Use your marketing degree in your home country
March 19, 2021
As more and more students return to their home country with a degree from abroad, it can get really competitive. How do you explain to a potential employer what makes you stand out from the crowd? Many applicants mention international exposure, an international network, or strong English skills as some of the strengths they bring back home. While these aspects are worth mentioning, they might risk sounding like buzzwords in the ears of a recruiter. But how else can you explain to an employer back home that your marketing degree from abroad is a good reason for hiring you?
Back to basics
When you are applying for jobs or preparing for an interview, it can be helpful to reflect on the fundamentals of your marketing degree or even the concept of marketing. This may seem like an obvious thing to do. And yet, narrowing down what you have learned over the past few years to a set of core skills can actually help you convey the value of your marketing degree in your home country. The thing about skills is that they can be applied in any country, and in any work setting - even if you find yourself having to readjust to the local culture.
An attitude of lifelong learning
Marketing has become fairly standardised as a result of globalisation. The importance and the use of social media, data analytics tools, algorithms, or even just the ability to work remotely are more or less the same wherever you work. Despite this standardisation, it is crucial for a marketer to be able to adapt to an industry that is continuously changing, especially because the field and practice of marketing relies heavily on technology. So it is worth showing an employer that you know how to keep up with current developments, whether that’s knowledge of social media innovations, or the most recent socio-cultural trend. The very fact that you have studied abroad can be used as a way to show that you are always interested in learning new things.
Research and analysis skills
Two core skills that will help you keep up with the latest trends are your research and analysis skills. This is especially relevant when you study and work in different countries. Even though the market or the cultural environment may be different, the fundamentals of marketing will be the same. For instance, any marketer will know that products cannot be marketed in the same way across the globe. But your skills will allow you to understand your target audience and to adapt a branding or a communication strategy to that audience, regardless of where you have studied and where you want to work.
This might be particularly relevant to emphasise to an employer if you have been away from your home country for a few years. Even if you have lost touch with trends back home, your skills will enable you to quickly familiarise yourself with the things you need to know. In fact, the experience of returning after spending some time away from your culture is most likely your biggest strength. According to Niraj Dawar, Professor Emeritus at Ivey Business School: “The biggest advantage for a marketer who has studied abroad is the ability to examine your own culture from the perspective of an outsider; someone who still understands the semiotics of the local culture”.
As a marketing graduate, you have solid knowledge and understanding of technology and of the Internet – whether that’s SEO, social media platforms or algorithms. Depending on which country you are returning to, and what the spoken languages in that country are, the terminology may be exactly the same. But whether the English acronyms or names have been exchanged for the corresponding local terms, the concept and function of these search engines, content management systems or the role that user interface design or user experience play in marketing remain equally important.
Soft skills are just as important to highlight as any of your technical skills. You need to be able to convey your ideas, marketing strategies, or your understanding of a target audience effectively – both to your team and to any potential clients. Recruiters in the creative industries are on the lookout for people with good customer service skills, good communication and negotiation skills, as well as solid project management skills, to name but a few. As an international student, your ability to communicate with people from different backgrounds can be useful, not just for big international companies, but also for any smaller local company that wishes to market its product to an international audience. Your experiences abroad will most likely also have taught you how to think outside the box, which is an important skill to have in any creative and innovative industry.
The wider value of marketing
Finally, if you’re wondering how your marketing degree from abroad can be valuable in your home country, think broad. Your degree, or rather, the skills you have acquired through your studies, can be useful in a variety of fields. Effective marketing is crucial for any organisation to succeed. In fact, a marketing brain is valuable for any organisation that is selling a product or service.
Written by Louise Breusch Rasmussen
Louise is a freelance journalist with a background in social anthropology. She is currently based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
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