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Steven R. Van Hook

Mailbag: Your Best Job Interview Tip?
Dear Steven ...
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Dear Steven: I've got my degree in communications. I did a summertime internship with a small firm near my university. Now I'm trying to schedule interviews with larger agencies in my home city. Do you have any tips for my first 'real world' job interview? -- Best Regards, Feeling Fidgety

Dear FF: You've probably seen some of the prolific how-to's and books on preparing winner resumes and job interviews. There are many excellent resources right on the 'net for landing your entry-level job. I'll list some of them below.

Of course you need to customize your resume and presentation to the particular needs of the employer. Each situation is different, and it will pay off if you treat each potential employer with individualized care. Research an opportunity as much as possible. Seek out company/officer profiles, news clips, past and present company projects, current issues and events relating to an agency's specialty. 

Their bottom-line question will be: What do you have to offer? Outline some of your own ideas, how you could contribute, why you're just the right person for the job. If you had some impressive results as an intern, wow your future employer with examples. And if you can't win them with facts, dazzle them with dreams -- after all, you are looking at a career in marketing where substance is often secondary to style. 

Here's my best tip for a successful job interview: Keep it in mind, your interviewers are likely as nervous about the interview process as you are. They are putting themselves on the line with their hiring decision, especially for a position so out-front as a marketing representative. They are inviting a stranger into their "home," and that's just plain scary. It is much easier to hire someone than it is to get rid of them. Look at the interview committee across the table, appreciate their apprehensions, and you will shine as you attempt to assuage their own fears with reasons why you're the perfect fit (if indeed you are). And if nothing else, by concerning yourself with the worries of others, your own might be minimized.

Here are a few resources that might help:
Jobs in Marketing
Links to employment trends and job resources in marketing..

Marketing Employment Trends
Here's a brief take on where marketing and marketers may find themselves in the days and decades to come.

BLS Forecast on Marketing & Related Jobs
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides extensive detail on the outlook for marketers, including job prospects, qualifications necessary, working conditions, pay and such.
TCareerBuilder is owned by Gannett Co., Tribune Co., McClatchy Co., and Microsoft Corp, and provides an authentic job search service as 'the largest online job site in the US with over 1 million jobs offered to 23 million visitors each month.'

Internship Programs
The database is a large dynamic collection of internships available. Listings are listed and updated by the actual employers ensuring the most recent and accurate information. Search for internships by company name, location, and/or profession. 

US & International Marketing Organizations
An extensive listing of marketing and marketing-related organizations located throughout the world, courtesy of the Chief Marketing Officer Council.

Public Relations Agencies
Top domestic and international public relations firms. Link directly to the company pages -- a great way to search for jobs and internships, and learn about an agency's areas of specialization.

Keeping a lock on success takes an elusive key. Some say it's who you know, others say it's what you know. I believe long-term success is ultimately based on what you are. Hold a firm grasp on your fundamental values as you dive into the work-a-day grinder. Your employer will see it in your eye and respect it. (And the ones who don't likely won't make good employers anyway.)

Good luck and career success!

- Steven R. Van Hook, PhD

Steven Van Hook has taught MBA and undergraduate marketing 
and communications courses for colleges and universities in the 
United States and abroad for more than a decade, and has 
developed more than a dozen courses with an international focus.

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