How to get a job in marketing – The winning process for 2020

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Today I’m going to tell you exactly how to get a job in marketing.

 

In fact, this is the same approach I used to get 5 marketing job offers in the last 2 years.

 

So if you’ve sent out dozens of applications and got nowhere, this is for you.

 

Let’s jump right into it.

 

Why I think I can help you start your marketing career:

 

I have been where you are.

 

I’ve done the applications, written the cover letters and customized the resumes.

 

I know the struggle…

 

From this, I’ve successfully landed 2 jobs, had many more offers and helped many friends get the jobs they wanted.

 

So I think I’ve got a decent idea of how to help you get yours!

 

Let’s kickstart your marketing career! 

 

Some housekeeping to make sure that a marketing career is right for you.

 

What is a career in marketing?

 

Marketing sits at the intersection between sales and product. It can play different roles depending on how the business operates. This is great for you as a career in marketing can take many different forms and has lots of variety. 

 

Stripping it right back, it’s a marketing professional’s job to create, manage, and promote business into being a brand. Marketing helps potential customers to find, assess and uncover value in a  product or service when they are weighing up purchasing decisions.

 

Functions that sit within marketing include:

  • Public relations
  • Advertising 
  • Media Planning
  • Online marketing

 

What jobs are in marketing?

 

Entry-level marketing jobs

A trend seems to be appearing in marketing where even a degree won’t get you where it did for friends of mine from several years ago. Marketers these days need the experience to enter at a decent level.

 

So here is what you can expect. More than likely you’ll have one of these titles for your first marketing job.

 

Entry-level marketing titles are likely to be variants of:

  • Marketing Intern
  • Marketing Assistant
  • Marketing coordinator
  • Junior marketing executive
  • Marketing Executive
  • Digital Marketing Executive

 

I won’t go into a full list, but this seems to be pretty extensive.

 

What qualifications do you need to work in marketing?

 

Here’s the meat and potatoes of getting a job in marketing. Working out how you stack up vs the expectations of hiring managers.

 

There are a lot of relevant qualifications for a marketing role, both academic and professional. 

 

For academic qualifications, a degree is obviously a pretty good start. This is especially true if it involves knowledge of core marketing principles. 

 

Degree majors that will help you get a marketing job:

  • Marketing
  • Business management/administration
  • Communications

 

If you don’t have one of these degrees, then any related modules you have completed will also help you sell yourself.

 

Let’s talk about professional marketing qualifications for a second. These are super useful if they’re practical and have given you a good understanding of a specific area of marketing. 

But…

They can be massive time sinks if you’ve started lots and completed none.

 

(I go more in-depth on marketing courses later in this post.)

 

Key takeaway: Marketing qualifications are only as valuable as the person assessing you for the role think they are. If they make up a large part of the job description then focus on them more heavily.

 

Do you need a degree to work in marketing?

 

I’m not going to lie, to work in any professional field right now a degree is going to be a significant advantage. 

 

In many cases, for example, large multinational companies a degree is going to be mandatory. You won’t even get past the automated computer screening without one.

 

However, smaller companies (especially startups) are likely to be far more open to applications even if you don’t have a degree. But maybe a little bit of experience.

 

The key point here is to recognize it and use other means to show your value as a potential employee.

 

How much can you earn in marketing?

 

Most websites will normally answer this by question bringing up the figures from Glassdoor or payscale. Those figures are great and all but I like to think of this question slightly differently.

 

But if you’re curious about what you can earn then I’ll show you what a real company is paying their marketers.  Buffer publishes their employee salaries publically, so you can check that out.

 

Here’s how I think about it.  How much can I earn with my marketing skills? 

 

Depending on the area of marketing you choose to work in and the skills you have it varies drastically. 

You could build a career in a multinational company as a brand manager and earn a comfortable $100k. 

Or you can become an expert in Google Ads and charge $100/hour as a consultant.

 

Safe to say, if you put in the work and build desirable skills, there is money for you to make.

 

The main point here is that you don’t need to worry whether you can make enough money as a marketer… You can.

 

You need to think about whether you will do what it takes to make it happen.

 

Here are the steps to take to get a job in marketing.

 

Research marketing roles & pick a path

 

The secret to getting your dream job is focus.

 

You’ll get better results if your put your effort into a smaller set of roles. This process is hard enough as it is so don’t make it even harder on yourself by spreading yourself too thin.

 

Before you even think about actually applying you need to be very clear in your mind what kind of job you’d be happy doing. After all you’re going to be doing it 40 hours a week!

 

So spend some time reading various job descriptions and assessing how well you fit. Here’s a tip to get first-hand advice if you aren’t sure of a specific role. 

