A: I am an upcoming senior majoring in marketing and I am unsure about my future. I keep getting mixed signals about the job market for those in marketing positions. Is the market all that bad? And do I even have a chance, considering I am an African American woman in a unstable economy?
— G. Dow, Via the Internet
A: Yes, there are challenges in the employment market for women and African Americans, but being a black woman is not a reason to opt out of a career choice. If it were, the recommendation would be to drop out of school. Your biggest challenge right now is to narrow your interest. Career options range from market research to brand management. Marketing is also a discipline applied to virtually every industry. It’s true that in a downturn, companies have historically reduced their marketing divisions, but marketing is no longer considered a soft area of business; it’s a science. It’s strategic, and for some industries, such as pharmaceuticals and consumer goods, marketing drives the sales of those products. But, even in less obvious industries, companies are beginning to realize the importance of building, maintaining, and protecting their brand in the minds of their clients. Your best resource is the American Marketing Association www.marketingpower.com. The organization has a variety of services and information, including career statistics and tips, a review of salaries, relocation information, and several publications covering a number of subjects including marketing news, marketing law, and public policy.