate about what you want to do, be able to articulate why you want to work in marketing, and have all the evidence on hand to back yourself up.