 

Go on Linkedin and search for this job role, filter for your city and message marketers doing this job. Ask them if you can take them for a coffee to ask about their job. If they accept, you’ll get a fantastic insight into the role and start to build your network.

 

Finding the right marketing role

We’ve lightly covered the kinds of roles you can have in marketing. A quick way of assessing these against what you want is to write down what you enjoy doing and how you view yourself.

 

A few questions to ask yourself:

  • What do I enjoy working with? Eg do you like digging in data? Do you love to write? Or deal with people?
  • What do I hate doing? These are red flags you can use to remove certain roles.
  • What am I good at and would enjoy improving on? Are you an Excel whiz? Or a Photoshop master?
  • What am I bad at that I would hate to work on? This helps you remove more roles.

 

Ideally, you want to do this stage before you even need a job. This gives you the mental room to think without the pressure of needing to earn. If you don’t have this luxury then I recommend you take at least a week to discover roles that are interesting to you.

 

Applying for jobs can take a long time, even in faster processes. Do you really want to go through this again? I know I wouldn’t. 

 

So it’s best to be sure before you commit so much time to it.

 

Upskill yourself with relevant marketing skills

 

Once you’ve decided on a direction it’s time to identify what skills are needed for the role.

 

Task: Go through 20 job applications and note down the 10 most commonly mentioned skills or competencies that the role requires. Next to this, write down your skill level or experience in this area.

 

Don’t worry if the answer is none or very little. That’s what we’re going to work on in this stage.

 

Once you have your list, consider how important each skill is. You want to prioritize core competencies of the job and heavily lean into them. 

 

This is what you’re going to spend your time improving your skillset. 

 

How to upskill yourself

There are so many free resources that will help you get better at marketing. Here are a few that I recommend:

 

Copywriting & Content

Copyblogger.com

kopywritingkourse.com

Digital advertising

Facebook Ads Blueprint

Introduction to Google Ads

Join marketing Facebook groups

 

Analytics

Intro to google analytics

 

SEO & Content Marketing

Hubspot Inbound Certification

Coschedule

Backlinko

 

Starting to see why I heavily advised narrowing your focus now? Taking all those courses and reading those blogs is going to take a lot of time.

 

Read and complete what is highly relevant and that you lack skills in.

 

Key takeaway: It’s better to have a strong skillset in a limited set of requirements than to have a so-so skill set in all over them.

 

Demonstrate your new skills in a relevant context

 

Next up is to put those skills you’ve learned to good use and use them to differentiate yourself from the other candidates. 

 

I’m not going to lie if you thought the process was hard enough how you’ve been doing it before… 

This is where it gets harder.

 

But, it’s one thing to say “I love learning new things in marketing”. It’s a massive increase in credibility to say: I love learning new things and this is how I’ve put what I learned into practice”. 

 

This is going to show that you’re a doer, not a talker and show any potential boss that you can be trusted to take action. 

 

Different ways you can show your marketing skills:

 

Create your own website or blog

 

If you have a specific hobby or passion you can create a simple blog. Simply buy a domain,  buy hosting (I personally recommend using Siteground), grab a free template (or use a drag and drop builder such as Elementor) and get writing content. 

 

Create a website for a family member

 

A great way to gain useful experience while showing a commercial understanding is to create a website for a family member. Depending on the role you’re targeting you can focus on different aspects to optimize it. Eg the design, copywriting, SEO etc. Keep track of specifically what you do and the impact that it has.

 

Offer your skills for free

 

Build up a portfolio of your work with a company in return for getting a positive case study/recommendation.  This works great if you are working with creative skills such as photoshop or copywriting. Small businesses may even be willing to let you run small budgets with Facebook and Google Ads.  

 

Freelance

 

There’s no better way to prove your skills and learn on the job than to ask someone to pay you for your work. The obvious advantage of this is you start earning, before you even get the job!

 

There are plenty of sites to find freelance gigs. The most well known are Fiverr and Upwork. If you’re feeling a bit nervous about this, then start with Fiverr. Client expectations are lower here as the standard of work is generally lower. Once you’ve got a bit of confidence you can start pitching to 

 

Pro-tip: Track the metrics of what you achieve in these projects. It adds more color to the story when you can describe the impact you’ve had.

 

Let’s quickly summarise where we’ve got to so far:

  1. You should have decided what roles you’re targeting
  2. You should have decided the skills you’re going to focus on
  3. You should have started working on these skills in the real World

Now we will start tying all this together and making you into a compelling proposition for employers.

 

Craft your personal narrative, & personalize yourself

 

I often find one missing part from the job guides I’ve read in the past.

 

That is the human aspect. When you’re applying for jobs, you’ve always got to have it in your mind that there is another person reading it.

 

They have their own views on the World and especially on the type of person who fits the role.

 

This is what will really increase your chances of progressing.

