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Digital Marketing Graduates Must Find the Right Balance between Theory and Practice

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of a chef? You imagine him cooking with an apron in the kitchen.

Can you imagine a chef just writing a recipe without attempting to cook a dish? Most likely not. They want to know what it actually tastes like. Apart from his theoretical knowledge of cooking duration, process, ingredients, and their taste, a chef practically experiments on flavours that go well together, and seasonings that enhance the taste which brings a whole different experience to cooking the recipe.

What about marketing students? Don’t you think building practical work experience is essential to build their marketing skills, too?

Work experience as evidence of your work skills

Different from the marketing theories we learn from classrooms, work experience provides you with crucial knowledge, skills and personal attributes that employers look for. Without practical and real experience, your theoretical knowledge in the workplace is just empty talk. This is why fresh graduates with no experience struggle in getting a full-time job even though they graduate with distinctions.

Does experience matter?

This is a controversial question. It is always good to have lots of experience, but 10 restaurant/bubble tea retail experiences listed on your resume are unlikely to lead you to a full-time digital marketing or event management job.

The value of your work experience depends on what abilities and skills you gained from your previous company. In addition, how you can leverage your skills to contribute to your future employers matters. You should be building knowledge, skills, and abilities, and identifying your strengths and weaknesses that fit your dream jobs.

Also, having work experience does not necessarily lead to skills acquisition. In fact, the experience can be categorised as relevant or irrelevant experience. The relevant experience will help you gain the skills that you need for your next job. On the other hand, irrelevant experience is just a waste of your precious time.

For instance, international students often have mistaken that getting local experience will help in their resume regardless of what job they get. Many ended up working in a cafe or a supermarket as a packer, thinking that this would lead them to a full-time marketing job.

Inspite of their study at the university, marketing students still lack practical experience in the real world because they do not apply their knowledge in the industry. Also, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and consumers have turned digital, the marketing industry has had a huge change in their recruitment requirements for digital marketing jobs. They are not as willing to train inexperienced interns as they demand job-ready graduates who have at least 1-2 years of digital marketing experience.

According to LinkedIn, Seek, and Indeed, the following are the main marketing hard skills for entry level jobs that the current job market is expecting:

  • Organic digital marketing: skills in implementing social media marketing and related tool (such as Facebook, Hootsuite, etc)

    • Creative copywriting skills

    • Graphic designs on Canva or Adobe

    • Email newsletters

    • SEO

  • Video editing skills

  • Website management

  • Paid marketing (preferred by some companies)

Does internship offer you the skills you want?

A fresh graduate intern says: “I did an office internship for a small publishing company. It was supposed to be a learning experience, but I had to fold 600+ shirts in dead silence.”

Traditionally, internship is a good way to gain work experience. Despite the changing recruitment scene, students are using the same approach to enter the job market and get the skills they want. Failing to recognise the change in job demands after the pandemic, and companies’ unwillingness to teach, many interns had very bad internship experience (as shown below). They felt they had wasted their precious time in these companies, especially international students. For example,

  • They are given irrelevant work without a proper schedule.

  • They are not assigned a specific mentor/manager to teach skills.

  • They are not provided with enough training to learn in-market marketing tools and methodologies.

  • They are used for office maintenance tasks and documentation work.

Such irrelevant and unrelated experiences cost international students tremendously as their 485 Visa only allows them to work for a limited period (2-3 years depending on their type of Visa application). As a result, when their visa ended, they still struggled to break into the job market due to the lack of adequate experience, needed skill set and industry knowledge.

Acknowledging this gap, MARKCubator wants to intervene and pave the path for marketing international students towards their first job in the Australian marketing industry. We help you get the first digital marketing job in Australia by providing a Practical Digital Marketing Training program through personalised coaching by Dr Theresa Teo.

If you don’t have any relevant work experience, developing relevant and practical skills would be a good head start. Join MARKCubator’s Monthly Meetup and Industry Networking event to practise your soft skills (communication and presentation skills) and get a better understanding of the local marketing industry. Also, learn more about our Practical Marketing Training courses which allow you to enhance your hard skills and land your first full-time marketing job!

If you need support in career guidance, you are welcome to book a free 30-minute consultation with Dr Theresa.

MARKCubator, Your Aussie Partner.

Author: Naga Venkata Abhishek Peetambaram

Date Published: 25 Oct 2022



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