Ty Hayes, Chief Marketing Officer at Curtin University, talks about finding his first professional role after university and the importance of mentoring in your career progression.
It actually took me just under twelve long months to find my first graduate position. I remember back then there was a directory of advertising and marketing agencies in Perth. I relentlessly worked my way through that directory, making cold calls on a daily and weekly basis. I asked if they had any current work opportunities or upcoming roles, I asked if I could send through my CV and if I could stay in touch. If they said yes, then I did – it was my first lesson in direct marketing and telemarketing.
I also pounded the pavement with my CV and visited the agencies asking to speak with their Managing Director; it’s harder to turn you away when you’re on their doorstep. I was often impressed that some of these extremely busy people would take the time to have a coffee with me and share some advice. One agency also took me on for a work experience project, which was helpful in getting a foot in the door and a feel for what it’s like to work for an agency. At the same time, I was applying for any and all marketing, sales and related roles in Perth.
Concurrently, I was working in retail for Nike and that taught me invaluable lessons in customer service and how a global brand like Nike engages its staff to become brand ambassadors.
In the end, a small brand design agency was willing to take a punt and they took me on board in an Account Management position. It was an un-advertised position and the start I desperately needed to kick-start my marketing career.
The Incredible Value of Mentoring
I’ve had a mix of informal and formal mentors ranging from friends, family, previous bosses, colleagues and formal mentors. I’ve also mentored a range of people throughout my career.
We often get stuck in a bubble in our own work environment and can’t always see the wood for the trees. The greatest value I’ve found from a mentor is the external, unbiased viewpoint as well as the fortunate opportunity to stand on their shoulders and learn from their experiences, successes and mistakes. If you prepare and ask the right questions and cultivate the right relationship with your mentor then they can be a sounding board to answer questions about your career, self-development, work challenges or life in general. They also generally become advocates for you and might look out for opportunities on your behalf.
Personally, they’ve been an extra hand on the rudder of my marketing career, offering guidance for career decisions and helping me navigate tricky situations.
As you can see, job hunting is very rarely easy – for anyone. If you’d like some extra help, get in touch on (08) 9266 7802 or via firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also drop in Mon-Fri 8.45am – 5pm, no appointment necessary!