To the recent graduates or soon-to-be graduates, I hope this message finds you all well.
After much thought and consideration, it is time to discuss the not-so-glamourous parts of post-grad life. To begin, this post is coming from a place of reflection and warning to prepare others of the scams waiting outside of college—something not many classes even touch on— that I see as extremely important to learn.
Out of respect for the company, I will not be mentioning names in hopes they recognize their transgressions and work to do better in the future. There is no room for growth if zero chances are given in the first place.
As up-and-coming public relations professionals, we have all learned from day one transparency is key. It is key in your personal life. It is key in your professional life and everywhere in between. So, why not in the job application process? After graduation, I was convinced landing my first job in the communications field would be no problem. I applied myself in school, worked meaningful internships for three years and did my absolute best to build connections in the field. In early June, I packed my bags and moved to Denver where I would begin a new chapter of my young adult life— the post-graduate dream.
No later than two weeks after graduation, I accepted an offer with a marketing company (or so they called themselves) as a Marketing Specialist. Of course, I was thrilled. However, I quickly realized this job posting was a false advertisement and I was their newest victim.
The Marketing Specialist job description falsely played on account management, campaign management and client relations duties in order to excite new graduates who are eagerly looking for work titled, “Marketing Specialist, New Grads Wanted!” Do not be fooled by these falsely motivated welcoming committees; these descriptions were nowhere near actual job performances. They should be taken down immediately in order to accurately represent the work being done and prevent any more graduates from being scammed.
For example, “Manage Advertising Promotions – Promotional Materials, Public Relations, Merchandising” was completely inaccurate. The employers enticed me by wrongly prompting that my public relations background would be a great asset on the team, playing into my eagerness to learn more on account management and to refine my writing skills. However, on my first day the team piled into a room accompanied by loud music in the background only to learn how to be a door-to-door salesperson for cable packages. Their main goal was to show future businessmen and women how to craft the “perfect pitch” to make the customer believe and buy the package— factual or not.
In all, the company crossed a major ethical line in the “marketing” world by failing miserably to accurately communicate to potential employees the realities of this position: working six days a week as a door-to-door salesperson for DirecTV and internet bundles at Sam’s Club, Walmart and door-to-door. The company certainly has a high turnover rate due to its failure to accurately disclose job information for positions such as the “Marketing Specialist.”
Typically, these types of postings have the following characteristics:
To the businesses preying on the innocence and eagerness of new graduates: That’s bad business. In order to build an established and loyal team, you must start with transparency at step one. Do not prompt or prey with false job information and shame on these establishments for failing to adhere to standard business and personal ethics.
To graduates and soon-to-be graduates: It is important to hold these businesses accountable for their poor judgement of actions and begin to learn from this. You are not alone.
Thank you all and I hope this helps to avoid future graduates the embarrassment and stress of these situations.
Madison Job, 2018-2019 Michigan State University PRSSA president, is a May 2019 graduate from MSU Honors College, where she learned to hold storytelling near and dear to her heart. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism and minor in public relations.
In pursuit of stepping out of her comfort zone, Madison moved from Michigan to Denver shortly after graduation to pursue her passion and continue living and learning in a new place she can call home.