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[BizCareers] Is my experience not targeted enough?

In this week's BizCareers column, we look at how mixed experience can help rather than hinder your career, as well as the difference between a cover letter and a motivational letter.
© adrian_ilie825 –
I have a question regarding the approach of a diverse portfolio, using myself as an example - I have a BTech in Graphic Design, as well as a few years of experience in that area. My design experience is very print-based.

Mid-way in my design career I deviated towards marketing as the opportunity presented itself to me. To back up my marketing experience, I enrolled in a Short Learning Certificate programme. My marketing experience varies from corporate in-house marketing, to activations, B2B channel marketing and event management.

I'm in a position where I'm looking for new employment, and am worried if prospective employers would be able to reconcile my diverse portfolio, as my experience does not fall neatly within a box or any job spec I have seen lately. - Silondile

Hi Silondile,

You really do have great experience; well done for exploring new avenues. Although you may think that your experience is poles apart, graphic design and marketing are in fact very similar. For both you need a sense of creativity, an ability to complete projects effectively and both are interchangeably used to promote a brand. So, to be honest, I think that you have progressed quite nicely in your career.

Areas that you could focus on with these sets of skills are client services management for an agency, as marketing manager with a hand in creative design, as production manager or events manager. I wouldn't worry at all that potential employers would be put off by your experience, if anything they would see it as advantageous.

Best of luck with your job search, please let me know how it goes.

Motivational vs cover letter

Is there a difference between a motivational letter and a cover letter? When and how do you use the two? - Acasia

Hi Acasia,

In short, yes, there is a difference between the two. Let's start with the cover letter. This is a short half to one page letter, explaining who you are and why you would be good for the role. This cover letter is often submitted together with your CV and is the first impression the receiver will have of you. The purpose of a cover letter is to summarise who you are in a quick glance before the reader delves into the actual CV.

A motivational letter on the other hand will be utilised after your interview. Once you have completed your interview it is a good idea to send an email thanking the interviewer for his time and then explaining why you feel you're the right person for the role and the company. Here you can use aspects that you learnt and discussed whilst in the interview. If the interviewer is on the fence as whether to shortlist you or not, this could assist in tipping the scales in your favour. If they are already convinced you're the right person it will merely solidify their decision and make them confident in hiring you.

I hope this answers your question.

Email your questions for publication on Bizcommunity to .

Please note:

  • To see your questions answered in the BizCareers Column, please word your recruitment, job or career queries carefully, paying special attention to spelling and grammar.
  • Answers and advice provided will be based on your questions/industry issues, so the more complete and the more accurate your questions, the better. Answers will only be provided through and not as direct responses from Juliette Attwell.
  • The answers provided to questions submitted by readers will be based on the content of questions themselves, current recruitment practices and current legislation in force at the time of writing, and are intended as advisory only and such advice is provided in good faith.
  • Readers' questions are submitted on the basis that neither Juliette Attwell, Recruit Group,, their management nor associates may be held liable in any manner whatsoever for any consequences that might result from the correspondence following the advice provided. Juliette Attwell, Recruit Group,, their management or associates shall under no circumstances be held liable for any error in responses provided in this column as to the references of the candidate, relating to his or her qualifications, skills, personality and experience; as to the compliance with the various legal and medical requirements relating to the performance, by the candidate, of his or her work, or any consequence whatsoever connected to the use of false/incomplete information.

About Juliette Attwell

Juliette Attwell is Head of Marketing & Operations at Recruitgroup. Recruitgroup has won Careerjunction Recruiter of the Year in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 as well as Fast Growth Business of the Year at the National Business Awards 2014. Juliette holds a Bcom Honours in Marketing Management and is the resident "agony aunt" on the BizCareers Column, she was also a finalist in the Top Young Executive at the National Business Awards 2014.
Sharon van Wyk
When are digital publishers (and by that I mean anyone who has a website, blogsite, social media pages or an app) going to understand that when advertising for online editors, digital editors, content producers or the like, they are dumbing down their product by looking for people who have SEO experience rather than people who can ACTUALLY WRITE and/or EDIT. I am sick and tired of being told that I don't have the required experience to edit banal and often factually incorrect schmalz and marketing vomit because I don't do SEO. I have edited digital magazines, run and contributed to successful blogsides, been involved in developing kick-ass apps and, by the way, as a sidebar, have been an award-winning journalist/writer/editor and all-round wordsmith for more than 30 years. I understand what SEO is, and frankly, it's a pile of poop. CONTENT is king, and to have great CONTENT you need a great writer, and, in some cases, an even greater editor. SEO can be added after the fact if it is needed. It doth not a good story make. Which is why there is so much dross out there littering the digital landscape.
Posted on 2 Jun 2014 15:25
Puzzled Journo
Some very strong words there. SEO is an easy skill to learn, so instead of complaining about it just read up and then answer the questions confidently. No matter how valuable your content is, if the search engines don't rate it because you don't have the catch phrases which people are actually searching for, then your content will never gain the traction it needs. SEO isn't always something you can apply afterwards, anymore than you can build a house and then add the cement later to the bricks. While I agree with you that good writing is vital, if you're writing in a digital space you can't argue against SEO as emphatically. Maybe the reason you're not being hired, however, is the fact that you're talking about your potential employers' workload as 'marketing vomit'? Employers have a habit of sensing disdain: if you're genuine in your interview, conversely, that will be detected and rewarded. Good luck!
Posted on 2 Jun 2014 19:53