Back in 2008, I was on the brink of graduating with an undergraduate degree in marketing, and spent a significant portion of my free time searching for marketing jobs . After sending out what seemed like 1,000 resumes to the endless black hole of HR, I received an invitation to my first interview from a company (now defunct) specializing in direct marketing! Needless to say, I was extremely excited to have an opportunity in my field, went out and purchased a new suit (with a loan from grandma), and prepared for the next day's interview! That’s right…they were so impressed they wanted to see me the VERY NEXT DAY!
After braving the rush hour traffic, I arrived in a single room with about five other applicants. The vice president came out, introduced herself, and brought me back to interview. She explained she was very impressed with my resume; so much so, that she wanted to invite me back for a day to shadow a current employee! I graciously accepted this opportunity and adjusted my schedule accordingly.
Friday came, and I showed up bright and early for my new career in marketing. The woman I shadowed (forget her name) met me at the front door and we drove to our marketing appointment. As we arrived, she popped open her trunk, and asked me to help her set up a folding table outside of a Kmart store.
It was there in 40 degree weather that I realized the position was standing in front of a Kmart, selling cheap imported goods for a premium under the guise of charity. She must have had sympathy for me because during our lunch hour, she took me to my vehicle and I never considered a “direct” marketing job again.
While this was a decade ago, it is unfortunate these businesses still exist. They change their name every few years to outrun all the negative reviews, and exist in different iterations but mostly remain the same. They misrepresent marketing as standing in a store--or outside of a store--selling expensive products for next to no pay.
As you hunt for your first marketing career, please take note of the warning signs:
Company posting the same ad numoerous times but with different titles
Seeking “sports-minded” candidates
Shoddily done websites that appear professional but provide minimal content or company history
Offering an interview after three or four basic questions
and make sure to…. listen to your intuition…if it seems to good to be true…it probably is.