As graduation day has come and gone, recent communications grads are left wondering how to get a job in marketing, and how to apply their academic skillset to the real world and make some money. With the long nights in the library gone, the days of long hours in the office begin. Hopefully there’s better coffee.

We have cultivated a 3-step process of breaking into the marketing world to help you bridge the gap from academia to the workforce and get your dream marketing career.

STEP 1: Learn How to Market Yourself.

  • Self-branding
    • Show up early and leave late. Being punctual and hardworking sends a clear message that you are ready for the task at hand. This shows that you want to be there, and you are dedicated to making that clear. Maybe in a few months they will upgrade your desk chair.
    • Dress appropriately. Dress for the job you want not the one you have! The sweatshirts and flip flops of the last four years are not going to fly in the office. Keep in mind that the way you present yourself is representative of your personal style: an important aspect of marketing.
    • Be helpful. If no one else wants to do something, be the one to step up. You look good and it will make your boss look good too.
    • Be reliable. Nobody wants to employ a flake! Show up and be present. You will be in the know and your boss’s right hand. The potential perks are endless.
  • Capitalize on your intelligence
    • Learn to write and do math. Marketing is about storytelling and analytics – so brush up on both. Set yourself up to impress any office with your ability to write a killer pitch and assess the growth of recent social media presence.
    • Learn some new skills. Access with a LinkedIn premium account. Tutorials can teach you a few new skills to add to your resume or just be more helpful around the office. Choose skills to learn depending on your interests, or the focus of your chosen industry. Marketing for movies? Learn iMovie. Interested in graphic design? Learn photoshop. Even if you won’t be the one creating these masterpieces, understanding how they work will make you more marketable.
    • Be useful. The most useful people are the ones who are both logical and creative. These people are hard to come by. Find a way to increase your capacity to do both. An important aspect of marketing is computer technology. If you haven’t graduated yet, take a coding class. If you are not the one coding at work, chances are you will work with someone who does.
  • Get out there and shake some hands – or click some buttons.
    • The more people you meet, in person or online, the better your communication skills will become, and the higher the likelihood of finding someone to connect you with your dream job.
    • Build your social media profiles to increase your chances of making a connection and keeping it. Make sure you are proud of the representation of yourself that you are sharing with the world. That probably means switching those pictures holding solo cups to coffee mugs on your Instagram profile…sorry!
  • Keep up and stay in the know
    • Marketing, especially in this day and age, is rapidly evolving. Keep up with the new technologies and strategies, maybe investigate creating some new ones. Being marketable is about being innovative. Who says you’re not the next Elon Musk of marketing?

STEP 2: Tell your story.

  • Share you with the world. Remember your passions. Think about your goals. What is the best way to meet them both?
    • If you find what you love and where you belong, it shows. Not only will you be happier, but your current or future boss will be too. For example, if you love dogs, join a marketing team that markets dog products or at least allows office dogs (hopefully both)! Your knowledge of the subject coupled with your enthusiasm will be obvious and even contagious. It will make your work life more fun and help you climb the ladder towards your goals.
  • Now that you know what you want, mold that to your dream job.
    • Learn about the companies or agencies you want to be at and be able to show them that when you get to that interview. Embody that company’s mission and vision and soon you might be a part of creating it.

STEP 3: Exceed your own expectations

  • Remember that brand you just created for yourself? What about your story? Live up to it!
    • Once you have rebranded your story, change it and exceed it. Put that hard-earned degree to work by showing that you know how to use it.

These 3 steps, when put into practice, formulate the start of your success in the marketing world. Why? Because you’ve just mastered the art of marketing with your most important client: yourself.