Following on from our recent blog on a few of the main jobs in marketing, in this post we lay out some of the answers to a question we’re often asked here at Oxford Learning College: how do I go about getting a career in marketing? Here we lay out the attributes needed and some things you can consider doing to boost your CV.
The first question you have to ask yourself is: do I have the key attributes for a career in marketing? There are some skills that are important to a marketer, no matter which type of marketing they specialise in, these are:
1. Can you communicate a message verbally and in writing clearly and concisely?
2. Are you analytically minded enough to dissect research and come up with solutions to that data? And then relate findings to how that will impact on your product/client?
3. Are you creative and good at solving problems?
4. Are you personable and enjoy building relationships with people?
Once you've cleared up whether you're fundamentally right for a role in marketing, here are a few ways to make your CV stand out from the crowd:
Gaining as many qualifications as you can related to sales, marketing, business or even technology will beef up your credentials. Don’t just think about standard qualifications like A Levels and degrees, think about short courses on computer skills like Excel, online marketing like SEO and presentations skills.
A good place to start out is an agency but they are very competitive and cut-throat so if you don’t quickly make the grade you’ll get the boot. There’s no softly-softly approach in agencies (no matter how small), but if you can make the grade and are open enough to taking criticism and work hard then they are a great learning ground.
Know Your Sector
In this day and age the sooner you become specialised the better. It could be, for instance, that you start in a non-marketing related role so you can cut your teeth in the business sector you’re interested in devoting your time to. This is the best way to learn about the area, as sector knowledge is imperative when it comes to marketing. Read the press and trade magazines for general marketing: Marketing Week (Marketingweek.co.uk) and Media Week (Mediaweek.co.uk) are great.
Yes, you always hear 'get experience' but how do you get that first lot of experience when all jobs advertise for experience? There are a few things you can do:
While at school get involved with Young Enterprise (Young-enterprise.org.uk) or alternatively look for small businesses where you could do some voluntary work and practice different marketing approaches. This way your CV will show you have gained experience and you can discuss in interviews what approaches worked and why.
Sales experience is also useful when applying for marketing roles, as sales and marketing go hand-in-hand. Think about what you learnt about your customer and how you connected with them while working in that part-time sales assistant job. Also, if you lack a bit of experience or don’t tick all the requirements in the job advert then take some time to write a detailed cover letter stating why you think you’d be perfect for the role. It’s amazing how many job applicants don’t personalise their CVs.
You’re applying for marketing roles. If you can’t sell yourself then how would a future employer think you could sell their product? It sounds obvious but you’ll be amazed at how many applicants don’t think like this. So create a blog or/and a website as a showcase for yourself. You will pick up very useful skills by going through the ideas, design, maintenance and marketing of your project as well as showing you know what you’re doing.
By extension, promoting your profile via social media ensures that future employers can only see what you want them to see online. Manage your social media profiles so the privacy settings are appropriate to gaining employment. Finally, network through social media: think of yourself as a brand, and follow the companies and people you want to be involved with.
Or, if you'd like to read more careers-related advice, check out our tips on how to become a social worker.