Professional Development, Unpaid Internships, Mentoring Programs…I don’t think so. Until I took part in the Emerging Marketers program I never would have considered unpaid experience or extra professional and personal development. Is full-time university on top of part-time employment enough, asks Kirra Kissane, 2019 AMI Emerging Marketer mentee.
Who were these students who could manage their university workload, part-time work, as well as extra-curriculars and internships. In my eyes these students had an innate ability that I did not possess.
Wasn’t I doing everything I was supposed to do?
The answer was yes. Yes, I was doing everything I was required to do as a Commerce student. At the time I valued having the means to travel, whilst maintaining solid grades. However, was I doing everything I could do? No.
It turns out the difference between these high-achievers and myself was not merely intelligence it was drive and passion. Students who love what they are studying bring an enthusiasm and intensity that is impossible to match through sheer diligence (doing the required readings, workload etc.).
As I approached the end of my degree and for me it was clear something was missing: industry experience. By industry experience I don’t just mean working in your desired field (i.e. internships), I mean being proactive in speaking to industry professionals, being curious, being passionate and jumping at any opportunity to learn more by doing or speaking to others.
I felt as though whilst I had the skills and the tools to enter the daunting world of full-time employment I had never practiced applying them. I soon realised that Macquarie University provided me with all the resources I could ever need, if only I was to utilise these.
So I set myself a clear goal: To utilise the resources available to me and be proactive in gaining real industry experience before the conclusion of my studies.
AMI Emerging Marketers’ Program
The Australian Marketing Institutes (AMI) Emerging Marketers Programs was instrumental in my quest to gain exposure to the marketing industry. By the end of May I was matched with AMI board member and Marketing Director of Aargus, Nick Kariotoglou, who was to be my mentor.
Over coffee Nick shared with me several key learnings in which have stuck with me as I move forward.
- The importance of networking. Nick and I delved into the dos and don’ts of networking and the role networking has played in the success of his career. I.e. Don’t be that person clinging to their champagne flute for dear life – although sometimes tempting! Interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence are just as important as professional key core skills. The ability to read others and connect is priceless. Social media is your best friend, specifically LinkedIn. As it turns out becoming a subject matter expert in body language can prove fairly helpful.
- Embrace your POD (or point of difference)! Nick and I spoke about the importance of leveraging my own individuality as I enter the marketing industry. Specifically, my bubbly personality and strong communication skills – I love to connect with others and enjoy presenting (assuming it’s an idea I am passionate about).
In the words of Ogilvy’s Managing Director; Advertising is a people’s business; it is about personality and humanity. Be authentic communicate your own story of how you have gotten to where you are – even if you’re like myself and are yet to have a dramatic and wildly inspirational story to share.
- Show you are passionate. Nick encouraged me to not be afraid to send out a CV when no jobs are on offer. Although the hiring manager may not have something for you rat the time they may point you in the right direction, or even better consider you for future opportunities. Points for initiative!
- Finally, do not obsess over landing your ideal, dream position straight out of university, just begin! Grads will have many jobs and often completely change careers. Each of these positions adds knowledge, the opportunity to expand our network and endless possibility.
The 11th commandment
These above learnings are my personal insights into the marketing industry which I have taken from the AMI’s emerging marketer’s program. The moment I decided to utilise the resources at my fingertips was when all the doors and opportunities seemed to continue to open.
This has led me to establish what would be the 11th Commandment if there were an Emerging marketer’s bible; Industry Experience. By completing the Emerging Marketers program, I felt I had a more holistic view on the industry from the one-dimensional perspective I began with. However, the more I continued to learn the more questions arose.
- Where did all these units I was studying fit in?
- There is agency side and client-side marketing?
- Wait, Media Agencies exist?
As an aspiring marketer, I have had the opportunity to meet and speak with industry professionals and gain valuable insight into the industry. I have enjoyed the challenge and excitement of working with professional marketers, who have provided guidance and support, as I advance to the next level of my career. Industry experience has solidified and confirmed my passion for marketing.
Entering into the marketing industry now as an APAC Marketing Intern for Australian Technology Company, Nuix, I have the mindset to continually grow and most importantly continue to asks the whys – even if I do feel like a toddler going through the stage in which they ask the whys about seemingly everything!
I have learnt that putting yourself out there and failing (I try to adopt a growth mindset; FAIL stands for First Attempt In Learning), as well as learnings gained from my failures is an essential step to gaining experience and learning from professionals. I am excited for this next stage where I will experience what it is like working on a brand rather than for an agency and am grateful for my mentor Nick and the Emerging Mentor Program. I hope to continue to utilise the AMI’s resources and networking events moving forward.
From one Emerging Marketer to another, utilise the resources available to you; starting= with the Australian Marketing Institutes Emerging Marketers program