So you want to work in marketing? Well, to be hired as a marketer you need to start acting like one. And not just any marketer, an inbound marketer.
Way back in early 2009 I wrote a post about how to get a job in advertising, design or media and it went nuts. Its one of the most popular posts I’ve ever published and still gets a lot of traffic today. A lot of that advice still rings true today, but a lot has also changed in the marketing world in the last 3 or 4 years, so I felt it was time to refresh the topic.
I interview dozens of marketing graduates each year and the first thing that strikes me is that very few have much experience of any kind. Universities are pumping out thousands of cardboard cutout graduates annually to compete for a small number of quality positions.
If you want to be hired as a marketer you need an edge. Here is what I advise them to do:
1. Create Content
This is the single best thing you can do. Start publishing great content. Show the world what you can do. Ideally focus on your interests or desired career niche if you really want to attract the attention of the right people. Two young guys come to mind who blogged their way into great careers; Julian Cole and Zac Martin. These guys began publishing excellent, confronting, interesting content on their respective blogs before they even graduated. It got them on the marketing radar early and saw them stroll into excellent jobs quickly.
Here’s a test: do a Google search for your name and see what comes up. Personal blog? Content you’ve written for other people’s blogs? News content you’ve authored? Infographics you’ve designed? Videos you’ve recorded? Whitepapers you’ve put together? If not much shows up then you’re not a good content creator and that’s going to keep you off the radar. I suspect HR will be much more impressed with the candidate who shows up for pages and pages of content (appropriate content) than someone with a degree and no content.
These days marketing, especially inbound marketing, relies heavily on great content. Being able to produce it, being able to recognise what drives traffic, clicks and responses is key.
The good news is that you can set up a blog, YouTube channel, Tumblr or Instagram account for free. All you need is time and some great ideas to fill them with content.
2. Be social
If you haven’t heard, social networks are kinda big these days. Having an account isn’t enough (although I’m surprised how many marketing wannabes don’t have one). You need to be savvy enough to be active with these accounts. Strategically, I would recommend having a Twitter account that follows the players in your desired industry and begin sharing your great content via that account.
You also MUST have a LinkedIn profile and should be looking to join some relevant LinkedIn groups for your chosen niche.
Companies are trying to work out how to leverage social networks, be the one who knows the answers and prove it in your own networks.
3. Learn some basic SEO
Here’s a secret…we all Google ourselves, our competitors and our industry. Learn some basic search engine optimisation and push your great content to the first page of search results. You’ll be in the radar faster and prospective employers will be wondering why and how you did it. Another skill most of your fellow graduates won’t have.
You can check out our NLYZR site. It has tons of great SEO information and you can set up an account for free to learn even more.
4. Study stats
Modern marketers are statistics nerds. Online marketing is amazingly measurable and there are dozens of great analytics tools to measure and test performance. Start using them and getting to know how they work. Practice with your own blog and social networks.
Make sure your resume reflects experience with different analytics platforms and that you understand how to make data-backed marketing decisions. This will put you ahead of most of the pack.
5. Become an all-rounder
I really feel its important these days to be well-versed in technology and be a bit of an all-rounder. Knowing some basic coding and editing allows you to understand what other suppliers or employees do and to be able to speak with some authority to them. I know of several senior marketers in large organisations who have no idea at all what their IT department or web developer is saying to them. As a result they make poor decisions. It’s only a matter of time before they’re found out and replaced by savvy young marketers with more all-round experience and knowledge.
The all-rounder can often get their foot in the door with companies and move towards their desired area of specialty later. But to be honest I believe that in most organisations the all-rounder is going to the future.
6. Keep reading and learning
This industry is dynamic and changing daily. Your Uni curriculum was out of date before you started. Subscribe to industry sites and blogs and devour as much information as you can. Learn about the latest technology and trends. Know what’s going on. Attend industry events, some are free, and listen to what people are talking about. Don’t stop reading and learning.
7. Market your way to employment
Know who you want to work for? Think you’re their next star recruit? Be brassy enough to create an inbound marketing campaign about hiring you or examining an aspect of their industry. Set up a site or blog, optimise it for search and fill it with great content directed at your desired employer. Use social networks to spread the word. Before you know it you could be on their radar via search or social.
The smart marketers are jumping to the front of the jobs queue by using modern inbound marketing strategies. It is much more effective than sending standard resumes and responding to employment ads.