Getting started in your marketing career can be a daunting task with very few places to turn when you need genuinely valuable help and advice. And whilst our teams are always ready to give you career advice and point you in the right direction to get you a new role, we thought it would be interesting to speak to some people who’ve been in marketing for a while to find out what tips they’d pass on to people looking to start or develop in their career.
The answers we got were wide and varied, but all give a great insight. If you have any other ideas how to develop in a marketing role feel free to leave them in the comments at the bottom.
Be an astronaut!
I've always liked the idea of people having an 'astronaut mentality' - by this I mean be really good at lots of things, but not necessarily great. So, like an astronaut needs to be a good photographer, a good geologist etc, a modern marketer should practice and train to be 'good' on Photoshop, good at SEO, good at copywriting, good at PPC etc.
This mentality automatically leads to 'doing stuff' which is what can set people apart - you learn by doing so burgeoning marketers can benefit hugely from teaching themselves new areas/skills off their own back.
Sam Brown – Goal.com
Grasp every opportunity
The best piece of advice I’d give to anyone, whether they’ve stumbled across marketing like I did, or whether they’ve dedicated their entire education to it, is to be fearless and to push the boundaries at every possible opportunity.
I feel like personally, I had more to prove because I was new to marketing when I started. For me, having a voice and having conviction in my decisions and direction has given me the chance to do things I never would have imagined so far in my career. Having the courage to push the boundaries at the right times has seen my role evolve and expand dramatically over the last three years. To build something truly worthwhile, you’ve got to learn to make a decision and stick to it and you’ve got to have confidence in that.
It’s not about succeeding every time, it’s about learning from mistakes and constantly adapting yourself. No marketeer became great by succeeding every time. You’ve got to be fearless!
Laura Chetcuti - Only Marketing Jobs
Be less English and tell people what great things you’ve achieved
Be less English and more American. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there in the professional context. This is how you elevate and communicate your professional personal brand say what you have achieved.
If you don't there will be some American more than happy to claim credit for things you have done or claim to do be able to do things better than you even when neither is true! As Richard Branson himself said if introverts like him can be entrepreneurs and promote themselves, so can you!
Go for it!
Chris Reed – Black Marketing
Take the time to get some practical experience
If you are studying for a Marketing degree, it is definitely worthwhile taking the year out to gain experience. This is something I regret not doing. Studying Marketing (depending on how your degree is structured) doesn't arm you with some of the key practical skills needed when you step into working life.
Emily Forrest – IT Group Limited
Gain marketing experience by volunteering
We received a CV from a guy followed up by a phone call asking if he could come work for us, for free, for 3 months so he could put it on his CV as he realised he needed experience in such a competitive marketplace - 4 weeks later we had offered him a full time paid job!
Roy Moody – Blue Digital
Demonstrate your skills
Whatever marketing niche you want to work in be it PR, SEO, Social Media etc, make sure you demonstrate that skill practically. Have side projects where you do some PR for a local firm or family friend’s business, build a website which ranks really well, create social media followings around a passion or hobby.
Showing practical experience to employers is worth much more than theory and nice presentations.
Richard Michie – The Marketing Optimist
Build broad marketing experience before becoming a specialist
Go for broad experience over developing a niche in the first instance. There's plenty of time to specialise once you're 5+ years in, and experiencing a wide range of roles across the marketing spectrum will stand you in good stead and allow you to choose based on knowledge not assumptions.
Louise Turner – Wordsmiths Unlimited
Broad experience whilst studying or for the first few years to stand you in good stead to specialise as your career develops. Also take up all opportunities to develop soft skills such as networking, you never know where it could lead!
Rachel Allen - Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership
Look to the future not the past
Don't listen to anyone over 40. The world of business is close to being run by Millennials and their requirements of 'Marketing' in all of its forms, are very different to what has been and currently is. Brett is right about future trends: so research what this generation (and the one following GenViz) like, look for and trust.
This group is influencing people of all ages and technology (for example phygital imagery) is allowing new responses. A summary of my advice is therefore: ignore all that 'is' marketing and research all that 'will be' marketing.
Phil Pond – Scarlet Opus
And finally, a tip from Jonathan Hirst MD of Network Marketing
Think of getting into your perfect marketing role as a process rather than a single jump. Sometimes you have to 'tack' to get to where you really want to be.