The career ambitions of marketers vary widely from professional to professional. Some want to jump onboard an innovative startup and help it grow from the ground up. Others have their eyes set on an office chair in a famous ad agency. However if you were to poll everyone in our industry together, perhaps the single most desired destination would be in the marketing department of a large, prestigious business like a Fortune 500 Company. However, winning a spot in one of these large entities can be incredibly difficult. Marketers who have dreams of working in a large corporation but are struggling to get their foot in the door have an alternative route that often goes unconsidered: contract marketing staffing.
What Makes Landing a Job in a Big Business So Hard?
There are plenty of factors that make a big brand a desirable destination for a marketing career, either as a short-term pitstop or long-term growth investment:
- Stability: Large organizations tend not to go through drastic, sudden changes and provide relatively good job security compared to most other employers of marketers.
- Being part of something big: Big business typically means big budgets. Many marketers find the idea of working in a department that’s working on a lot of various marketing initiatives all at once exciting. Additionally, they can be exposed to a greater amount of strategies and ideas, learn new skills, and may even find a new career calling.
- Pay and benefits: There are some exceptions, but marketers at a large brand are often able to earn better compensation than their counterparts at smaller firms or agencies.
- Long ladders to climb: A large department has lots of positions at a lot of different levels, from entry-level interns to the C-suite. An ambitious and talented professional who plays his or her cards right and works hard should have plenty of opportunities to move their way up the business over time.
- Resume building: Whether it’s justified or not, there is some prestige to having played a key role in the marketing of a large business. Even having the name of an easily recognizable and well-liked brand on your resume can be enough to earn you consideration for future jobs that you might otherwise be overlooked for.
- Personal satisfaction: Marketers working for large businesses have the uncommon pleasure of getting the opportunity to see their work “out in the wild;” on billboards, prime-time TV commercial slots, popular social media accounts, in mailboxes and more. Few other brands can afford to have quite as wide of a reach to distribute their marketers’ messaging and hard work.
But whatever your motivation, the fact remains; even though a large organization might hire many marketers, becoming one of their numbers is incredibly difficult. Landing a good job in the marketing department of such a business can be nearly impossible, and only a lucky few will even be considered for a position.
- High competition: Large organizations can receive a staggering amount of applications for all their open job postings, often hundreds or thousands per day. Some of those will be highly-qualified competition, while many more will be hardly qualified for any marketing job at all. Regardless, your application will be a drop of water in a flood–standing out and getting the attention of the HR professional on the other side of the system is a game of chance.
- Complicated application processes: If we’re entirely honest, the application process and candidate experience for most large organization is simply not very good. Anyone who’s recently applied to jobs at a large company can probably attest to the user-unfriendly, time-consuming systems most big businesses use to process candidates for their open jobs. Applying to even one is a painstaking process, and applying to multiple jobs can be downright maddening.
- Connections matter more: Because of the large volume of low-quality candidates that apply to their jobs every day, many marketing departments of large organizations leverage their staff’s networks to bring in new talent that can be vouched for by a trusted employee. If you don’t already have a connection inside that company, you’ll be overlooked entirely for most such roles.
Contract Marketing Staffing: Another Way In
Fortunately for marketers, there’s another way besides the traditional job application process to get hands-on experience in the marketing departments of these large organizations: working as a contractor through marketing staffing.
Not familiar with staffing work and what it could mean for you? Click here to read more.
Nearly every large company makes use of third-party staffing of some kind. Not all have large enough marketing operations that justify marketing staffing, but those that do often rely heavily on this talent resource to execute critical projects or bring in sorely needed expertise quickly. These contractors often get to work on-site, alongside the organization’s marketing team. They get a firsthand look at how things work, learn what the company’s culture is like, and make connections with key individuals and decisions makers within the organization.
The marketing staffing firms that connect contractors with clients are often much more accessible than the large businesses they serve. Because their jobs aren’t directly attached to the huge, widely recognized brands there’s typically less competition for their available positions. And since they’re specialized in marketing, they’ll be better able to appreciate your abilities than the resume parsing software and HR professional assigned to a given corporate job.
Though a contract with one of these large companies typically has a fixed amount of time (often 3 months to a year, in our case), it can lead to longer-term opportunities within the organization.
- Long-term contract extensions: some companies love the performance of a specific contractor but for whatever reason prefer not to take him/heron full-time. They’re often able to arrange an extension of many months or even years with the professional and their marketing staffing firm.
- Contract-to-hire: Some positions, known as “contract to hire” or “contract to perm,” are created with the expectation that the individual will be converted to a full-time employee at the end of the contract as long as he/she fulfills their responsibilities satisfactorily during that time.
- Opportunities down the road: A charismatic marketing contractor that performs well and makes a good impression at his/her client has the opportunity to connect with and impress coworkers and managers at the company. Those employees are likely to remember you when new full-time openings arise, and can serve as incredibly valuable references when applying for jobs at the company.