If you’re a college student looking for a marketing job, chances are your resume is stuffed with classes and internships. Marketing degrees have grown in popularity over the past decade, but that doesn’t mean having one alone will open doors – especially if you don’t have any actual marketing experience to put on your resume.

 “A lot of people come out of school now with good grades and no practical experience,” says Ann Marie Wiersch, senior economist at The Conference Board. “They’re not getting hired like they used to be.”

According to Wiersch, employers now require more work experience than they did before the recession hit. They want candidates who can walk in the door ready to make an immediate contribution. So if you don’t have a lot of professional experience, how can you get some?

How do I start a career in digital marketing?

This is a question I get asked a lot. In general, “digital marketing” is extensive and can include many different tasks depending on the company or industry you work in.

I recommend starting where you are now – think about what you do every day at your current job and what skills would be valuable to learn/make use of in a digital marketing role. This should give you a good idea of where to start looking for positions.

In terms of qualifications, it depends on what kind of role you’re after but from personal experience, I’ve found that those without the relevant certifications aren’t as competitive as those with them due to the time and cost involved in completing them (so definitely don’t rule yourself out if you haven’t got them).

Lastly, you should be able to demonstrate the role you’ve had within your current company and why it would provide relevant skills. Again, as long as this is done well, it’s one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from other candidates.

How do I get a marketing job with no experience?

A new job search site posting asked the question, “I have a B.S. in marketing and no marketing knowledge. So how do I get myself in the marketing” Here are some ideas to help you answer that question:

Start with entry-level positions

Many companies hire straight out of college for internships or entry-level positions. If you don’t find anything at your school, look online or ask professors if they know of any contacts within companies currently hiring (you may not want to mention you’re looking for an internship; employers may give preference to students who wish to be employees).

Expand your network by starting a side business

The best way to get a professional job is to start one yourself. First, create your blog or website. Then, write articles for local publications. Next, start a small business on the side, then use it to acquire marketing experience. Finally, use your free time to build skills to help you succeed in your career of choice.

Volunteer

Volunteering is not always about charity; sometimes, it’s simply another way to gain relevant work experience. If money is tight, investigate volunteer positions related to marketing or your desired industry (you can likely find some through connections). However, if possible, avoid doing pro-bono work for free – it doesn’t look good on resumes and doesn’t pay anything either!

Do some networking

Networking doesn’t have to be cookie-cutter; look into each organization that interests you and find out what type of volunteer opportunities they offer. Then, with a bit of creativity, you can get the right experience and not break the bank.

Take classes

After you’ve started your side business or landed an internship, take classes to maintain your interest in a marketing career and further develop your skills and expertise. This is a great way to keep your mind refreshed and up-to-date on new methods and technologies within the industry.

Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask others if they know of any networking events that might be helpful for you; make sure not to come off as desperate (that should go without saying, but if you feel like you’re getting nowhere fast, it’s OK to plead your case).

Volunteer with a non-profit

Working for a not-for-profit organization is a great way to gain exposure to the business world and fashion your credentials. Volunteering will give you experience that will stand out when applying for jobs at businesses, and it might even lead to an offer (which can add weight to your resume). Keep in mind that some companies prefer employees with non-profit experience; look into what types of opportunities are available where you live.

Create opportunities

If none of the above appeals to you, make it happen by starting or joining some type of industry or networking group on campus (or in your community), volunteering with an existing group, or becoming active in social media groups related to marketing. Look beyond what’s available, and create your opportunities by starting a side business.

Use free online tools

If you have a limited budget but a desire to gain experience, you can use free online marketing tools to create your website or blog where you can list the skills and expertise you have. If it’s good, someone is eventually going to find it!

Social media coordinator

Not everyone is looking to hire a social media marketer just yet. A lot of companies are hiring social media coordinators instead. These people are responsible for managing the company’s social channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). If you can prove your worth by creating strong content and engaging with followers on behalf of the company, they may consider you for more advanced marketing jobs later on.

Employers often look at how potential employees present themselves online also; make sure everything you post is professional and consistent with how you want to be perceived in the future.

Get an internship

Internships are great opportunities that allow students to get their feet wet before landing a “real” job. They provide real-world experience, insight into future work environments, and a network of contacts.

Many internships are unpaid, which can be difficult if you’re also working a part-time job or have other financial responsibilities. So get as much experience as possible by taking on as many internships during your college career to help offset the costs – not to mention it looks perfect on a resume to list several positions in various industries instead of just one.

What are the essential marketing skills?

Various marketing skills can be considered essential, depending on which industry you work in. For example, things like Photoshop and Google Analytics might be critical if you work in the world of design or IT.

In a nutshell, a good marketing person should have strong analytical thinking skills because they need to know how to read data from various reports and identify trends for their company’s growth and do things like creating graphics for social media channels. In addition, it helps if they’re fluent in at least two programming languages ” just so long as one includes either HTML5 or PHP because these need regular updating with new code.

In the end, it’s more important to have a good personality and fit for the position than anything else. So, for example, if you’re applying to be a social media coordinator with a company that already has an established presence on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram but you don’t use any of these platforms personally because you think they’re pointless – well, there’s your first problem right there!

It’s also beneficial if you can offer some knowledge about marketing through reading articles or books. This demonstrates that you care about staying informed in the industry and shows that you’re willing to invest your time into improving yourself.

How to get yourself into the marketing world?

Although many companies are increasingly asking job applicants to have at least some experience before they apply, it’s still possible to enter the marketing world without any formal qualifications or previous background.

This is a fast-paced industry, and the main thing that employers look at is how you present yourself online. So while internships are great options, you could also try getting involved with freelancing sites like Fiverr if you have little to no work experience.

Most people who build up enough of a reputation on these platforms find themselves transitioning into full-time paid jobs later on because their skills are in demand.

Also, you can get into the marketing world by reading these articles!

Summary

Before applying anywhere, do your research so you have a clear understanding of what each role entails. Then show how you can contribute to the company, highlight your successes and use them to illustrate how you’ll achieve similar results again.

Author

A data-driven professional with more than 10 years of experience in digital marketing, SEO, PPC, automation, and so on. Privately tea lover, gamer, tech nerd, and traveler. I love writing about marketing!

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