No matter what career field a student sets their sights on, one commonality is the importance of marketing. It’s a necessity for any measure of business, product, campaign or branding success. Perhaps the best advice USD students received from a professional marketing panel at last Thursday’s USD Knowledge Transfer was a reminder they have the most control over as employment seekers: to market themselves.
“A pet peeve of mine is getting a resume that’s just a bunch of random facts and doesn’t connect the dots,” said Celine Vargas, North America director for Firefly Millward Brown. “What’s your story? Who are you? With my degrees in the arts (ballet) and business (MBA), I had to develop a narrative for how I could bridge the two, tell my story and explain why I was unique.”
Everett Hernandez ’87, president of Avanze, Inc., enjoys marketing because of its ever-changing nature. Being adaptable is an important skill in business, but in the job interview process, Hernandez advises a focused, three-step approach.
“There’s a beginning, middle and end,” he said. “It’s important how you prepare. Having the Internet and a company’s website available means there’s no excuse to find out more about the company. When you’re in the interview, sell yourself, be a great storyteller, but also be prepared. You might have the answers when I ask you to give me three reasons why I should hire you, but be prepared when I ask you to give me three reasons why I shouldn’t. And lastly, the follow-up. Send a thank-you note. A handwritten thank-you note on average will stay on an executive’s desk for seven days. Write it the same day.”
Hadi Abrishamchian ‘08, shopper marketing manager for Mattel, Inc., and USD parent Laurie Pillings Rinker, principal for Brand Marketing Services rounded out the panel. Thomas Yang, an adjunct marketing professor and special advisor to School of Business Administration Dean David Pyke, moderated the discussion. He posed questions that let panelists reveal valuable insight.
“Build relationships with (USD) alumni, seek us out,” Hernandez said. “Everyone on this side of the table has been on your side of it.”
Abrishamchian’s advice centered on acquiring leadership skills and for millennial generation students to learn how to mine analytical information, both qualitatively and quantitatively.
Upon his own graduation, Abrishamchian entered Target Corporation’s Executive Team Leaders leadership program. His experience of overseeing all operations of a Target store and his approach to this opportunity at a time when the nation was mired in a recession (2008-10) enhanced his job prospects. Currently supporting all marketing efforts for Mattel and Fisher-Price brands and connected with Amazon, Abrishamchian said he’d want to know about a candidate’s leadership experiences from personal, team, thought and results-oriented aspects if he’s hiring somebody.
“A leader is typically a quick learner and is adept to change,” he said. “Leadership sets the stage from your first internship to your last job.”
Rinker has 30 years of experience in sales, advertising, marketing and branding for everything from dot-com start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. She is currently the chief marketing officer for Mazzetti Engineering, a thought leader in health care environments.
Rinker said she likes the variety that exist in having a marketing career, but intangibles such as working hard and a person’s vision, “having something that’s calling to you,” does matter when she wants to hire someone.
“Believe in your skills and your ability to grow them,” she said. “Don’t give up!”
— Ryan T. Blystone