How to get a career in marketing

Tips for getting on the marketing career ladder

625x350Marketing, for many, can be a prestigious career working for big-name brands, thinking creatively, developing strategies and enjoying a working life where innovation and forward-thinking is not only rewarded, but expected.  Even the common knowledge that lots of marketing professionals work late hours and under vast pressure, doesn’t seem to put off the countless graduates lining up to become the marketing moguls of tomorrow.

As the world of commerce becomes ever more digital, marketing is a highly versatile role and with a few years under your belt, you’ll be in high demand.  So, how exactly do you break into marketing?

Marketing: a game of two halves

There are definitely two sides to marketing.  One is statistical and factual, featuring the raw data of business; the other is much more creative, involving branding, tone and content strategy.  One is very corporate, the other less so – and it’s very rare that someone is good at both.

Start by getting to know what type of marketing roles are out there, what you fancy and, most importantly, where your skills lie.  Most of us would like to think we could come up with the next award-winning social media strategy for Coca Cola, yet in reality, very few of us would even come close.

Big brand, or big break?

You’re a hardworking high-flyer and only multi-national, household names will do.  That’s lovely, but in reality everyone has to start somewhere, and there’s no shame in starting at a local agency or small brand.  In fact, the nitty-gritty nature of smaller organisations provides tremendous stepping-stones for the future.

The industry respects leading names, and they’re not always who you might think – building up a portfolio of steady progression will land you a job with the big boys.  Patience is a virtue and landing yourself a graduate role with the dream company really is a lot of good luck.

Do you know your CRM from your SEO?

If you’ve been looking at the job specs you’ll begin to notice a pattern; there really is a lot of acronyms, and different roles really do expect a lot of different skills. Some roles you’ll be expected to be a digital whizz, whereas others are willing to see past any computer-confusion you might suffer.

Most importantly is a willingness to learn. If you’re really struggling to match your skills to the list of abbreviations, it’s not the end of the world, many junior roles are willing to train you up and get you up to scratch, perfect for venturing back out into the world of job hunting in a few years’ time.

Post it noteYes, you will be expected to work for free!

Increasingly, to get the job you want, you will be expected to undertaken some salary-free work; so the best time to do it is at university.   Those sought after roles in digital agencies, PR companies, social media offices and so on have a queue of graduates waiting to join their ranks, and they can take their pick from countless applications.

The best way to beat them really is to join them.  But when you do make sure you’re the one who puts in the extra effort, displays the passion and makes a mark.  Employer testimonials are crucial to you making the next step.

Learn, train, develop…and then learn some more.

To stand out when applying for marketing roles, a CIM marketing qualification on your CV will work in your favour. Those in the industry really do have to stay on top of their game, especially in digital sectors, and that means putting in the hours of self-development, learning, training and courses.  Some companies are keen on development, which is great for getting yourself on courses and free classes, but some will expect you to fund it yourself.

Guy WalkerGuy Walker, senior consultant at Forward Role Recruitment said: “Marketing is a popular profession and the graduate market is a competitive one so grads need to be realistic about their search. If they wait too long for the ‘perfect role’ to come along, the market will leave them behind and then guess what – they’re now competing with next year’s graduates as well! If an opportunity arises, grab it! It might be a while before the next one.

Generally, graduates with the right blend of determination, passion, ability and willingness to get stuck in will get into work quickly. Get some good experience first and then you can start to shape your future.”

Take heed of the above and you will soon be on the road to an exciting career in marketing.

About the author: Forward Role is a marketing recruitment company in Manchester.  If you’re looking for marketing jobs in Manchester, check out their website for the latest vacancies: www.forwardrolerecruitment.co.uk

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