This is a topic I have been wanting to cover for a while! It’s a question I have been asked before but also probably Googled myself a few years ago, so I thought I would sit down and impart my wisdom (if you can call it that) on how to start a career in marketing.
In addition to running my blog, I work full time in a marketing position. The two kind of go hand-in-hand as my blog and Instagram very much involve marketing my own ‘brand’, and I know marketing is an industry that many people want to get into.
If you’re fresh out of uni or thinking about going into marketing after school, or perhaps even thinking about a career change, I’ve got a few tips and pieces of advice on how to start a career in marketing! So grab a cuppa, sit back and let’s chat marketing…
The obvious answer to the question of how to get a career in marketing is to do a marketing degree, but if you aren’t or haven’t got that, I am walking proof that this is by no means essential. I had no idea what marketing was before university so I certainly didn’t choose to do my degree in it.
Of course, a marketing degree would be amazing at giving you that knowledge and experience of the industry before you get a job in it, however, there are other degrees relevant to marketing and useful when trying to get a marketing job…
I studied psychology, which is the study of people and behaviours, and within that was a consumer psychology module, which ended up being completely relevant to marketing. So if you already have a non-marketing degree, see if there are similarities between your degree and the marketing industry, and make sure you highlight these relevancies when applying for a marketing job.
In addition to psychology, the likes of english, advertising and media studies are all relevant too.
2. Marketing apprenticeships
If you’re wondering how to get into marketing without a degree, you’ll be pleased to know that it is entirely possible. Getting a degree is definitely not the be all and end all, and apprenticeships are a brilliant alternative for many. Lots of marketing agencies take on apprentices and this offers a great way to gain experience whilst getting paid. Once you have this experience on your CV, it’s much easier to then kick-start a marketing career! It also gives you a taste of the marketing industry so you can get an idea of whether you like it or not.
3. Online marketing diplomas
Upon coming out of university and deciding that I needed to find out more about marketing, I entered into an online diploma. I found a great deal on Groupon (otherwise they can be very expensive), which involved online webinars before taking a serious of tests. The end result is a marketing diploma to show employers that you already have some experience, knowledge and interest in the industry, and it’s a whistle-stop introduction to the world of marketing!
4. Work experience at a marketing agency
If you’ve completed your degree or education and are struggling to get into marketing, getting some work experience in the industry is priceless. I went down to London to work for a great digital marketing agency, offering my skills free of charge in return for some invaluable marketing experience.
You’d be surprised at how many companies take on graduates, school leavers and also students for work experience. The best thing to do is to write a great and personalised email, and enquire to digital marketing agencies as to whether you could come into their office for a week or so’s worth of experience. You might have to sacrifice your own time in the process, but it’s worth it if it helps you on your merry way to a job in marketing.
5. Start agency-side
If you’re starting from the bottom and trying to get your first job in marketing, I really recommend starting off trying to work for a marketing agency, as opposed to joining an in-house marketing department for a brand. It’s a great way to fully immerse yourself into marketing as you’re surrounded by marketing experts, and you can then apply your new-found marketing knowledge to a wide variety of industries and businesses – it’s a great way to learn a lot quite quickly.
I also think that starting in-house in a particular industry can potentially pigeonhole you when it comes to marketing opportunities in the future, as you only have experience of marketing one particular industry. If you’ve worked for an agency, though, you’ll likely have been marketing a wide range of businesses.
6. Don’t sell yourself short
The truth is, being a consumer of any kind makes you experienced in marketing, so you need to draw on that. You see brands selling to you on social media through advertising and on Google everyday. You probably pick up on good techniques, and comment on bad ones, all the while subconsciously adding to your marketing capabilities!
Additionally, if you’re a similar age to me, you’ve grown up with the internet and its websites and social media, so you’re as experienced as can be when it comes to these important know-hows for a marketing job. Your cover letter is the perfect time to explain your existing knowledge and understanding of marketing, so don’t sell yourself short, even if your marketing experience is minimal.
7. Don’t wait for a job advertisement
Instead of being reactive, try and be proactive too. Sometimes marketing agencies are open to new talent even if they don’t have a job advertised on any of the usual job advertising sites. In fact, you might find that many have a careers page stating that they openly accept applications from relevant individuals. So sit down and research some good marketing agencies you’d like to join, construct a personalised cover letter email, and attach your CV. Make sure you explain why you’d love to join their brand and what you can offer them.
It goes without saying that getting a job you want isn’t easy, but perseverance is vital. Don’t give up! Just think of ways to make yourself more of an appealing candidate to a company. Experience is important to many employers, which sucks when no one is giving you a chance to gain any in the first place, so getting experience in other ways, such as through a diploma or work experience, is a great option!