Getting a Graduate Marketing Job


It’s that time of the year again; Graduation. And it’s decision time for many students who haven’t already secured a role.

Some Graduates will choose to give themselves to charity for a year; digging a well in Africa or planting trees in the Amazon. This looks great on your CV and can be equally great for the soul.

Others will decide to travel the world for their own hedonistic pleasure. This too looks good on your CV, as long as you sell it as ‘travelling the world’ and not one giant bar crawl, but it can also be dangerous for your health or bank balance if you over do it!

The majority, however, will look to enter the job market; so most employers and recruiters will see an influx of CV’s from keen Graduates looking for their first role in Marketing over the next few months.

It’s one of my biggest disappointments as the MD of Forward Role that not many of our clients actually wish to brief us on Graduate vacancies. There are one or two notable exceptions who have employed Grads through us who have added real value to their team and progressed rapidly, but for the most, the logic seems to be; why pay a recruitment fee when we are inundated with CV’s ourselves. I’ll leave this argument for another time, but the reality is Graduates have to be prepared to approach companies themselves as well as register with a recruiter:

Here are a few quick tips on how to approach your search:

  • Be Realistic – I love the positivity of youth. That ‘I can do anything’ attitude. But when a job advertisement asks for 10 years’ commercial marketing experience and offers a salary of £50k, you are NOT going to get an interview if you apply. This is the equivalent of applying for the Manchester United Manager’s job with your Championship Manager CV. Stick to the Graduate and Junior level jobs and salaries and don’t waste your time.
  • Use Direct Marketing Principles in your search - The most important element of Direct Marketing is who you choose to target. Draw up a list of companies you would like to work for, mail-shot them your CV and cover letter, e-mail them, follow up with a phone call. If you work on the principle that 1 in 50 approaches might get a response, you need a long list of target businesses.
  • Treat the job search process like a job – put a shift in every day, work 9-5 on getting your CV out there, calling and connecting with people. Don’t get disheartened, these things take time, stick at it and give yourself the best chance of success by being thorough and professional.

Steve Thompson is the MD of Forward Role and manages Senior and Executive level Marketing, Digital and Analytical recruitment in the North West. Contact him at or call 0161 914 8499 for a chat with any of our consultants about opportunities or finding great people for your business. View our latest jobs at