/ Asked by Michelle
My college career center is run by fairly young people without real corporate experience. I actually think I might know more than they do, which is terrifying!!!! I need solid advice on how to best position myself for interviewing. I have a basic communications marketing major and have had only basic semester long or summer jobs in retail and restaurants to help pay for school. I have a great gpa and can probably get a couple professors to recommend me. How can I make myself stand out in an interview for an entry level marketing job at a big company with a lot of other candidates?
Answered by Elizabeth, Hiring Expert at HCA Healthcare, on Monday, October 14, 2013
Well, sounds like you have a lot going for you.  A good GPA is a great start!  But it sounds like you do not have a lot of direct experience in the industry.  If you are looking for internships or full-time jobs, definitely highlight relevant class projects in your marketing classes, since you do not have experience on-the-job.  Consider where you might have displayed your marketing/communications know-how elsewhere - maybe in a student organization?  Those are the ways that you can try to highlight your qualifications on your resume.  If you do not have marketing experience, see if you can find a way to help your student organization(s) or a department on campus with their social media to gain some additional hands-on experience.  The next step...network!!!  See if your university has an alumni database and see if you can identify a few individuals who are in your field to sit down with you and give you some advice about how to break into their company.  These are the people that can open doors, even if you do not have extensive experience. 
Answered by Rodd, Hiring Expert at Gap Inc., on Tuesday, October 15, 2013
We think it is best to "explore" companies you might want to work for and review any entry level marketing jobs they might have open. Once you see jobs that may be of interest, review the job description and qualifications needed. You can then determine if your skills/experience match and apply for the open position. Once you are called in for an interview take the time to prepare and determine how you might stand out, based on your experience.

Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on Friday, October 18, 2013
The first thing that I would recommend is networking.  This would start by identifying the companies with which you have the most interest and utlize LinkedIn or other professional networking tools to identify leaders and decision makers in marketing at those companies.  Connect with them through the service and request an informational interview to learn more about the company and opportunities there.  

It is also helpful to become involved in on-campus organizations related to your desired field.  An on-campus chapter of AMA, for example.  Also, become involved in activites in the community such volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, or something along those lines.  These are the types of things that can help to make up for a lack of industry experience and should be emphasized on your resume.

Preparing for interviewing is all about doing your homework.  Research as much as you can about the company and ask throughtful and relevant questions related to this research.  This shows the interviewer that even though you may not have the industry experience, you have gone above and beyond to prepare yourself for the interview, and in their mind, these actions could be repeated on the job.  In summation, be calm and confident, but not over-confident, and arm yourself with facts and information about that company.      
Answered by John, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on Tuesday, October 22, 2013
This is a good question. The fact that you have a good GPA is a good starting point! I would recommend searching on company websites and online career sites for entry level marketing positions. Because you might not have relevant work experience for the jobs you are applying for, I would suggest talking about projects you worked on in the classroom during interviews. In behavioral based interviews, you can also speak about past experiences you had in your previous work experiences. I would also suggest going into an interview knowledgeable about what the job entails and, in addition, be knowledgeable about the company you are interviewing for. Be able to provide solid examples for the questions the interviewer asks and remember to remain relaxed so that the interviewer can get to know the real you!
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