 

With this in mind, how can you give yourself the best chance?

 

My main advice here is to create a narrative of who you are that is in line with what the job description says.

 

You can do that by following this process:

  1. Create a list of 5 to 10 personality traits that you like to promote yourself as having. (are you hard-working? Creative? Good at working to deadlines?)
  2. Then look through 10 job applications and get together the most commonly mentioned personal traits and put in order of perceived importance and frequency.
  3. Compare the two lists and see which traits you have that are regularly mentioned
  4. These is what you’ll use to create a narrative about who you are and how you fit the role

 

The traits mentioned in job descriptions are often aligned with company values. By heavily indexing in favor of them you are aligning yourself with the company and making it easy to say yes. 

 

Important note: We’re not trying to game the system here. Be authentic and honest about your traits as you’ll quickly find you aren’t a match if you lie.

 

Very often in junior roles that simply means that you’re super interested in learning and passionate about the area you’re applying for. Hiring managers aren’t going to expect you to know everything. 

 

They simply want to see that you aren’t going to be a burden and can trust you to pick up things and demonstrate value fast.

 

So find ways to demonstrate this to them. 

 

Did you take the lead on some projects at school? Have you noticed something needs doing in your job and took the initiative to fix it? People love this stuff. It shows that you can spot errors and pick up the slack for the team.

 

These are concrete examples where you’re supporting your narrative.

 

My Personal Narrative

 

I absolutely love learning about all aspects of marketing. I am always listening to podcasts, reading blogs, watching videos, taking courses etc. I use this to my advantage to show that whatever there is, I am super keen on learning so will happily put in the effort to learn what I don’t know. 

 

I mentioned authenticity earlier. Here is where it will come through. If you were to ask me about this, I would have so many things to say simply because it’s true. 

 

Not only do I love to learn new things, but I put them into action. I demonstrated this with my own web projects that I’ve worked on as well as creating and managing a family member’s website. 

 

So far this has worked for me, but your experience and interests will be different. Focus on that and be authentic.

 

Let’s put all this together into a kick-ass CV and application in the next section.

 

Personalizing yourself, Your Resume and application.

 

Sweet! You’ve made it this far…

 

Nice work!

 

Here’s where we take everything so far and actually start applying…

 

First up, let’s get started with a classic. Make yourself stand out. 

 

Yea I know it’s a trope, but sadly it’s the reality. Make your application interesting, engaging and don’t be afraid to be a real person. People are more likely to overlook your shortcomings if they like you.

 

Check out this Resume for inspiration:

fantastic resume example

 

I doubt anyone skipped right over that. That’s probably too ballsy for junior roles or really most jobs. But you get the point. 

 

Hiring managers sift through hundreds of applications so you need to be interesting, and highly relevant to stand out.

 

Always avoid being bland and generic.

 

This should be easy with your new skills and knowledge. 

 

But what makes you interesting? We’ll cover that next…

 

Show Evidence of your marketing skills

 

It’s the detail that makes life interesting.

 

Think about Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings?

 

It’s the detail in their Universe that makes them so interesting. 

 

Job applications are the exact same.

 

For every part of your application where you give examples, give details. The exact outcomes, percentages, and figures. 

 

An example:

You worked on the SEO of your mother’s florist website and increased its visibility in search.

 

What did you do? How did you do it? Any tools? What was the precise outcome? Even better if you can relate an increase in organic traffic to revenue.

 

Optimized on-page content of floristry website using Surfer SEO

 

On the same note, go the extra mile to demonstrate your value. 

Here’s how I did that while applying for this new role. I created a short video (7mins) walking through 3 key SEO mistakes they were making, gave suggested solutions on how to solve them with or without me and included it in my application. 

 

When I didn’t get a response after a week or so, I found the Chief growth Officers email online and cold emailed her. 

 

This is exactly what I sent:



Hi X,

I hope you’re great.

I fear I may have missed out on the deadline for this role.

However, I wanted to make sure you saw this short video I made with some SEO suggestions.

One of which is a quick win that is very important in getting search traffic to your blog. Here is the link: {Video link}

If the role is still open then I’d like to reiterate my interest in the role.

 

Best,

 

That same day I got asked for an interview.

Of course, you may not have the knowledge or experience to do the exact same thing. But the principle is the same.

 

 If you want to be a marketer I’m sure you’ll have skills that you can demonstrate. Hopefully, even some ideas you could suggest. Two things about this – don’t be afraid to follow up and follow up with value. No one is going to care if you only send “did my application reach your email?”

Tools to get this right.

 

Hemmingwayapp – Use this to check for sentence difficulty. Make your applications easy to read.

 

Grammarly – Get your grammar right, people can be pedantic about it. Use the free version of this app to check yours.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I hope it helps you!

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