Begin a career in marketing

What does a marketing role entail?

Marketing is one of the world’s fastest growing sectors with most businesses having dedicated communications roles, whether in-house or outsourced.
Essentially your job role will boil down to generating coverage, site traffic and sales for a product or brand through a variety of mediums.

You will need to have excellent communication skills, attention to detail and the ability to work at a fast and changing pace.
It is a constantly evolving sector making it a very exciting field to work in whether you wish to work in traditional marketing (PR, field marketing etc) or digital marketing (social media, SEO etc), or indeed a role that covers more than one avenue.

Its value to businesses is reflected in the salaries a role can command, and entry level roles can be rewarded with as much as £25,000 with more senior roles beginning at £30,000, though of course this will vary on location, bonuses and other perks.
It is an international sector and with the right qualification and experience you will find yourself being able to work anywhere in the world.

However, its vast appeal means that entry can be quite competitive, so it is important to be well prepared before you embark on your entry to a marketing career.

Educational Experience

In today’s competitive job market the best way to put yourself head and shoulders above the competition is a marketing qualification.
Not only is this impressive to employers because of the skills you will learn, it also demonstrates dedication to your profession, time management, application and drive.

There are several qualifications available depending on your educational and professional background.
Should you have no experience at all you may be interested in a short professional qualification such as one of the CIM or IDM marketing certificates. Alternatively you may wish to apply for a three year bachelor’s degree such as the BA Marketing that many universities offer.

If you already have some work experience or an educational background in marketing, you may wish to study a master’s degree or a higher level professional qualification.These will help you enter at a more senior level.
There are also short professional courses for those who are experienced in marketing but wish to specialise in and enter one area, again CIM and IDM are two of the most respected accreditations.

Work experience, how to get it and what you should expect to get out of it?

As with any job, having marketing work experience will certainly give you the competitive edge over other candidates.
Work experience helps in many ways:

  • It provide you with a clear understanding of working life in a marketing role and helps you decide if this really is the career path for you.
  • It gives you practical knowledge of the job you wish to acquire meaning when you do start a new role you can hit the ground running, making you more appealing to employers who won’t need to spend as much time or money training you.
  • It gives you access to potentially invaluable contacts. Whilst the place you are interning at might not have job roles currently available, marketing is by its nature a very communicative industry and there is a good chance someone you meet will know someone who is hiring if you make a good impression.

There are several ways you can go about getting work experience; if you are studying a course, your institute may organise it for you, or you might wish to apply to an agency or company that has a work experience programme.

If you know anyone in the industry, or know anyone who does, this can be a good way of getting an in, there is nothing like a personal recommendation in marketing.
However, if none of the above are options it might be a good idea to make yourself known to the company you wish experience with in a novel way. This could be by reaching out to them via social media, sending them your CV in an unusual format (for example a YouTube video). You may also wish to use a service like Prospects which has a database of available internships or attend a career’s fair.

Unlike traditional sectors, marketing work experience can be more than just shadowing an agency employee, though obviously this can be very useful.
Employers will also be impressed if you have marketing experience of a project you have set up yourself. This could be having a successful twitter feed, raising coverage of a friend’s band or project, writing a blog and understanding SEO, and having a good understanding of content management systems (CMS) even if this is just wordpress.

No matter how you choose to gain it, it is important you gain tangible skills from it that you can apply in your next role.

What should I talk about in my application letter / job interview?
If you have successfully completed a marketing related qualification and / or work experience you should already have a good understanding of the skills you will need to discuss and display in your application letter and job interview.

Use this tick list to check you are completely comfortable with the following terms and their application within a business, charity or other enterprise:

  • PR
  • Field Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • PPC
  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • Email Marketing
  • Consumer Trends

You should also have an awareness of key marketing trends and digital media and demonstrable examples of times you displayed good communication, time management and initiative skills.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a professional course?

A professional course is a course that is aimed at helping you get ahead in your career. They are aimed mainly at people who are currently in employment looking for an opportunity to further their knowledge or progress in their career or anyone looking to transfer their skills and knowledge into a new career direction.

What business courses are available?

ON/COURSE offers information on a variety of business courses from online to classroom study. Popular courses in this category include an MBA, Executive MBA, MSc in Marketing and the CIPD certificate problems.

The courses available can be selected in a variety of programmes from short courses to full classroom programmes. So whatever your aims, there should be a course that fits well for you.

What financial courses should I consider?

A financial course is for anyone considering a career in accountancy, the financial sector or the financial markets. With this in mind you are able to chose from a selection of courses from diplomas to accredited accountancy qualifications.

The most popular courses are the CFA, MSc in Finance, ACCA and CIMA.

What level of study is available?

The level of study you are able to enter is dependent on a number of factors. Some courses are open to you having no prior work experience or education in that field, they are entry level courses allowing you to feel out the sector and start to take the steps into shaping a career in that sector.

Other courses will require you to have professional experience, previous relevant qualifications or both so take the time to ensure that the course you are considering is relevant to the stage you are at in your career. Some courses will accept you if you have transferable skills from another sector too.