• Chris Le’cand-Harwood

Covid-19: The Great Reset in Early Careers Marketing

Updated: Jun 28

Use your marketing to help students transition from education to work (examples from brands) Written by: Chris Le’cand-Harwood, NGTU Create Associate [Content Strategy & Production Lead]

We were delighted to attend the ISE Student Recruitment Conference in Brighton this June. We hosted a panel discussion called “Covid-19: The Great Reset in Early Careers Marketing.” Covid forced early careers talent teams to change the way they market to students and hire candidates. And there were some great example of employers using their marketing to truly help students take that first step in their career with confidence. Help and inspire students with your content first, sell second! This what employer content marketing it all about.

I was joined by Natasha Holland, Brand Manager for Fast Futures (part of Avado Learning); Rowan Marriott, Head of Resourcing at Cygnet Health Care; and Alika Lee, one of our Ambassadors and a Solicitor Apprentice.

In the panel discussion we shared some great examples of employers doing things differently with their marketing. Didn’t have chance to make notes? Not to worry, here are those examples we discussed.

First, let’s set some context [for those who were at the session]

It’s 2022. Generation Covid are leaving education and entering work with challenges not seen for generations. Employers are facing their own challenges - vacancies are at an all-time high, they’re struggling to get the attention of students, and they’re even being ghosted by candidates.

Something needs to be done. But the responsibility sits more with the employers than the students. Covid has forced organisations to think and do differently. But as students face an uncertain decade, employers shouldn’t go back to old habits.

This should be just the start of a Great Reset in Early Careers Marketing. This is about building a new way of engaging students for this decade and beyond. We see a future that is about helping and inspiring students. It’s not about us. It’s about them.

Now for those content examples

Accenture LIVE

This is pitched as a digital campus housing a big catalogue of live and on-demand videos and podcasts. Students can watch talks about a vast range of things: unpacking technology and consulting; advice of finding an internship, applying for jobs and standing out in the recruitment process; and a deep dive into innovation and how Accenture staff are changing the game everyday. And then there’s the more usual suspects such as life at Accenture and their job routes.

You can pop over to this digital campus here.

Lloyd’s Banking Group - Feel Good Fest

The Feel Good Fest is a platform full of content that’s packaged up in a virtual festival. It’s not quite the metaverse yet but it is full of videos and articles for students and parents to connect, relax and explore.

There are playlists to get your head in a happy place, there are health and wellbeing videos, competitions and quizzes, and there’s advice for parents wanting to help their kids. It’s a big piece of work and it’s won awards.

Get your boots on and go to the festival here.

HubSpot Articles for Entry Level Positions

HubSpot is one of the big marketing software companies who create thousands of pieces of content a year to help marketers do their job. So it’s no surprise that they have produced content to help people starting out in marketing.

Their articles are big, with some up to an 11 minute read! They cover topics such as how to leverage your arts degree for a career in tech and why all new graduates should consider a customer support job. This all complements the more standard “working here” content you see on career sites. Take a look here.

IBM Tech Talent Newsletter

On my podcast, the Employer Content Marketing Pod, I chatted with Mariano Aragunde who is part of the Global Talent Marketing Team at IBM. We chatted about one of his popular articles on LinkedIn titled: “Finally a good candidate newsletter.”

What happens most of the time when someone signs up to a Talent Pool? They get sent job opportunities. Mariano is on a mission to change this and he creates newsletters for candidates that go far beyond just advertising their job opportunities.

His newsletter has had benchmark-busting open and click thru rates because of this approach. Emails include interesting findings from IBM Research team. From free courses, to truly useful career advice. Code repos, wallpapers, great IBMer stories. They even share non-IBM content like cool Linux distros to check out. Because why not? If it's interesting, it's in.

You can listen to my chat with Mariano here.

And here’s some bonus IBM content - these are great employee stories that actually tell a story with stacks of personality.

“Meet Mombo”

‘'The Mainframe Kid”

Cygnet Health Care

Rowan talked about the challenges at Cygnet Health Care and what his team are doing to serve content to potential candidates. This content-first approach is an antidote to the Spray & Pray School of Job Boarding. Podcasts, videos and online events have helped people take the next step in their career whether at Cygnet or somewhere else.

You can listen to the episode here.

The Goat Agency Vlog

The Goat is a social media and influencer agency who are inspiringly dedicated to vlogging. They have a team dedicated to filming the day to day in the agency and capturing opinion pieces and social media insights. It’s particularly helpful and entertaining for students who want a truly authentic view into the world of work. And this dedication has paid off: it’s their main source of applications, it engages employees and it’s generated hundreds of thousands of pounds in new business.

I chatted with one of the Co-Founders, Harry Hugo, on my podcast about why they set up the podcast and what it means to the people who join them. Listen here.

And check out the vlog here.

Civil Service Fast Stream There are misconceptions about working in the Civil Service and this impacts diversity in the organisation that influences so many aspects of every day life. So giving that real “in the shoes” feel of working there was important. So they got an influencer who had a big following on YouTube (261k subscribers) involved in a campaign. Vee Kativhuv created a video called “A Day in the Life of a 23 year old Civil Servant on Fast Stream”. It has over 40,000 views (and counting) and gives that all important unboxing of life as a Civil Servant. Here’s the video The importance of doing a job you love (it’s possible!) The Diary of a CEO podcast with Steven Bartlett You may know Steven Bartlett- he’s the founder of a marketing agency called Social Media Chain and now a Dragon on Dragon’s Den. His podcast episode “How to find ultimate fulfilment at work” with Marcus Buckingham, and it goes a long way in showing how having the right job means to you life and others. Marcus is one of the world's most in-demand career experts and the author of several best-selling business books including, ‘First, Break All The Rules’, ‘Nine Lies About Work’ and ‘Love + Work’. He is known as the world’s most prominent researcher on strengths and leadership at work, and today leads research at the ADP Research Institute. Here’s the episode

BT Skills for Tomorrow

This isn’t all about careers but it is focussed on developing your skills for tomorrow (the clue is in the name!). From learning about online safety for parents to building your own brand, BT have clearly put time and effort into this content programme. BT is about “supporting customers to live, work and play together better” so it’s definitely more than a marketing message.

Find out more here.

Barclays Life Skills

Barclays have been running their Life Skills initiative for years and the homepage says it all: “Giving millions of people the skills, knowledge and confidence they need for work with tools, tips and learning resources.”

Take a look at the raft of content and tools here.

Personal branding > Employee Advocacy

Every employee can play their role but it goes further than Employee Advocacy - it’s about personal branding. It’s more than just sharing content from recruitment marketing, it’s about raising your individual profile with colleagues, peers and future candidates. Ben Francis, Founder & CEO of Gymshark was brought up as an example and his team follows his lead.

Pop over to LinkedIn here.

And our very own Conor Cotton (Managing Director of Not Going To Uni)

Conor does the same with his content on social media, including his monthly vlog! He shares his life as a leader in the early careers space and is the antidote to hustle life content!

Take a look here.

We’ve picked a variety of examples, some not from the early careers space but they’ll help you see the potential for you and your organisation.

Want to be a future panel member?

We’re on a mission to change the way young people engage with brands and discover their future careers. Discussion, collaboration and action is the only way this will happen.

If you’re interested in become a panel member for future in person and online discussions then sign up here.

If you want to have a conversation with us then get in touch and we can see how we can help just email

And watch this space as we’ve been working on some exciting content projects with clients!

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