Written by Jonathan Aston, West Midlands Graduate Internships, April 2010
With such a broad range of skills required in marketing today, internships are fast becoming the essential first step out of university, says Jonathan Aston.
Marketing is a fiercely competitive industry. It takes on many different forms and the list of skills expected from new graduates continues to grow. So how can you make the transition from fresh-faced graduate to high-flying marketer? One word - experience.
Neil Morris, deputy managing director of the Institute of Direct Marketing, recently commented in an article for Marketing Week: ‘Young people in marketing understand concepts at a superficial level, but don't know how to apply their knowledge. They can collect data but not analyse it, or they’ve learned a theory, but don't understand its relevance.’
Internships help to cement the relationship between theory and practice. According to Ros Kindersley, managing director of recruitment consultancy, JFL Search & Selection: ‘Internships are increasingly being favoured by big brands like Marks & Spencer, Proctor & Gamble and Unilever. They allow junior candidates to experience different areas of the business, while being guided and mentored throughout the process to leave them with a broad level of experience and a variety of established skills.’
Without relevant experience, many graduates find it hard to break into their chosen industry. Although they have the skills, they aren’t hardened up to a work environment. Internships give you that all important opportunity to prove yourself. Kiran Patel recently graduated with a BA in Media & Communication and landed an internship at ‘The Vine’ publication. She quickly earned recognition as a talented professional and is now a valuable member of the team.
‘Kiran hit the ground running, producing a high standard of work from day one and without much guidance. I’m amazed at the level of professionalism and Kiran’s now about to start developing our social networking presence,’ said Joanne Gale, Senior Account Manager, The Vine.
‘A marketing internship helps graduates build up such skills as learning to write persuasive copy, understanding e-marketing, sales management, developing client handling skills plus a whole range of other skills,’ says Joy Stefanicki, project manager at West Midland Graduate Internships.
‘While students may be educated in these areas – employers want to see that they’re able to put that knowledge into practice in a real, work environment. These success stories are becoming more common, says Joy.
‘Internships are all about opportunity. It gives graduates the ability to stand out from the crowd in a way that the normal recruitment process does not allow.’
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