In The Trenches

Advice for grads

Published on June 28, 2022 Back to blog

Around this time every year, my inbox gets filled with notes from family, friends and colleagues looking to help a recent graduate enter the world of marketing. For the most part, I’m happy to oblige by having an informational call, connecting them with appropriate people and/or just corresponding via email. 

However, I’m often surprised by what transpires after the initial outreach, and thought I’d share a few pieces of advice to help recent grads (and Gradvocates – those advocating for the graduates) as they seek to enter the “real world.”

  1. Don’t rely on Gradvocates to do the work. I’m often amazed at how many parents actually try to coordinate and schedule interviews for their kids (or friends). Just make the connection and let the graduate do the rest. Otherwise, it implies that they’re incapable (or too lazy) of doing it themself. (NOTE: best etiquette for gradvocates is to ask if it is OK to make the connection before doing so.)
  2. Show Up. Having the connection may get you in the door, but it certainly doesn’t automatically get you a job, or even additional connections. Just like any other interview, do your homework on the company, be prepared with questions, and dress accordingly (even if it’s a Zoom call).
  3. Demonstrate Desire/Passion. Especially for entry-level jobs, one of the most important things a company looks for is desire and passion. The stronger it is, the more likely the candidate will succeed. If you really want to get into the business, act accordingly.
  4.  Say Thank You. After you connect, be sure to follow up with a thank you note (definitely via email for speed, but consider a written note as well). And make it personal to let them know that you valued their time, and took something away from it. No thank you = “No thank you.”
  5.  Follow Up. Often, these initial conversations are informational. But that doesn’t mean it is the end of the road. If you do all of the above well, you could be considered when jobs become available, or recommended to others who may be hiring. Follow up on any action items that may have been discussed and stay in touch (at the very least, connect on LinkedIn) so you are top of mind when opportunities arise.

While the advice above is framed around “connected conversations,” it all applies to general interviewing as well. Follow these steps, and you/your graduate will be destined for greatness (well, at least they’ll be better positioned for success).

As always, I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to share with others who you believe may find it of interest.

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners