What do employers look for in marketers' CVs? Here's a recruiter's tips on how to best prove your marketing prowess in your job application.
The career options for skilled marketers has never been so varied. If you work in FMCG, financial services, IT, pharmaceuticals or the food and drink industries there are a number of key elements every marketing professional can do to make sure they are best placed to take advantage of the next opportunity that crosses their path.
Preparing for the next step is an ongoing process
Most marketers focus on a calendar of projects that are completed throughout the year. It is extremely important to keep track of your key achievements as they happen by updating your CV. You don’t want to see your dream job advertised and by the time you’ve spent a couple of days thinking about examples and going through your CV, realise that the closing date for applications has passed.
Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. Remember to ask for recommendations as key projects happen. Recommendations don’t have to just be from your line manager or co-workers – they can be from agencies you’ve hired, or companies you work with in tandem.
Are your achievements measurable?
Focus on the numbers! It is no good talking about a “successful campaign”.
- Know the percentage increase in sales, increase in consumer awareness, or traffic to a website?
- How many SKUs do you manage and what is the penetration in key retailers?
- How are you performing against a declining market?
- How have you increased your market share?
Companies want to know that you will replicate your success when you work with them, let them know what you can do.
Show creativity on a limited budget
Some industries are always going to have larger budgets than others and every industry has its own challenges. However there are very few companies and departments that possess limitless budgets. One transferable skill that will always be in demand
is demonstrated creativity and success on a limited budget. Think outside the box and focus on how you can improve efficiency in your department every day. Number crunching isn’t just for accountants, every company wants a marketer that can deliver more bang for their buck.
Example: I spoke to one woman recently who realised that the container bin for the company's product samples wastoo small. The samples were positioned sideways and only 150 could fit in at a time. By replacing them with larger containers (a relatively small initial investment) they were able to hold 400 samples. This reduced the amount of times the containers had to be collected and refilled in-store and resulted in cost savings of €15,000 a year.
Keep your eyes on the prize
Some people are lucky enough to work in their ideal job within their dream industry. However I talk to people every day that enjoy what they’re doing but who ultimately want to move up or sideways in to a new environment. Look at the job descriptions that are out there and see how the skills apply to your current position. Make sure to highlight relevant similarities on your CV.
I recently met another woman who always wanted to work in pharmaceuticals or FMCG. However, after completing her masters, the opportunities in these fields weren’t there at the time. Focusing on the future, she took an event management role in a large hotel. Thanks to this experience, she managed to secure a temporary role in a major pharmaceutical firm to assist them in a countrywide launch and was promoted to a full-time position when her original contract ended.
What does the future hold?
People ask me all the time, where do you see the marketing employment market going, or where are the jobs coming from at the moment?
One thing we know for sure is that digital is only going to grow in importance. If you have the time and the funds to up-skill at an evening course, then it may be worth considering if that is for you. Realistically though, employers want to see concrete examples of previous successes in your last company. If digital isn’t a growing proportion of your marketing budget – perhaps it should be?
Even if you hire digital agencies to do the bulk of the work, you need to know as much as possible. Be up to speed on SEO, Google AdWords and be able to talk about your social media policy. This may not be relevant for every company in every industry, but proving that you were the instrument of change in your organisation is a skill that is needed the world over.