Marketing and related fields have a weird tendency to attract misleading job listings, especially at the entry level. This phenomenon tends to be much more prevalent in marketing than other fields. For example, I don’t think paralegal applicants ever interview for a job that turns out to be selling knives door-to-door. Unfortunately, many companies have loose definitions of marketing, and their jobs end up being a waste of time. It is very important to be able to filter these positions out in order to find quality internship and career opportunities.
Here are some red flags to watch out for when job hunting:
1. The phrase “Brand Ambassador” is used
This was one of my first “marketing” jobs, and I got it the summer before my senior year of college. The main responsibility of a Brand Ambassador is to generate leads for the sales side of a company. My job entailed going to fairs and asking people for personal information so sales reps could cold-call them (under the guise of a contest). I don’t want to name names but this company was in the basement finishing industry and their mascot was a pink jungle cat. So after many hours of low pay and no professional development, I moved on. Brand Ambassador jobs are a fine way to make money over a summer or in between classes, but they offer almost no real worthwhile experience for a creative job seeker.
2. Company reviews are polarizing
There are some great resources out there to check if jobs are legitimate, and one of my favorites has to be job review websites. They are easily the best place to find out if the company you are applying to is worth your time. The companies that are scams will have both over-the-top positive reviews and very negative ones, with nothing in between. I found this example on glassdoor.com. All of the positive reviews are very generic and say the same things, implying that the same person wrote them. Any company that possibly hires review writers is not worth your time.
3. The pay includes commission
The nature of marketing is to compliment sales. Some companies ignore this fact and simply refer to entry-level sales jobs as marketing positions. Marketing professionals should never be paid in commission because they don’t sell a product, they sell a brand. In fact, if a job description even contains the word “sales,” it probably isn’t a marketing job.
4. The job listing is on a database
This is not a real red flag as much as it is a need for caution. There are a lot of great listings on sites like indeed, monster, and sometimes even craigslist. However, there are many more bad listings to sift through on these sites than directly on a companies website.
There is an exception to this rule: for a database that only has legitimate job listings click here.