Are you a graduate who is thinking of getting involved in marketing communications? Perhaps Nilesh Pandey's experience will inspire you to do just that! Nilesh graduated in 2012 with a degree in Marketing Management from De Montfort University in Leicester. Since graduating, Nilesh has worked his way up the communications ladder progressing from communications assistant and through the ranks to his current role as Communications Manager for Lorien, a recruitment company in central London. Nilesh took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for our graduate stories series on how he got into marketing and how his degree has helped him along the way:
How did you get into marketing in the first place?
Believe it or not I actually wanted to be an actor until I was 18! However, once I knocked that on the head and was choosing my degree, marketing stood out as it was the element of business which appealed to me the most. At that stage I still wasn’t sure which particular area of marketing I wanted to go into, so I picked it as a broad degree, giving me time to decide what I liked best.
Once I graduated, the plan was to do a few internships to build up my experience. I was fortunate that my very first one was working for former Dragons’ Den judge, James Caan, and after my three month internship was over, they offered me a permanent role. The team I worked in was quite small which was a good thing, as it meant I was able to stretch myself across a number of areas – PR, B2B campaigns, social media, events and a whole heap more. This was a brilliant learning curve for the first two years of my career.
Did your university degree/experience help you when it came to your first marketing job?
There were two areas where it really helped me. Firstly, it gave me experience of working on projects where lots of research was required, something I needed in my first job. Also, I was able to pick up some useful pearls of wisdom from lecturers and tutors about what employers wanted from you in the working world.
How did you identify which area of marketing you wanted to get into?
Just through hands-on experience! As I mentioned, my first job allowed me to get involved with lots of different things and was an in-house position. I then moved into a client-facing role, which allowed me to experience what life was like when you’re essentially working for multiple people at one time.
My current job combines elements from both of the previous two, which I’m happy with. I would say that nowadays, there’s a lot of overlap between different areas of marketing, and if you can expose yourself to as many of these as possible, it makes you an attractive candidate. Not only does it improve your personal skill-set, but it gives you many more options within the job market.
Is there anything you’d have done differently starting out in your career?
Not really, although I think it may have been useful if I’d done some marketing internships whilst at university, for example during summer breaks, or perhaps a placement year. I think the important thing at the start of your career is to be flexible and get as much exposure as you can. I was lucky enough to be able to do this and it’s worked for me.
What advice do you have for graduates looking to get into marketing?
- The world of marketing is always evolving so stay up to date with the latest trends, even when you’ve got a full-time job.
- Try and set time aside to learn about them and maybe even look at doing the odd course.
- Remember that most jobs you’ll apply for will require you to think commercially as well as creatively.
- Get into the habit of recognising and creating opportunities that can help a business grow – this is one of the most important skills they look for in employees.
What advice would you give graduates who are currently searching for their first marketing job?
- Don’t get hung up on the specific marketing area you want to go into when looking for your first job. Getting experience is the most important thing, so be adaptable and willing to learn.
- Most areas of marketing require you to be a strong writer, so this makes your CV and cover letter even more important. Treat every application like you would an assignment – specific, well-written and engaging.
- Don’t be disheartened if you get rejections; take the lessons and then move on. It’s a bit of a cliché but success is a journey, not a destination!
- Also, being personable is really important – a well-crafted CV will get you into an interview, but your communication skills will open a lot more doors.
If you could give your post-graduate self any piece of advice, what would it be, knowing what you know now about the industry?
You can never know too much or be too curious. There are things you haven’t even heard of yet which will be super important to your job in just a few years’ time.
More valuable advice from our wonderful network of marketeers. The graduate stories series is here to educate you on the different journeys of marketers up and down the country. There is no 'one-size-fits-all' when it comes to a career in marketing, and the prospect of a first job can be daunting for the fresh graduate. Hopefully our stories help to inspire and encourage you in your post-graduation job search!