Aside from a lucky few, pretty much every marketer remembers the struggle of applying to entry level jobs that demand experience. With competition in marketing high, it can be difficult to make yourself stand out from the crowd, but it’s certainly not impossible.
Even without a marketing degree or background, if you’re ambitious and dedicated, you can always find ways to kickstart your career. By having the initiative to take steps to demonstrate your passion, you’ll be able to show employers the huge potential you have and convince them to take a chance on you.
At Fabric, we’ve all been in the chicken-and-egg position of job hunting with no experience, so we’ve rounded up the things we did to get our foot in the door of the marketing industry.
If you’re after a job in marketing, your writing skills will need to be on point. You can demonstrate this by creating a blog and writing about things you’re passionate about. This might be something personal to you, such as a specific industry or a social cause, or you can share some general commentary on marketing campaigns that have caught your eye. The key is to find your niche and use it to showcase your skills – it's a great opportunity to gain some informal experience in content marketing too.
There are lots of platforms you can use to create your blog, such as Blogger or Wix. To promote your blog, you can create a social media account to share your articles, which gives you added experience in social media marketing. If you don’t want to set up a dedicated blog, then using the LinkedIn publishing tool is a brilliant way to share your pieces with your network, as well as reaching new connections.
Working for free as an intern, remotely or in person, is one of the main ways to get some experience on your CV, without having to secure a full-time role. Get in touch with brands or agencies and explain what you are available for and why you would be an asset to their team. More often than not, you’ll be able to find a company that is looking for an extra pair of hands to help out, or even just shadow a member of the marketing team.
Our only warning here is to make sure you don’t end up working full-time for free, especially if you’ll have to pay for travel and other expenses. When you make your enquiry, don’t be afraid to set the boundaries of how many hours you’d like to intern for, and the length of time you’re available for. Your time is important so make sure you’re only interning where you can get real value and experience. If you’re just doing a few hours each week, there’s no reason you can’t have two internships on the go at once.
Having some dedicated training in marketing on your CV will prove your commitment to improving your skills. If employers see that you have been working to gain knowledge of the industry, they’ll understand that you’re channelling your time and energy in the right direction, even without work-experience. Make sure to include any training courses on your CV, detailing what you have learned and how you can apply this experience to real life. You may even find that you are able to fill a skills gap in a company’s team, making yourself a unique asset.
There are lots of free mini courses online available, such as the Google Digital Garage certificate in digital marketing. If you’re looking to get serious with a structured training course that gives you real-life experience, you can look to invest in a paid programme, such as our integrated marketing strategy course.
If you have friends who are in a similar position to you, consider how you can work together to put your marketing skills into practice. You could set yourself a university-style project as a group, and work as a team to create a marketing campaign or strategy. This has the added benefit of proving your ability to work as part of a team and lead projects.
If you’re looking for some inspiration on the type of project to set yourself, here’s a few ideas:
- Choose a brand that you don’t think markets itself very well, and creative an alternative strategy.
- Select a brand you love and create a new campaign you think would excel the brand. It could be an expansion onto a new online platform, or a new target audience.
- Find a charity that doesn’t do a lot of marketing and explore a strategy for how you would raise its awareness through various marketing tactics.
Networking is ESSENTIAL and you should practice it throughout your career. It’s incredibly easy to do through LinkedIn, or by getting in touch with connections you already have in the industry. Use your network to keep an eye out for jobs and internship opportunities, because making an application though a professional you know is a great way to get your foot in the door.
You can also connect with other young professionals looking to get into marketing and establish a support network that can help you stay motivated on the job-hunt, communities such as Pretty Little Marketer offer just this. Through networking, you may also be able to find a mentor who can support you in your career and advise you on how to land that first bit of work experience.
Our last piece of advice is to keep your spirits high as you search for your first opportunity. It can be hard to stay positive when you receive more rejections than positive responses, but it’s completely normal to apply for what feels like a million positions before you find the one that’s right for you.
Keep an eye out on our Insights and Tools page for more resources that will guide you in getting your career off the ground. We’ll be sharing tips from recruiters and marketing professionals on securing roles, as well as tips on marketing tactics and skills you need to kickstart your career.
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