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How to get into marketing

The competition for jobs in marketing is intense. How can you stand out from the crowd?

Obviously a degree or a postgraduate qualification in marketing is an asset, but marketing requires specific personal skills such as good communication, numeracy, flexibility and organisation. The ability to work under pressure and produce creative ideas is essential too. The Assessing your Skills guide in the improving employability section may help you identify your competencies. Work experience in a marketing environment is also a real advantage. Information in the Improve your employability section should help you on how to go about this including details of the CIM Professional Marketing Standards in the qualifications section which identifies skills employers require at different stages of your career. 

 

In your first marketing role, you may gain skills in:

  • Planning and using market research
  • Communicating with target audiences (your customers)
  • New product and service development
  • Managing customer relationships and using databases
  • Delivering effective customer service to achieve marketing goals
  • Developing effective channels to market
  • Employers will be looking for evidence that you have these skills, or at least have the potential to develop them.

 

Ways into marketing

Work your way up 

The more knowledge and experience you have, the more chance you have of getting a job in marketing. Most graduates start off in junior positions (assistants) and work their way up. These entry-level positions are a good way to gain a broad experience of the industry. However, employers will expect you to contribute immediately! You'll have to be aware of any good opportunities around you, and be prepared to take them in order to build your career.

 

Get qualified to get an advantage

If you do not have a degree in marketing, then you may want to consider a relevant postgraduate course or a  CIM professional marketing qualification. You may be able to find an employer that will sponsor you in this if they can see the value that it will bring to the company.

 

Get on a graduate scheme 

Some large companies offer graduate trainee or assistant schemes, a list of which can be found in the resources section. The emphasis is increasingly on integrated skills, so you should be prepared to work in any department and gain an all-round training. Once you have entered the industry, there are numerous opportunities to help you develop your career. For example, CIM offers a series of courses for marketing professionals, ranging from one day workshops to five day residential courses. 

 

Use your transferrable skills

Many marketers working today did not necessarily start out in a marketing. Frequently marketers come from other areas of the business such as sales and customer service as there are many transferrable skills. You could find a non-marketing role with a company keen on promoting from within and look to move internally, but don't expect to make it to the marketing department overnight. 

 

Network for success

Lastly, network. You never know who could offer you a marketing opportunity so it pays to go to any events being held at your university, or socially, where you might be able to gain contacts and meet industry representatives. 

 

Gaining a competitive advantage 

Gain valuable work experience

Relevant work experience is extremely attractive to prospective employers. If your degree course does not include a work placement in a relevant company or position, you could look for suitable opportunities in our placement section or approach local companies for holiday work in marketing functions. Some of the large graduate recruiters (such as Unilever and Mars) offer students paid summer placements in marketing and other departments. Smaller companies are also open to additional resource so we recommend you keep your approach  broad.

 

Qualifications Needed

A marketing qualification, such as a CIM professional marketing qualification is a real advantage if you want to work in the industry. However, although most graduate training programmes require some form of relevant qualification, you may be lucky enough to be taken on by a smaller firm without one. In this case you will have to demonstrate that you have the skills required by transferring them from a different degree subject.

 

Reflecting the competitive nature of the industry, most employers will be looking for at least 22-24 UCAS points, although you may find an employer with as few as 18, if you can demonstrate strong skills and desire.

Article source: getin2marketing