Guide for starting a career in marketing


Interested in pursuing a career in marketing? It can be confusing to know where to start when looking at such a large industry, so we’ve put together a list of tips as a guide for getting your first job and beginning a successful career!

What is marketing?

We all encounter marketing in our everyday lives. It is the reason you know which brand this is without any text, and if I whistled a certain tune, you’d immediately think of fast-food chain McDonalds.

Credit: Logo quiz app

However, many people outside the industry think that marketing is just about selling more products, when in reality it is more complex than that. An example of marketing activity that isn’t trying to sell a product or service is Business Sheffield, who promote the Sheffield region as a place for potential businesses to set-up offices. The ultimate goal of marketing is to influence people’s perceptions of something, usually in a positive way. It could be a place, brand, company, political party, sports team or something else.

Different types of jobs in marketing

There are countless roles in marketing, so we could be here all day if I went through each one. Instead, I’ll talk about the different companies you could end up working for.

Lots of marketers work for an agency, such as ours. Marketing agencies get paid to create campaigns and carry out marketing work for other companies, this could be because the company doesn’t have a marketing department or the in-house team lacks the necessary expertise to make it a success.

Some large companies have their own in-house marketing department. These typically include many full-time employees, each with a different role within the team.

There are also lots of small businesses that have a single person who manages sales and marketing (although these are different things). If a company isn’t big enough for multiple team members, they often hire someone who carries out all sales and marketing responsibilities.

With so many different roles, you may be thinking ‘which one is right for me?’, but the answer depends on you as an individual, including your motivation factors and areas of expertise. I recommend trying out all three and decided which is right for you.

  1. Make the most out of free courses

If you want to get a flavour for marketing (especially digital) or don’t want to commit to studying at university, free online courses can help. There are a number of courses that can help you dip your toe in and see if it’s right for you. They also give you accreditation you can put on your CV to help your application stand out.

Google’s Digital Garage has over 144 courses, 28 of which are focused on digital marketing. The most useful marketing course is called ‘Fundamentals of digital marketing’. It takes 40 hours and is accredited by the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe and The Open University.

HubSpot Academy also offer similar courses. They cover a range of topics including social media, email marketing, SEO, content marketing and inbound sales. If you pass the course then you are awarded a certificate you can add to your LinkedIn or CV.

  1. Undertake freelance work

If you’re looking to secure your first marketing role, it is worth considering undertaking a freelance job to begin with. Employers can be reluctant to take on permanent staff as they might not have the money or enough work to be carried out.

The flexibility of freelancing means the employer can get some labour as and when they need, while you can get experience in marketing whilst studying at college or university, as well as a bit of extra cash!

Freelancing is a great way to get your foot in the door in a company as it gives them a chance to put your skills to the test. Think of it as a probation period, after which an employer may be impressed by your work and decided to offer you a permanent role.  This is a two way street and gives you the chance to see if it’s a company you’d want to work for.

  1. Check marketing specific job boards

The variety of companies and roles in marketing mean there are lots of ways to find a job. Large PLC’s are likely to have a dedicated careers website, whereas smaller companies may advertise positions on a section of their website or on job search boards.

One tool you should be utilising in your job search is marketing specific job search boards, such as The Drum Jobs or Marketing Week. These are helpful as all the jobs will be relevant to your search. In addition to this, they often have jobs that are not advertised elsewhere so it’s important to keep checking regularly.

Author: Frankie Riley-Joyce

Company: awesome. strategic brand & digital agency