If ever there was a time for an individual to be a Jack-Of-All-Trades, it's now. As marketers in a tech-heavy mode of execution, we're constantly wading our way through résumés of people who apply to SEO and Search Marketing jobs. Many (a majority) of our applicants come with educational backgrounds in the IT and Engineering industries.
On paper, they seem like strong candidates with their B-Tech degrees reinforced by MBA's in Marketing and Management, but that's where the story usually comes to a grinding halt.
What we usually find missing from the skills in our applicant pool ranges a gamut of factors – while a lot of these can be ignored or filled with on-the-job training, there are a few glaring gaps that young graduates must be cognizant of when they begin their careers.
First things first: be prepared and come to your interview on time
We know the millennial generation is tech-savvy, prolific on social media and has a short attention span. We know they don't much care for corporate boardrooms and the rules of "the establishment" too much either. They're well-read, well-informed, have strong opinions and like to enforce their individuality.
All well and good. However, none of the above excuses the millennial generation from not researching their future employers. Whenever you apply to a company, research their website, understand their products, their services, their portfolio and the job description you've applied for. Don't be late for your interview and don't show up in your flip-flops and torn jeans.
Why do you want to do what you're applying for?
This is a question that many people don't seem to have an answer for. The Indian work scene is changing every day, with startups being added to the economy on an almost daily basis. And all startups have one thing in common – they're looking for strong, creative and hardworking talent that wants to make a tangible difference.
If you can't answer this question with clarity, then count on not getting hired. As employers, we're evaluating not just your technical skill and work experience but also how high your level of interest is for a particular position. At a minimum, we want to hire people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn, open to change and are able to make a significant contribution to their teams and work processes.
Show us your portfolio
Most employers understand that new graduates may or may not have any experience in the realm they're applying for. However, through your college years, make sure you keep a portfolio maintained and updated that highlights your achievements. This is a must for everyone applying to design jobs.
Ths is hw u dnt want 2 rite
Believe it or not, most of the people we've interviewed in the last six months have had trouble putting together a decent sentence without falling apart. Regardless of your job profile, don't be surprised if you find yourself becoming one of the most valued employees in your organization if you possess excellent written and verbal communication skills.
Don't forget, that in an increasingly "social" centric culture, you're often going to become brand ambassadors for your company just by virtue of linking to the profile on your own social media channels.
As you advance in your careers, you'll be communicating with your clients and perhaps even with your target audience at large. Although social media can be a lot of fun to work with, it also requires constant written responses. On a hugely public platform, you don't want to find yourself in a position where you affect your company's image because of poor communication skills.
The Common-Sense Factor
There's no replacement for common sense. Because employers expect to work with people who can think creatively and on their feet, they're leaving a lot of the responsibility of using intelligence and independent thinking on your shoulders.
If you find something that needs to be fixed, fix it. If you have a personal opinion on any matter that you know shouldn't go on social media, don't publish it. If you're requested a day off for sickness but you're posting pictures of yourself hanging out with your friends, then you can bet your employer is going to have enough evidence to fire you.
No amount of certification in Social Media marketing or even Search Engine Optimization will act as a substitute for using your own creative thinking ability and analytical skills.
Whether you're transitioning from a heavily technical field to marketing or vice-versa, it's important to keep yourself well-informed.
Find yourself a mentor, seek out the strongest publications in your industry or just pick up a newspaper and read. In fields like advertising and especially social media, you can't have enough knowledge at your fingertips. Typically, the people who excel at these profiles are the ones who read voraciously, learn willingly and then apply that information to benefit their employers and their clients.
Without a doubt, we're living in times when no one can afford to work in silos anymore. To make sure you extract the best possible mileage out of your career, make the effort to learn how to communicate well, educate yourself and work diligently.
Everything else, you'll pick up along the way.
Sarvesh Bagla has a Master's degree in Information Networking from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh where he was awarded the Kennametal Fellowship for outstanding academic performance and research work. An avid reader and an SEO expert himself, Sarvesh takes great pride in having grown Techmagnate into a globally competitive brand.