A mobile marketing manager for American Eagle Outfitters spoke at my college last week. Her position is too specific to be on most college students’ short list of potential careers, and there’s always a chance that they — and you — are missing out.

This list of facts and advice holds knowledge from American Eagle’s Leah Curry, both about marketing in particular and about career tips for college students and the job-searching process in general.

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Mobile Marketing is the New Wave

For anyone wondering about the future of advertising, the statistics behind mobile marketing responses should be enlightening: SMS campaigns from American Eagle nets unprecedented engagement rates from customers compared to other marketing vehicles. Mobile marketing is a fast-growing medium.

Retail is Difficult

“It’s not for the faint of heart,” Leah mentions. It’s a demanding and ever-changing environment.

Job Competition is Tough

At Leah’s current job, a position was recently opened for just six days and received hundreds of applicants. Be aware of the odds against you.

Pick a Job, Not a Title

When deciding what jobs to look for, don’t skim job titles looking for the most prestigious one. Human resources can tell when you have the right background and when you’re angling for a cooler job title like, say, an employee of American Eagle.

Research the Company

Make sure you fact-check your job applications. You’ll both need to know that you can keep up with the job requirements and that nothing you’ve claimed is wrong about them. And whatever you do, make sure you spellcheck.

Have Two Resume Strategies: Online and In-Person

Applications submitted online can be plain text, with key words. In person, however, resumes should be to the point and arrestingly unique. “Don’t just use a word template,” Leah advises.

Her own resume, which she tweaks periodically, currently features her name in cursive, flowing across the top of the page outside of the normal boundaries that a word template would impose.

Use LinkedIn

Too many people don’t link with enough connections, or don’t use the ones they have. Keeping your profile updated gives you one more channel to attract attention.

Apply for Everything

Leah applied to jobs she didn’t even want. There’s never too much effort in the job application world, or even in the career environment as a whole, which she went on to explain with the advice to…

Be Crazy

Leah brought a 20-page portfolio as an internship application when a portfolio wasn’t even a requirement. She got the position not because she demonstrated that she was experienced enough, but because she demonstrated she was willing to work “way above and beyond.”

“Everyone hands them a resume,” she says of potential employees, “but not a detailed rationale of why they should have the job.” To fill the portfolio in question, she explained, she included not just a cover letter, resume, and samples of past work, but also a write-up of how she might respond to hypothetical scenarios drawn from the company’s website.

Don’t Use Grad School to Escape the Job Market

Post-graduate education can be worthwhile, depending on the particular demands of one’s job, but no one should run to it in order to post-pone a difficult job search. They’ll end up overqualified and under-experienced.

“Education should be supplementary to experience, not vice versa,” Leah says.

Learn from Your Early Experiences

Once she got her first internship in the field of public relations, a natural extension of her public relations major, Leah realized that she didn’t enjoy her work. She was worried she’d spend her time doing “damage control” rather than investing in creative strategies that grow a brand.

Marketing faces its own damage-control scenarios, of course, but branding remains the main – and the more fun – focus. Leah shifted careers to marketing, and hasn’t looked back.


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