How do you start a career in marketing? The answer to this used to be get a degree in marketing and pursue a job. But today, it is more complicated than that. Marketing has become a coveted field in every industry.
As students pursuing a career in marketing, you are also competing with professionals from other sectors, who probably have years of experience. So when your resume says “degree in marketing”, it might not get the immediate attention you are hoping for.
Our current educational system prepares students to write a five paragraph essay outline on marketing with utter confidence. But when it comes to real-world strategies, you need to prepare yourself. From the experts in the field, here is what you need to do to kick-start your marketing career.
1. Keep Upgrading Your Knowledge
The marketing industry turned a sharp corner when it ventured online. Unfortunately, not every marketing course has been updated to accommodate the change. This means that you might have to teach yourself even the most common analytics and marketing tools used in the industry today.
Fortunately, the internet has solutions for this as well. Invest in online certifications on different online tools. Today, these skills are no longer optional but mandatory. Bear in mind that not just marketing students, but anyone can get these online certifications. Hence, you need to be proactive in ensuring that your marketing degree isn’t overlooked because you lack the necessary tech skills.
2. Stay Updated on the Market
Everything moves fast in the digital realm. The chances are, the strategies you learned in your first year in college are no longer relevant. But nowadays, there is plenty to learn from the marketing strategies you see online. If you want to impress the hiring manager during an interview, it won’t hurt to know a few case studies of innovative campaigns.
Besides, while on the job, you will not be consulting your textbooks to come up with strategies. As a marketer, you also need to stay on top of SEO trends. Your aim is to be always in a creative mode, on a lookout for new opportunities that will give your company an edge over the competitors.
3. Never Stop Networking
Have you burnt some bridges while in college? As a marketer, sadly, you cannot afford that. You never know when you might need to pull in favor or work together with someone. You might think you will cross the bridge when you get to it, but by then, it might be too late. Because at that time, you do not want to seem as if you are sweet-talking to someone only to get something in return. And, likely, you might not even get a response in that case.
Meanwhile, do not brush away any networking opportunities that come your way. It is never too early to establish contacts in marketing. Even if it is an alumni get-together or career counseling, you could meet people who could open doors for you in the near future or later.
4. Emphasize What You Are Bringing to the Table
Ramit Sethi’s Briefcase technique has been gaining a lot of traction on the internet. In a gist, it merely suggests that you impress your potential employer by evincing what you are already invested in their company.
You can do this by explaining what you have learned about their business, how you can improve it, and why you are the right person for the job. In other words, it is like taking out your business briefcase on the table, and confidently, but politely showing your client that you have come well-prepared to join the company.
In marketing, you can employ this by proposing a new campaign to increase sales or leads for the company. Instead of merely preparing for the standard interview questions, this approach is likely to set you apart from the rest of the applicants. You will get bonus points for taking the initiative and commitment if you do this with the right proportion of politeness and confidence.
5. Market Yourself
Let’s be honest here. Among the hundreds of applicants on any job, let alone marketing, internships and extracurriculars have become a common category. A few internships or extracurriculars might not set you apart. What could is your successful journey of how you have managed to market yourself.
One of the best ways to demonstrate your marketing skills is through a list of projects you have already completed. Yes, you might have to freelance or take up a few projects for free. But these could help you build a portfolio of success stories. You can also create a blog or a social media account, and its digital presence would also be an indication.
Put differently, today, marketing students have to get creative when it comes to their careers. Marketing is one of the rapidly evolving industries, and you need to be continually learning to improve your chances. Do not be afraid to go beyond the traditional approaches to secure a job or campaign. On the brighter side, you will always find the market and your job exciting.