The profile of a successful marketing graduate

Written by: Simon Lewis
Published on: 24 May 2012

How to stand out from the crowdfish

Specialist marketing recruitment consultant, Jenny Surridge, at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau exclusively shares her unique insights into successful marketing placements, pinpointing key skills which are becoming essential for applicants to stand out from the 100+ others making a beeline for the same job.


ImageAs with many industries, marketing is a fast-expanding sector with increasing appeal for graduates who can relate to its contemporary, dynamic approach to business strategy. This inevitably leads to fierce competition and with universities bombarding students with courses of questionable value it begs the question, what is actually valuable when it comes down to applying for graduate jobs in the marketing industry.

How essential is a marketing degree?

So first things first, what qualifications do you need? This can vary from in-house roles to marketing agencies although both sides love pure marketing degrees as these give a broad understanding across all areas, functions and relevant skill-sets. But when these can be hard to come by in enough volume we always find that strong Management or Business Studies degrees are just as effective, often integrating useful modules for graduates to bring to the table. However, this doesn’t write off humanity subjects such as English, History or Media at all as a creative mindset can be extremely useful for content writing, innovative strategy and campaign execution.

Any extracurricular really helps as it shows you are driven, can work as part of a team and build leadership skills.

How important is work experience?

A precious tool across nearly every sector nowadays, this one is no exception. Most marketing courses are embedding experience into a compulsory placement year and such set-ups are usually favoured or can even be part of the screening criteria from clients. If you haven’t done one it is invaluable to try and get some experience, even if for a month or so over the summer so you can compete against these guys on paper! Similar skills can often be drawn from part-time work and extra-curricular activities too but try not to rely on these, simply use them to complement first-hand practice.

Nevertheless, anything that showcases the ‘well-rounded personality’ students are supposed to be nurturing can be taken advantage of.  Any extracurricular really helps out graduates looking for work as it shows you are driven, can work as part of a team and usually helps to build/show leadership skills, especially if it’s been arranged off your own back. Particularly relevant activities might be to demonstrate you have perhaps set up your own website, take part in blogging, and are social media mad as online marketing is the way a lot of companies are moving.

Where to start?

So assuming you have the job in the bag (of course), what can you expect? Where should you begin looking? Graduate recruitment companies are inundated with fantastic opportunities and starting salaries for graduate roles tend to range between £18-24k, more than enough to get the ball rolling. These opportunities are spread across a diverse array of companies in almost any consumer base.

Your CV is the most essential personal marketing tool you can carry so get practicing.

i got the jobYour CV is the most essential personal marketing tool you can carry here so get practicing. It’s worth noting that although job boards display some great opportunities there are also hidden jobs markets where both multi-national and smaller-medium enterprises pay recruitment companies to short-list high-calibre students to fill exclusive roles. You can therefore gain a huge advantage through companies like Graduate Recruitment Bureau, who hold 15+ years of specialist knowledge on how to approach graduate applications and whose job is to ensure you make full use of the free industry-oriented guidance they have to offer throughout each process.

There’s no point building up a fantastic portfolio of skill sets unless the employer takes the time to look at it, so recruitment consultancies can be invaluable resources for that initial foot in the door, especially if you are inexperienced in applying for jobs. This way you can be assured your application will always be given the time of day, firstly by consultants who will ensure it is tailored appropriately to display your assets at their full potential, and then by employers as your are shortlisted for jobs on their recommendation. You can then carry this knowledge forward as an industry template and you’re on your way up.

Good luck & get marketing yourself!


To find out how Jenny and her team can help you find your graduate marketing job visit