Marketing positions require a combination of communication skills, creativity, critical thought and organization. When applying for a marketing position, whether entry-level or CMO, you must prove that you operate at a high level in each of these categories. The more you stand out from the long list of straight-line candidates, the more you will create a presence in the mind of your interviewer.
Know the Target Market
Marketers must be prepared every day to attack the market as it relates to a specific industry or target segment. Preparedness is a large part of a job interview, and you should make it clear to your interviewer that you understand the goal and how to achieve it. For example, it is nice to mention facts about your potential employer's business, but it is better to provide some analysis of its current marketing campaigns and how they positively affect you. In addition, research background data, such as the origins of the company and its movement in recent years. Determine where the company is headed and what role its marketing plays in getting it there.
Show Your Skills
Many marketing professionals have a portfolio that comes along with them everywhere they go. The collection typically consists of past achievements; awards received in recognition of your work; and high quality impact pieces of either web or print marketing initiatives. It is meant to display your creative thinking ability and show the interviewer how you think and why, while highlighting the positive results of your efforts for other companies. If you have pieces that directly relate to your potential employer, that's great. If not, lay out a tangible connection that shows how you will transfer your skill set to a new challenge.
Make the Pitch
The interview is a perfect time to demonstrate your ability to coerce by selling yourself. If a candidate cannot market herself, the odds are she will not be able to market the company or service in question. Marketing yourself requires confidence in your abilities and the skill to read and respond to the interviewer. Knowing your audience is the key to all successful marketing, and it's no different when it comes to your job interview. Probe a bit with a few questions, take in your surroundings and play to the crowd. If you can manage to deliver the message the interviewer is looking for, you are a long way toward hooking the consumer and making the sale.
Use your interview time to reveal the ways that you would help to improve the current message or create one that addresses deficiencies in the company's marketing efforts. Make your suggestions in a delicate and positive way, because you don't want to criticize the marketing director for the work her department is putting out. For example, instead of saying that the current promotion is missing the mark with the college-age consumer, try saying that you've been researching an approach that you think may pay some dividends for the company as a supplement to any existing campaigns. You want to make friends, and show your ability not to make enemies and create conflict.
Relate Your Experience
If you are applying for a marketing position and come from a seemingly unrelated background, use the interview to show how your past experiences were all based in marketing. Let's say you have worked in retail for years and want to make the switch to a marketing position. Evaluate your experience and reword your descriptions of it so that any role you played in promotion is highlighted. For example, play up your participation in merchandising, retail floor layouts, customer promotions and interaction with suppliers. These skills are all valid and useful parts of the marketing game. A well-rounded applicant who understands how her own skills relate to marketing can open the eyes of the interviewer who may otherwise have missed the connection.