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Personal statement advice: marketing

If you're applying for a marketing degree and can't sell yourself in your personal statement, it’s not a good sign! Here’s how to make sure you get it right…

How you package yourself is important, but the bottom line is that you need to have done your market research and got your product right.

It’s no good trying to hide behind waffle, platitudes or fancy words that don’t actually mean a lot, it’s what lies behind your words that matters.

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    Be honest and down-to-earth

    An honest, well-researched and engaging statement that shows you understand what you’re applying for, and that you’ve got relevant skills or experiences to offer, will usually fit the bill.

    Write reflectively about your experience. That could be what you’ve gained from your Saturday job at a supermarket, the book you’ve just read on branding, the charity event you recently helped to organise, a business project you just undertook on your BTEC or A-level course or why your Young Enterprise company didn't make a profit.

    Your examples don't have to be high-flying. Even shadowing the marketing director of a multi-national company won't impress if you don't explain what you learned from it. See our guide to making your work experience count in your statement for more tips. 

    Bournemouth University highlights that demonstrating qualities like creativity, an understanding of the marketing and communications industry, your ability to work in a team as well as independently, good presentation and communication skills and computer literacy will help to give marketing students the edge.

    Show your enthusiasm for marketing

    Sheffield Hallam University expects you to demonstrate 'an interest in and awareness of business / marketing, or some level of practical experience'. Similarly, Leeds Metropolitan University’s sport marketing degree tutors will be scanning your statement for evidence of the 'personal attributes, experience and / or commitment to the area of study that will stand you out from the crowd'.

    Note the word 'or' in those examples. Whilst it’s great if you've got some relevant work experience, it's not essential and there are other ways you can show that you’ve got what it takes.

    University of Bath says its management with marketing degree applicants should be able to demonstrate experience of working with others and relevant transferable skills, but that this could be achieved, for example, through your involvement in the running of a society or a position of responsibility at school or college if you haven't had direct experience.

    York St John University flags the value of your reflections on any relevant workshops or seminars you've attended, or how you've shown leadership and teamwork skills through project work or awards such as Duke of Edinburgh.

    Marketing personal statement dos and don'ts

    Thanks to De Montfort University among others for these sound tips.
     

    Do:

    • Focus on why you want to study marketing and pursue a career in it our marketing subject guide is a good starting point for this.
    • Demonstrate a strong understanding of business, the role you feel marketing plays in the success of any business operation or an awareness of how marketing is responding to a changing world.
    • Highlight any marketing or business operation you’ve been involved in yourself.
    • Comment on something interesting you've found in newspapers, industry-related magazines, by following key industry figures on social media or when meeting business professionals face-to-face.
    • Write something revealing about what you’ve learned from work experience or a part-time job where you've made some relevant observations or demonstrated skills or commitment.
    • Include examples from enterprise schemes at school or college. This can be just as valuable as real workplace experience, as long as you say something interesting about it. Don’t worry if you weren’t successful: it’s ok to discuss what went wrong as well as what went right, provided you learned from it.
    • Give them a balanced, all-round picture of yourself as a potential student: your achievements, evidence of your key strengths and qualities, a project you’ve undertaken or the subjects you’ve found genuinely interesting and how they’ve enhanced your potential as well as your interests outside the academic world.


    Don't:

    • List everything you’ve done.
    • Exaggerate or make something up, as it may come back to haunt you.
    • Over-sell yourself. Write in a calm tone and give clear, concise examples of activities you’ve been involved in.
    • Go back more than two or three years. Keep it recent.
    • Say you’re good at something. Demonstrate it instead.

    More personal statement advice: see our guides on 10 things to include and how to sell yourself


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