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Guide to Landing a Marketing Internship Through On-Campus Recruiting
On-Campus recruiting is a great way to find a marketing internship. Companies are literally there to hire you (or someone like you). You need to maximize your opportunity with these insider tips.
By JR BLASZEK
One of the best ways to land a marketing job is through on-campus recruiting at your undergraduate university or MBA program. In many cases, top CPG and tech companies will only hire full time candidates out of their intern class. This means that if you’re serious about becoming a brand or product manager, landing an internship is critical to your career path. Most internship spots are filled through on-campus recruiting, so if you can make a good impression on the recruiters, you are almost guaranteed an interview spot.
This is easier said than done, however. On-campus recruiting is a daunting process for many students. Recruiting events are usually full of Type-A students chomping at the bit to get noticed by the recruiters. And with so many of these students around it is tough for recruiters to remember a single one of them. Here is your guide to getting noticed and remembered (in a good way) by marketing recruiters while on-campus:
Get on the list
Every marketing recruiting event will have a “sign-up” sheet of some kind. You might think that putting your name on the list really doesn’t mean anything because the list probably just gets thrown away anyways. That’s exactly what I thought when I was recruiting for my first brand management job (although I still put my name down). But now that I’m on the recruiting side of the table, I can tell you that the lists definitely do not get thrown away.
As a matter of fact, we use the lists as a detailed guide on potential recruits. After each event, somebody from the team usually compiles the list of names into an Excel document and sends it out to the team. That Excel document contains a list of every name, every recruiting event (to determine your attendance at each), and a comments section that is filled out by everybody who had an interaction with you. If your name doesn’t make it onto that list, it probably won’t make it into the memories of the recruiters.
Make a positive impression
Just because your name makes it onto the list, doesn’t mean your work is done. Similarly to resume reviews, marketing recruiters are always looking for a way to narrow down the list of potential candidates. This is where that “comments” section of The List is critical. Here are some examples of comments that I’ve seen on recruiting lists throughout the years:
“Great candidate. Well-spoken and interesting background.”
“Awesome. Top Recruit.”
“Has family in [same city in office]. Seems like a strong fit.”
“Seemed nice, but her makeup was really awful.”
“Scatter-brained. Didn’t seem interested.”
“Asked inappropriate questions about salary. Not a good fit.”
As you can see, anything that a candidate does to make an impression (good or bad) makes it onto The List. It’s up to you to ensure those comments are positive ones.
Talk to multiple people
Another important aspect of recruiting is not just ensuring that you make a positive impact on one marketer, but you make the same type of impact on multiple marketers. If the company you’re recruiting with brought a team of 5, you should try to make positive contacts with at least 3 of them. That way, when the team goes back to calibrate candidates you will have a majority of the group already in your favor.
Show up for everything
Depending on the school you’re attending, the recruiting process can seem overwhelming. It can seem like there are different companies to talk with every night and sometimes you might even have to choose between going to an event for one company over another. But if there is a company that you are truly interested in working for, you need to make it a priority to show up for every event. Here’s a list of different types of on-campus events that you might be attending as a candidate:
– Day In The Life seminar
– Corporate Presentation
– Corporate Happy Hour
– Resume Reviews
– Office Hours
– Mock Interviews
– Recruiting Dinners
Looking at this list, you might thinking that going to all of these events seems like a huge time commitment and there’s no way you can attend. But keep in mind The List. The more events that you can attend, the more your name ends up on The List (and moves to the top). If you’re lucky enough to be invited to all of these events for a company you love, you should do everything in your power to attend.
Don’t talk too much
Every recruiting event has students that feel the need to monopolize a conversation. While you might feel like this is your chance to make an impact and that you want to take as much time as you possibly can to do that, you need to remember that we’re not just there to talk to you. We want to get to know as many students as possible. If you take up all of our time with your conversation there are a few things that can (and usually do) go through our minds:
– This person is not considerate of others.
– This person is trying too hard.
– This person is not somebody I would like to work with.
So take the time to meet the marketers on-campus, but you should master the art of leaving on a positive note. If you feel like you asked a few good questions, told a couple of good stories, and got the recruiter to remember you, you should politely excuse yourself from the conversation and allow other students to have the same chance.
Join a “recruiting group”
This is a tactic that I used frequently when I was recruiting for marketing jobs during school. Turn recruiting into a team sport. Recruiting events are so much more fun and effective when you go in as a group. Here’s what I did.
I created a group of 4 friends and we went to every recruiting event together. We teamed up, fed off of each other’s questions and comments, and knew how to make a good impression. This ended up being a highly effective tactic. We kept each other motivated, we got to know each other’s stories so we never interrupted each other. At the same time, we knew when to start talking because we know when the others would finish.
You need to think of recruiting like you’re on “Survivor”. Eventually, only one person can get a job. In the meantime, however, building alliances is a great way to ensure that you don’t get “voted off the island”. Build an alliance network and your recruiting events will go much more smoothly.
One way to get noticed (and back on The List) is to send a follow-up email to different marketers that you spoke to during events. Every time I get a follow-up email, I immediately record it on “The List”. I think it makes a positive impression and shows me that you’re really interested in the job. An effective follow-up email has 3 components:
Say thank you
These marketers took time out of their schedule to come recruit because they are genuinely interested in finding great talent. You should thank them for taking the time to talk to you. If anything, it is just common courtesy and makes you sound appreciative for the opportunity.
Reminder of your conversation
If you feel like you had a good conversation with the marketer, you should remind them of that conversation. We talk to a lot of students at any given recruiting event and we might not remember all of the conversations off the top of our heads. Usually if you can remind us of that conversation, however, we will be able to recall it. The more you can do to get us to remember who you are and what you have to offer, the better.
Express interest in the job
Don’t be afraid to use your follow-up email as a mini sales pitch for yourself. Take a sentence or two to remind us that you are interested in an internship and that you can bring a lot of value to the company. It never hurts to continue to express your desire for working with a company.
So there you go. If you follow this guide to on-campus recruiting you will most surely put yourself at the top of any marketer’s recruiting list.
If you have any other tactics that work for you, please share them below!