Decent full-time first job vs. waiting for career-forming opportunities
January 28, 2014 2:30 PM   Subscribe

Hi helpful friends! I asked you how to get this amazing entry-level marketing job a few weeks ago and it worked! Well...I have a third interview! Thanks so much and expect a "how to do well in group interviews" question later :) I'm a business management student majoring in marketing. I'm pretty lucky for a soon-to-be-graduate...I have a couple of very exciting opportunities that could really shape my career. However, I'm confused as to which way to go.

My interests, special abilities and goals:

- I love marketing! The idea of coming up with successful marketing campaigns and strategies really thrills me

- I'd love to go into public relations at some point - representing a brand at events, forming key partnerships with other companies, essentially being a 'face' of a brand I believe in

- In the next 10 years I want to get a broadcast journalism/communications/PR master's degree

- I'm great with sales. Although it feels like the grunt work, I believe it's the other side of the same coin as marketing, and a good sales team is the basis of any successful company

- I love event marketing management and believe have a knack for it

I have final interviews with:

- A Huge Beer Company - Summer Sales Representative, Paid Internship - point-of-sales merchandising, helping brand ambassadors by providing support, setting up events, etc

- A Summer Experiential Marketing Coordinator position with Huge Marketing Company - similar to above, but working with various fortune 500 companies

- A Full-Time Job Offer with Big Recruiting company as a Technical Recruiter, with Opportunity for Promotion in 12- 24 months to Account Manager position - awesome starting salary/benefits and opportunity for career growth in Sales

The first two positions seem more in-line with my marketing major, which is really important to me and seems to fit my interests, abilities and goals. However, the last job pays much better, is a full-time job with benefits, clear opportunity for big-time growth in a big company. It's also a path for a great career in sales.

I also have a very tough situation at home and would like to move out by the summer. All the options are paid but the third's salary is much higher. I do have a loan I can use to help cushion me through hard times. I want to open up great opportunities based on my interests, abilities and goals for my future. I want to have a fun job I love that pays really well.

Which direction should I go? I know I haven't gotten ANY of these jobs yet, but I'm applying to more jobs like this - In general, does it make sense to take any decent full-time job once you graduate vs. struggling with internships in your chosen/dream field?
posted by rhythm_queen to Work & Money (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
At the interviews for the internships, ask how many interns get hired on as full-time employees. Sometimes that's pretty much guaranteed if you're not a total disaster. Sometimes, it rarely-to-never happens in which case you'd be wise to continue your job search through the summer.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:36 PM on January 28, 2014

Don't count your chickens, etc.--but personally, of these three, I'd take the agency job. The beer company gig sounds like a lot of shit shoveling (POS merchandising--i.e., setting up beer displays at liquor stores? Supporting brand ambassadors--i.e., driving the Swedish bikini team from event to event?). The recruiting gig sounds like something you could fall back into if you don't find another job, but wouldn't advance you in the directions you're looking to go.

Agency work is sexy work in marketing, and you'd be exposed to different clients with, it sounds, deep pockets. You want to leave this internship with something cool to talk about in your next interview--either put something in your portfolio or be able to say, "I was part of the team that worked on the $150M Snugglebudz campaign, including digital, print, mobile, and OOH, and I personally wrote two of the FB ads that had the highest CTRs."
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:47 PM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Just to clarify I think the marketing coordinator role for the huge marketing company will be similar for the beer company's - the beer company is using the experiential marketing companys services whereas with the second one im working directly for the experiential marketing company.

Youre probably right about shit shoveling. Just that there seems to be cool opportunities to advance...many senior directors at beer company started out with this internship apparently opens a lot of doors..
posted by rhythm_queen at 2:54 PM on January 28, 2014

You've only listed one job; the rest are seasonal positions. It's not ethical for you to work as an intern if you aren't a student.
If you're graduating, you need a job that pays the bills and builds up savings. Find a job, then find what you want as you live your life.

A loan isn't money in your pocket. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
posted by oceanjesse at 3:18 PM on January 28, 2014

Those are things they tell you when you aren't going to get paid well. Take the full time gig.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:23 PM on January 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

More and more companies have been offering internships to college grads as a way to test drive a candidate before hiring them into full-time positions. I know this is the case with marketing, advertising and PR firms in particular, as there is no shortage of people just like the OP that are eager to join the industry and are willing to entertain lower pay in order to get a foothold.

Regarding the question at hand, you have to weigh the need for financial security once whatever funding you have on hand runs out. Will your funds and the stipend you get from the internships be enough to keep you in food/clothes/apt until you land a full-time gig? Will the stipend be enough when the loans run out? If not, the recruiting opp may be the best bet. There's no reason that you couldn't continue to look for full-time positions in marketing while on the job at the recruiting company.

If you're comfortable with a little financial uncertainty and want to go after one of the internships, I agree that the agency gig sounds more promising. My experience is that entry level in-house marketing folks tend to get a lot more administrative work than their agency counterparts. The diversity of projects at the agency is also a great way to round out your experience and your resume should you decide or need to move on after the internship has come to an end.
posted by EarnestSchemingway at 3:33 PM on January 28, 2014

The first two jobs are not, I don't think, the kind of marketing you've been trained to do. The beer rep / "brand ambassador" type of work friends of mine have done in the past has been summer work only -- I'm not sure where it leads (maybe someone knows?); my understanding is that this sort of thing is slightly different from event management (titles in the last I am familiar with include "events coordinator").

Some of the jobs here (that is a Canadian site) might be more in alignment with your goals. You might also talk to your campus career centre and see what formal partnerships your school might have with employers.

The HR gig is money and would get you out of your parents' home, but it's a thing you could do any time. I think you will have to decide between an internship and money/moving out. (Or, do an internship, work nights, and find roommates.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:42 PM on January 28, 2014

If you ultimately want a career in marketing, I would strongly consider the second option. If it's with a large marketing company, the foot in the door, contacts, etc. could be quite valuable even if the job is only temporary. This is the time of your life when it's generally worth taking a risk on an opportunity, especially if it might help you advance in your career.

While the third option might seem tempting, keep in mind that recruiting is the sort of job that many people try and wash out of very quickly. Like most sales jobs, it's a highly stressful grind and the competition is ferocious.
posted by seymourScagnetti at 3:59 PM on January 28, 2014

Take the real job! They always tell you they're going to hire you, etc. in internships. Summer internships are a dime a dozen. Take the real job, and next year, you can try again for an internship with some savings and experience and tell them, "I have real job offers waiting for me if you don't hire me."

It will look better on your resume, too.
posted by quincunx at 4:08 PM on January 28, 2014

Will it really look better to have a largely unrelated fulltime job on my resume when applying for marketing gigs? (Like ad /pr / cool startup agencies)

Im only asking because theres a good chance ill get the recruiting(cross all fingers and toes) and if so a 90% chance ill take it. But i dont want to screw myself over in the long term with an unfulfilling job.
posted by rhythm_queen at 4:21 PM on January 28, 2014

It's not going to look better to have an unrelated full time job than a marketing internship if your ultimate goal is to work in marketing.
posted by seymourScagnetti at 5:39 PM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

A technical recruiting job will not help you get a job in marketing.
posted by BabeTheBlueOX at 5:39 PM on January 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

Given your goals, I would suggest essentially anything other than the recruiting position. That said, I bet you can do better than the first two positions.
posted by grudgebgon at 4:11 AM on January 29, 2014

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