Why would I want to work in Marketing?
One of the biggest reasons why so many people are drawn into the marketing industry each year is the prestige that is often associated with working on some of the biggest, most recognisable brands, such as Coca-Cola, Virgin or L’Oreal. Marketers are the people who make us Just do it, entice us to get the London look and Turn it to 30° and it is hardly surprising to learn that marketing is one of the most popular career destinations for newly qualified graduates. But it’s not all glitz and glamour. There is marketing that attempts to persuade people to buy car insurance, eat more greens or use less energy. Then there’s business-to-business marketing promoting industrial and office equipment, direct marketing via telephone or mail, websites and TV.
One of the beauties of working in marketing is the innumerable opportunities to specialise in certain areas such as market research and direct marketing or diversify into other related disciplines such as public relations, SEO and advertising.
The industry is fast paced and can never be called pedestrian, it’s at times glamorous, but always hard work – this is not a 9 to 5 job and the hours can be long. Employment is predominantly permanent. And as the choice of media becomes increasingly diverse combined with our somewhat insatiable appetite for consumerism, demand for skilled and creative marketers will continue – so too will the rewards.
What are the common career paths in Marketing?
Most people start their marketing career as a Marketing Executive regardless of whether they have taken the graduate or non-graduate entry route. Sometimes described as Assistant Brand Managers/Marketing Assistant/Marketing Coordinators, the precise responsibilities of the Marketing Executive varies from company to company and are largely determined by the size of the organisation by which you are employed and the importance of marketing within the company. For the most part your role will see you involved in all aspects of marketing, from researching and analysing your core target market to developing the product’s packaging, point-of-sale, advertising, public relations and sales promotion.
After two or three years, promotion to Senior Marketing Executive will see you taking on greater responsibility in a post which will set you in good stead for moving into a Marketing Manager after a further two or three years, and then to Marketing Director.
What qualifications are important in Marketing?
Entry level qualifications for marketing executives vary from company to company. However, large employers will typically prefer candidates with a Higher National Diploma (HND) or Degree – especially those operating graduate training schemes.
Some employers will accept entrants from any degree discipline, most will favour business studies or marketing subjects whilst industrial companies, for instance, may prefer science-based degrees for their marketing positions. Some smaller employers, however, will place more emphasis on candidates who possess a professional diploma such as one awarded by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).
But a career in marketing is not exclusive to those with an academic background and many entrants have spent their careers to date working in the related fields of sales or advertising – areas in which academic attainment is secondary to experience and industry knowledge. So not having a specific degree or diploma is not necessarily a bar to entry.
Once your career is up and running you will be expected to attain professional qualifications that will invariably mean the difference between staying in your existing role for some time and progressing quickly up the career ladder.
What makes a good Marketing CV?
As with all successful marketing campaigns, your CV needs to match your features and benefits with the requirements of the job being advertised. The job advert itself will give you a clue but, in true marketing fashion this only scratches the surface. Get a copy of the full job description from your Consultant at Yolk who is handling the vacancy and identify the key requirements of the role and tailor your CV so that your skills and abilities match what the employer is looking for. The key to writing a successful marketing CV is to always link your achievements with the requirements of the job you are applying for and demonstrate how you have used these skills in your career to date - or during your university days - and to what effect.
For example, stating that you are ‘Creative’ or ‘Analytical’ will make your CV read more like a dictionary rather than a document that is designed to sell your experience and achievements. Being ‘creative’ may mean that you may have “assisted in developing a new re-branding campaign for a large high street bank.” And being ‘analytical’ has enabled you to “spot a gap in the market that enabled your company to penetrate and gain a 45% market-share.”
What should I expect during the job interview process?
Interviews can take a number of different formats and you need to find out which one will be used before the day itself. Large employers will typically run an assessment centre at the company’s head office where you will be put through your paces in a series of practical problem solving tasks both in groups and individually, psychometric tests and presentations – some of which you may have been expected to prepare in advance.
Other employers, especially those with a lower intake of new recruits, will invariably cut out the assessment centre process and may start the selection process with an initial telephone interview that works to ascertain if you like the sound of the job and if the employer likes the sound of you before moving into the more traditional interview format.
The secret to pre-empting likely topics of discussion lies in the job advert itself. So make sure you keep a copy of it and highlight the key points it mentions. Employers want more than a candidate with the right skills and experience – they want someone who has a genuine desire to work for their organisation. So do your background research and ensure that you can talk confidently about them.
View our complete article on interview tips for marketing professionals.
Accepting the job offer
When the job offer comes through your door don’t be tempted to snap their hands off just yet. Make sure you weigh up all the pros and cons of the offer – can the company offer you what you want in terms of training provision, salary, career progression, location…you get the point. Ultimately, go with your gut instincts – they’re rarely wrong.