I have been interning in the marketing department here at ASPE since March of this year and am in my transitionary period of becoming a full-time Marketing Specialist. As a recent graduate of North Carolina State University (go Wolfpack!), there has been a lot learned in that seemingly short amount of time in which I emerged as a young professional from a college student. A college education can only take you to a certain point in your career; but real-world experience in a professional environment is an entirely different playing field from what is taught in a university classroom–especially in the realm of marketing.
Out of all the things I have picked up on and made mental note of, one thing in particular stands out in my mind as being most vital: You are a direct representation of and reflection on the business, brand, company, or organization you are a member of. You are a physical walking, talking, breathing advertisement. And, most importantly, your job as a marketer (whether you actually work in the marketing field or not) is not left behind when you leave the office.
I was first exposed to this concept early in my college career when I became a member of my sorority. I had joined a national and campus-wide organization, something bigger than myself, and it was something I always kept in mind. We came out in droves to every campus event and competition and charity function dressed as and acting like respectable young women. We were reminded of proper etiquette to have when in the presence of, well, just about everyone. Our Facebook and Twitter statuses, pictures, and postings were monitored by each other for anything that may have shed the slightest bit of negative light on us. It was important to all of us to portray our sorority in a positive, reputable manner at all times. This was the first real dose of marketing I had ever been given.
These lessons were carried over with me after I left college. I am thankful for being part of an organization that taught me a lot of what I needed to know prior to entering the “real,” professional world. Unfortunately, I come across many young (and not-so-young) professionals who may not grasp their roles as being a company’s marketer entirely. Here are just a few little things to keep in mind when your whereabouts are not necessarily within your company’s confines:
1. You may not be in uniform or office attire, but you are still associated with your company.
Whether you’re at a social gathering, networking event, or just out on the town with your friends, people are always watching or listening. Upon entering the professional world, the number of people you will meet will grow exponentially. You will make connections who will in turn have connections. The professional world is always smaller than you think. With that being said, conduct your dress, words, actions, behaviors, and mannerisms appropriately. Even when you’re not necessarily in a professional setting, it is still important to take on the role of a professional when in public.
2. Your presence online is way more prominent than you think.
We’ve all heard the horror stories. People getting fired for a tweet, others not getting hired because of a Facebook photo. We shrug it off in passing because there’s no way that could happen to us. Right? Wrong. In this world taken over by technology, it doesn’t take much digging by the average person to uncover more public information about us online than we thought possible. Is this information helpful or hindering? That is up to you. My general rule of thumb is if you don’t want your mama reading it or seeing it, don’t post it, regardless of how many privacy settings you have turned on. Also be mindful of your opinions posted online. Though they may be your own and not the views of your company, others still associate YOU with your company.
3. Ask yourself: Would you hire you as a representative of your company?
Honestly ask yourself this. Pay attention to the things you do and say next time you’re in public. Go back through your Facebook photos, status updates, and comments, Blogspot posts, and tweets on Twitter. Would you still want yourself to represent your company? Chances are, if you would be iffy about hiring yourself, others would be, too. Part of becoming a professional is taking on responsibility for more than just yourself. Your company and career are just two of those things you, as a professional, are now responsible for. Whether you knew it before this post or not, you are a marketer for your company. Be a good one!