Anyone’s first few months in a new job will naturally be a little scary. There are new things to learn, people to befriend, and clients to impress! These factors are particularly important with graduate roles where there’s the added layer of venturing into a full-time position for the first time.
Landing a job can often feel like the hardest part for grads. This is especially true in a harsh and competitive job market, like the one we’ve been seeing for the last several years now. However, getting hired is only the first step.
You then not only have to cement your spot, but prove yourself, show you worth, learn a hell of a lot and set yourself up for what is hopefully a great career in marketing. No pressure!
We’ve hired dozens of grads over the years, many of whom have now gone on to have very successful marketing careers. We like to think we played a small role in their success – and they have definitely played a role in shaping our business. So, after talking to those who have mentored our grads (and the grads themselves!) here’s our tips on how you can stand out as a graduate marketer and get the most out of your role.
5 ways to get ahead
It’s one thing to get the job. But putting your best foot forward to impress is something that’s not done enough. Once you’ve secured your role, there are a few useful things that you can do to stand out in your graduate role and accelerate your growth.
Of course, the responsibility to do well isn’t solely on you. Your manager and leaders should also be encouraging you and maximising your opportunities. But there are a few things you can do to give yourself a step up and impress:
1. Utilise critical thinking
Sure, you’re new at what you’re doing, but the ability to give something a crack even if you may be wrong is a crucial skill. So, you should constantly be seeking out learning experiences, making efforts to analyse, evaluate and form judgements when doing any task. If you’re unsure, some basic desktop research to support your recommendations or suggestions is a great way to back up your ideas and show a drive to succeed.
2. Ask questions
To further your critical thinking, you should be looking to ask questions whenever you’re unsure of a particular task. Unfortunately, many believe asking questions is a sign of weakness. But in reality, your managers will appreciate the fact you’re trying to understand a problem from all possible angles. It can also prevent delays and reworks down the line. Better safe than sorry!
From an employer’s perspective, this shows that the graduate is confident enough to think about what they’ve been tasked with instead of avoiding assistance.
3. Utilise your peers
When coming into a junior role, you are given access to colleagues with years of collective experience and honed skills under their belts. So, it’s a great idea to make the most of the experienced staff sitting above you in the company food chain to maximise your learning. They’re there to help you grow into an expert marketer, and you should be seeking out their wisdom as often as you can.
4. Take initiative
A big part of marketing is the freedom to get strategic with what you do. This benefit won’t be realised if you sit around waiting for direction for every task. So instead, put your hand up and be willing to assist your colleagues with their work. They’ll thank you for it, and you’ll also get more opportunities to learn new skills along the way.
Got more free time than you were anticipating? Ask if you can help lighten your colleague’s workload, and you’ll not only have more work to encourage your professional development but will make a great impression on your peers in the process.
5. Create your own learning opportunities
As a graduate, you’re not going to know a whole lot about many of the platforms or tools you’ll be using throughout your career. The best thing to do in this situation is to give everything your best go. You may need to do some research on your own to familiarise yourself with something, but the right attitude and excitement towards learning how to use new technologies will set you apart.
A great thing to do is make deliberate decisions to upskill with online courses, utilising Google and YouTube more to seek helpful tips. In general, seeking out your own learning experiences is always a great practice to get into, and a great habit to build early on in your career.
A foundation for ongoing success
Some of these things might sound very straight forward. “I thought I was going to get specific details!” some of you might be lamenting. However, while these points might sound logical, they are not always followed.
Marketing is a tough gig, no matter how experienced you are. Any environment – but particularly agencies – are fast-paced and always changing. The small step of showing you can take on a new task, asking a question that saves extra work down the track or showing that you have the ability (and desire) to learn quickly will all put you in good standing.
And who knows, if the business is busy enough, these actions might even get you moved up the food chain quicker than you anticipated.
With these small value-adding tasks, graduates are likely to see more growth opportunities, develop excellent working habits early, and get more out of their careers.
Are you still looking for your first marketing opportunity and a chance to stand out from the crowd? align.me are always looking for great marketing talent. You can meet the team and view our current vacancies here.