The 3 critical ingredients to succeeding in Marketing and Communications

The 3 critical ingredients to succeeding in Marketing & Communications

I receive at least 30 unsolicited job applications a week. I try to meet at least three ‘would-be’ recruits every 10 days. And when I do, I am searching for the three critical ingredients that make for a great recruit for this industry. Without these ‘Golden Three’, you won’t make it. Here they are.

If you want a job in the marketing content and communications industry – in advertising, digital, PR and their sister disciplines – then follow these three golden rules when it comes to the all-critical job interview. Seriously – I get asked about what qualifications are needed, what attributes a CV must show, what clever research a candidate must do prior to the interview conversation. For me, they count, but not a huge amount. What I am looking for, before anything else, are these three powerful and critical traits:

1. Are you a 150 percenter?

This is all about attitude and approach. Are you passionate, committed, driven, relentless in your pursuit to be the best you can be? As Vidal Sassoon told me at lunch almost 20 years ago, ‘The only place success comes before work is in a dictionary’. Do you work hard on yourself? Do you ‘turn up’ for learning and growth? Will you give this your all? Now relax, this is not about demanding long hours; but it is about you delivering 150% positive intent and commitment.

2. Are you obsessed with the details?

Bill Marsteller defined ‘Excellence’ as: Clarity of Purpose plus Attention To Detail. Are you relentlessly focused on the detail – on getting the detail right? It is the platform for excellence. Spell my name, or title, or company name wrong on the envelope or email, and I’ll bin your approach immediately. If you can’t get that right, how can I ever trust you with a client?

3. Do you have good interpersonal communications skills?

Are you personable? Can you hold a conversation? Are you a better listener than you are a talker? Do you pay attention? Very basic stuff. But absolutely vital in this business.

These are the three golden ingredients to making it through to a role opportunity if you’re talking to me. I have met thousands of ‘would be’ recruits over 30 years, and it’s those with these traits that shine through. Of course work on your academic qualifications and your experience in the trenches, work your networks and do your research, but if you show up at my desk and you fail on any of these three, and that all counts for nothing. Harsh, but true.


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