How to make my SME skillset portable to a larger firm?
November 2, 2006 3:22 AM   Subscribe

I want to move into a marketing job in the financial services industry, where my strong analysis and writing skills and software competence will help me perform well. My problem - My background is all in marketing small firms with shoestring budgets and consequently few major impacts to brag about. How can I convince potential employers that my small-time experience can help their larger business/ how can I get into financial services marketing - temping? free work trials? or sticking to seeking a full time permanent position.

I have a degree in marketing but have spent relatively little of my career doing work that is similar to the way larger companies operate, and in business-to-business sectors rather than services. For example, I can do a basic website and edit images but not to the standard a designer would do it. I have created small newsletters using desktop publishing software but they didn't look as good as one properly designed, using a photographer etc - I haven't interacted with specialists like these either.
Most of my work has been of the DIY, zero-budget type and while I always contributed enough to justify my salary it's hard to have a major impact without having the resources to work with.

My major strength has been in writing - press releases, website content, presentation scripts, progress reports for clients, e-mail newsletters. I can also use Excel to a good standard for data analysis but have little experience of this, and have a professional work approach developed in my five years as a management consultant. Given all that, what is the best approach to get into the field I desire?

Should I -
* Apply speculatively for entry-level positions even though I am 36? I could cope with a low salary for a couple of years but would worry about this being perceived as an acceptable salary and always being behind salary-wise.
* Seek a short-term contract (say 3-6 months) which would feel less risky to the employer? I am sure there are plenty of admin things I could do to help and would demonstrate a good attitude.
* Seek a free work trial, like an internship if you will, but since I would be working for free I would want to be working on interesting projects that would further my CV and not just basic admin.

These are the three basic approaches I have come up with, but I would love to hear of any other ideas the MeFites out there have.
posted by AuroraSky to Work & Money (2 answers total)
Best answer: Use your writing skills to mock up some press releases, presentations, newsletters for each prospective employer (hint...create one of each and just switch out names/logos). Send them out with your resume as examples of your skills.

Worked for me in a similar situation. I think some marketing skills are universal regardless of company size/industry.
posted by punkfloyd at 4:09 AM on November 2, 2006

Focus your resume on the results you achieved, not the lack of polish on your work. As you said -- even your zero-budget, DIY stuff was able to justify your salary. Under each position you list, write out 2-3 ROI (return on investment) achievements of your work. Something like:

Really Small Design Firm -- Creative Specialist
- Redesigned the newsletter for Adopt-A-Puppy, resulting in a 36% increase in membership participation
- Built a template-based website for Shoestring Charity. Site recieved 32,000 pageviews in its first year, and enabled an additional $10,000 in donations.

You may think you didn't make "a major impact," but if you quanitfy the results of your work you'll see some impressive numbers. Business people aren't very interested in slick design and perfect typography choices -- they want websites and collateral that work and increase their bottom line.
posted by junkbox at 6:20 AM on November 2, 2006

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