"You’re looking for a job? I know someone …" – The right contacts are essential for a career. This is especially true when starting a career. If you don’t want to be fobbed off with underpaid entry-level jobs or long-term internships with no chance of advancement, you often have to rely on a good network. How to set it up and why networking makes sense for young professionals, two professionals explain to us.
"Talking is how people get together", as the saying goes. How true this sentence is can be seen in the marketing natives. Founded in 2011 by the DMVo (Dialog Marketing Association Austria) as a voluntary association for marketing students, a large community has since developed: Employers, industry decision-makers and, of course, students as well as young professionals meet regularly for networking events with the aim of sharing knowledge and making contacts. Benedikt Secker and Christoph Brenner, the two heads of Marketing Natives, explain to us what is important when networking:
More can be done together: networking tips for young professionals
How to build a network if you don’t have any work experience and don’t know anyone in the industry? Shouldn’t you send out an email first before approaching someone personally?
Christoph Brenner: Just sending out an email will be too little in many cases. Because there is no face and there was no conversation. In Austria, the personal is still very important, without meaning that in a judgmental way. Faces and personal memories are simply the most important factors. And an acquaintance can also be a multiplier. It may take a little time at first, but once it gets rolling, meeting new people goes very quickly. That’s exactly what we’re here for: to make contacts.
Benedikt Secker: Many students also believe that only the older, experienced people can be relevant for their career advancement. And totally forgetting that in five to ten to twenty years, their thirty fellow students may be the next generation of industry decision-makers. This also applies to childhood and school friends. All the people I spent my school days, my youth, my free time with could be important to me later in my career. The best networking tip for career starters is therefore: simply go out and meet people. At the end of the day, anyone can be relevant.
"Austria is just a vitamin B landscape."
Can you prepare for networking?
BenediktWhat you must not forget is to read trade journals and keep up to date with industry-specific information. Especially in marketing, there are some opinion leaders that are quite easy to follow on Facebook or Twitter when it comes to certain topics. Bloggers, Facebook groups, these are all ways to get a picture and exchange ideas. And such ways help me as a beginner to sensitize myself for the topics that are then relevant for me in my job.
ChristophThis knowledge helps you to network: If you are a bit informed about current topics, then you have a basis for conversation – especially when you talk to more experienced people.
Should a student even dare to talk to a marketing manager or agency head??
ChristophThere is a misconception that we want to clear up: Many students believe that marketing managers or CEOs don’t want to talk to students. This is not true.
"The smart decision makers get that the young are innovation drivers who can greatly advance the development of their company."
ChristophThis attitude: "I’m not going to talk to him now, because he won’t talk to me anyway." This is what the young have to put down.
Benedikt: There you have to show self-confidence.
Christoph: That’s also part of why we’re doing this, which is to create awareness: People, you are specialized in a field, you have a good, sometimes even long education, maybe already with practical experience during your studies – so don’t sell yourself short!
Would you also advise this with regard to salary??
BenediktWhen it comes to salary, we often experience two extremes: either excessive demands or too little self-confidence.
ChristophEspecially in our branch, i.e. advertising, marketing and communication, there is often a lot of money, there are several billion euros in circulation – in Austria alone. That also brings great responsibilities! As a top talent, you clearly have the right to demand a certain amount of money. That it is not immediately at the starting salary 3000 euros gross, is clear, but often you are fobbed off with 2000 or less and you should not let yourself offer that.
Networking events: Info, knowledge and job offers
You offer networking events for young professionals, students and employers. What do you experience there?
BenediktWe have an evening four times a year with interesting input on relevant topics with a marketing focus. You hear three to four presentations, enjoy a cool social program with catering, and can exchange ideas with like-minded people. In this way our events offer orientation and are both a platform for self-discovery and a stepping stone.
Christoph: We try to cover as many topics in marketing as possible, including employer branding.
So your events are also used as recruiting opportunities?
BenediktYes, the companies recognize the benefits: Through us they get to a very top, relevant target group, which is relevant for recruiting. We have motivated people from the communication and marketing industry and you can directly address the right ones right away.
ChristophThis is a target group that is very difficult to reach with traditional advertising. This target group expects companies to provide a user experience that is perfectly tailored to them. At our event, they get this experience, and that’s where a cooperation partner can position itself well.
How do your cooperations work and how do they benefit your members??
BenediktWe are an honorary association. That we must finance our events nevertheless somehow, is clear. But we do it in a way that makes sense for everyone.
"From us companies don’t get money, but a stage to present themselves to the right audience."
BenedictThat’s why we deliberately have only a few cooperation partners, but they really fit the bill: large, national and international companies and agencies such as A1, Peek& Cloppenburg, Infoscreen or the Austrian Post Office. So real greats in the industry – which we are also very proud of. So we can not only give knowledge to our community members, but also deliver good jobs at the same time. We also have a mentoring program. For example, if our members need help with social media, or an interview partner for their master’s thesis, etc., then we can establish direct contact with the right people.
About the Marketing Natives
Since 2011, the voluntary association has been committed to providing students and young professionals with knowledge transfer and networks that are useful when starting out on their careers. Mentoring programs and networking events cover current topics related to marketing and connect with interesting employers in the industry.
The Marketing Natives: Benedikt Secker, Julian Copony, Lisa Riepl, Christoph Brenner, Julia Jobst