When it came to studying marketing, Sarah Haefling knew it didn’t just end with assignments and grades. Discover how her journey into marketing lead her to new and exciting opportunities she didn’t think were possible.
I was interested in marketing before I even fully understood all that it entailed. I had always been compelled by companies' branding techniques and took notice of promotional campaigns no matter what the product was. I enjoyed making displays and raising awareness for causes and organizations before I had even realized what I was doing.
During university, I tried to get involved in anything and everything marketing. I joined clubs related to marketing, volunteered in many different sectors, worked as a social media intern for a local business, and anything else I could do to gain experience. I also worked as an experiential marketer for many leading companies and it all started with a message on LinkedIn! Upon completing my post-degree program in marketing and truly becoming involved in the industry, my passion for marketing just enhanced.I am currently the Community Outreach Officer at a not-for-profit organization, which includes running their social media, event planning, community engagement and creating/executing marketing campaigns.
One of my biggest inspirations is Arlene Dickinson and not just because I was able to meet her! In organizing a thought-leader event, I achieved meeting one of the biggest names in marketing out there: Arlene Dickinson. Her story truly inspires me: how she came from having nothing; no money, no education, and worked her way up to where she is today. If you’ve ever read her book “All In” then you’ve heard her story about how she was just looking for any job to pay the bills, ended up at a marketing agency with no experience, and in the next nine years she ended buying out the whole company – now one of the top marketing agencies in the country. She is the perfect example of how hard work and dedication, truly pay off. I also admire how she always stays true to herself in her business, no matter what.
Not only was it a sold-out event and overall great success, but I had the opportunity to meet her backstage and be featured in her Instagram story!
I love the creativity that marketing brings out in people – and brings to people! I love that the marketing industry is always changing and always exciting. Every day is always different in the marketing world! I enjoy staying up to date on the current marketing trends and learning the best way to utilize them in my work.
For example, I’m interested to see how content is going to continue to play a role in marketing and in businesses' success. Content is everything nowadays, and it’s critical to stand out from all the clutter. It’s essential for engaging consumers, creating brand loyalty, and it will be interesting to see how it will be used to market to the next generation. With content, also comes influencers, which is another trend I’m excited to continue following and see how it impacts the industry.
One of the biggest challenges that I have found is having the required amount of relevant experience when applying to jobs. Even entry-level positions sometimes require years of experience so I had to find a way to showcase how the experience I have relates to the position and how my skills could be beneficial to the company. One way I did this was by creating a professional portfolio and taking it to every interview. I included assignments I had done in school, previous work projects I had completed during summer placements, and any relevant volunteer materials.
What’s my dream job? I hope to one day own my own marketing agency and become an industry leader in the marketing world, bringing some of the most exciting and impactful marketing strategies to life. I aspire to create eye-capturing campaigns that will be taught in marketing courses – for good reasons of course!
My biggest piece of advice for marketing students and young professionals is to get involved. It sounds like cliché, but you’ll never know unless you’ll try. There have been many moments when I thought there was no way I would get the job or I was unsure about joining a new club, but every time I was glad I put myself out there. I never want to look back and regret not taking a chance.