Justine Bartholomew is a Sr. Marketing Consultant and 529 Marketing Lead at Hartford Funds. Justine is a strategic marketing professional with her expertise falling in the digital arena in both B2B and B2C marketing.
Here is what Justine had to say when we asked her about the marketing mindset and achieving your career goals:
GenHERation®: What is the most important soft skill and hard skill you utilize on a daily basis?
Justine Bartholomew: Soft skill is definitely communication. Whether it’s sending an email, running meetings, or working with different departments, communication is key. Talking and writing are both equally important. Being able to write emails is critical in my role, so the hard skill would be writing. A lot of people who are successful really do have concise emails, and they know how to run meetings with agendas and action items coming out of the meeting. Refining those writing skills will set you up for success. One skill that has been increasingly important in marketing is data analysis. 70% of marketing for some roles is data analysis.
GenHERation®: How can you best market yourself during an interview?
Bartholomew: Leading up to it you have to be prepared and be confident in talking about yourself. Then research the company and what they’re looking for. Relate your answers to what the company is looking for. It is competitive out there, so you need to set yourself apart. When you put in work beforehand and are specific with your answers, you will be taken more seriously. If they ask you about a project you did well on, focus on marketing if you are going for a marketing role. If you are going for a social media role, talk about a project that involved social media, so they know you are looking to add value to the company and that specific role.
GenHERation®: As a young professional, what three components should make up your digital footprint?
Bartholomew: LinkedIn is key. Have your LinkedIn up to date, even when you don’t have that much experience. It drives connections when you start networking. Also, everyone has social media, so clean it up and make it professional. Make sure you would want someone to see it if they google you. Finally, and this is a personal preference, but have an online portfolio. When I graduated, I had a binder portfolio (now you can have a digital portfolio through a free website), and that is a standout tool to have when you are interviewing to set yourself apart. It is a great reference point that shows your work, projects, and calls out the great skill sets that you have.
GenHERation®: What actions can you take to develop your strategic thinking skills?
Bartholomew: Especially early on in your career, the most important thing is listening. Make it a point to hear from different types of people. Whatever the topic is, it’s important to absorb perspectives from as many avenues as possible. As you are actively listening, make sure you are thinking of good questions to ask—not just yes or no questions. Don’t be afraid to ask them! It takes time to build strategy skills in the workplace and you have to put in the work.
GenHERation®: How should you prepare for situations in which you will be asked to network?
Bartholomew: Before the event, do your research. If the event offers an attendee list, look up who is on the list—someone you went to the same college with? This is a great starting connection point. Have your LinkedIn up to date before you go. Also, know that everyone else in the room feels the same way as you. Other people are nervous. Be yourself, go with a positive mindset, and ask questions. When you are younger, look for young professional events because you will meet people who are at similar career stages as you. When you are there, be mindful of people’s time and don’t monopolize it. If you meet someone that you really enjoy, you can always connect with them after.
GenHERation®: After you make a connection with an individual, what steps should you take to maintain and develop this relationship?
Bartholomew: The most important thing to do is ask on the spot to connect with them. Connect on LinkedIn. There is a QR code on LinkedIn that you can use to connect with people in the moment. Be mindful and selective of who you want to follow up with. If you meet 10 people at an event, you might not connect with all of them. Select the few that you really aligned with. It’s on you to follow up—people are busy! Reach out and politely and professionally ask for what you want. It can be scary, but you have to keep the connection going. The worst that can happen is no response!
GenHERation®: What would you tell yourself the day you graduated from college?
Bartholomew: Coming out of college, remember that everyone has been in the same position that you have. Everyone interviewed for an entry-level role at some point. There are a lot of unknowns and changes, and you are entering this big world. Know yourself. Be confident in who you are and your skill set. I put a lot of pressure on myself and that hindered me. If I would have taken a step back and realized everyone who interviewed me or was my boss had to start somewhere too, that would have helped me.
Justine Bartholomew is a Sr. Marketing Consultant and 529 Marketing Lead at Hartford Funds. Justine is a strategic marketing professional with her expertise falling in the digital arena in both B2B and B2C marketing. Currently, she is the SMART529 Marketing Lead at Hartford Funds. Prior, she held positions at Rodale, Nutrisystem, and National Penn where she managed and grew digital acquisition channels and lead generation efforts. Justine remains active in her community through serving on the BETAC board at Penn State Lehigh Valley and the CRS Committee at DeSales University. Justine earned her B.S. in Marketing/Management from Penn State Lehigh Valley and her M.B.A. in Marketing from DeSales.