In Career Services our industry area of marketing and communications covers a wide scope of career paths and professions. Some of these areas include marketing, public relations, advertising, and media.
While these career paths do have some similarities, there are different aspects to each profession. Specifically, marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service; it also entails managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders. Public relations professionals work toward establishing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the public, including the press. Advertising agencies create and plan ad campaigns for clients and these agencies differ in size and services.
As you think about the particular path that suits you in this industry, it’s important to also be mindful of the workplace environment. Within these fields you can work in agencies that are being hired by outside clients for work or you can work client-side or “in house” where you are working in the marketing or communication function of an organization doing work specifically for them.
For example, J. Walter Thompson, Ogilvy, and McGarryBowen are some large advertising agencies that work with outside clients. In these companies you might work as an account manager directly with the company’s clients or on the creative side producing work. Client-side positions would be someone who is doing marketing, PR or advertising for a company like managing social media for an organization or serving as the marketing director to specifically work with your company’s brand.
It’s important to gain experience throughout college in order to break into these industries. In addition to learning through internships, students should think about serving in communications roles in student organizations or even look for campus jobs that will allow you to learn and develop critical skills. Recruiters in these areas are looking for college graduates with related experience, a high level of creativity, and strong communication skills both orally and written. In today’s market recruiters are also looking for you to have specific computer and technical skills to create promotion materials and/or utilize social media platforms.
There are a variety of resources and programs in our office to explore and get connected in the marketing and communications fields. Coming up in January we’ll take our annual trip to New York City for Spiders in Marketing and Communications where we visit around eight companies to learn about what they do, internship and job opportunities, and have the chance to network with alumni and professionals. The deadline to apply for this program is November 15.
On November 12 we will host Careers in Communications and Writing, a workshop that will include a panel of alumni from Ledbury, The Hodges Partnership, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
After attending these programs we encourage you to come into the office and speak with an advisor about your interests in marketing and communications and how to create an action plan to pursue this industry. One of our newest career advisors, Ashleigh Brock, focuses on working with students who are interested in these areas. To schedule an appointment please call us at (804) 289-8547 or stop by our office on the 3rd floor of the Commons.