By Christina Nguyen
Have you just graduated from college? Or, are you looking to make a career switch to marketing from your current role? You’ve probably heard people tell you that you “need experience to get a job.” But how do you get that experience without getting the job first? It’s the constant dilemma for those who want to do something new.
Contrary to what you might initially think, Marketing has plenty of entry-level roles that can be won with little or no experience. Here are a few steps you should take if you’re seeking that new marketing job. Remember, it takes time, so stick with it for a while before expecting results!
Even if you have a bachelor's degree in marketing, degrees often don’t cover specific on-the-job skills. Fortunately, you don’t need to drop tens of thousands of dollars on another degree to gain those practical skills. There are plenty of marketing certifications available online on Google, HubSpot, LinkedIn Learning, Marketing Nice Guys, and Udemy that teach several practical facets of digital marketing, such as paid ads, content strategy, inbound marketing, and Google Analytics. Many certifications are free or low-cost too. If you have a larger budget to spare, you can check out our partner, Marketing Nice Guys, which will offer boot camps and one-one-one training on various topics starting in the late October 2020.
No academic or work experience is needed to start a blog, Facebook page, YouTube channel, or Instagram account. Find a topic you’re passionate about (and/or one you have insights on), find the most appropriate platform, then share your creations and thoughts with the world. You don’t have to start your own company – an Instagram account curating photos and videos of cute fluffy dogs will work. The type of content you post, how you write your captions and hashtags, how you respond to comments, and how you brand your account (username, logo, bio) should reflect that you understand branding and marketing principles.
If writing is your forte, start a blog! There are many websites out there that’ll help you make professional-looking blogs, such as Wordpress or Squarespace. Blogging can show that you’d make an excellent copywriter or content strategist.
Volunteer work is usually part-time and can be acquired with little to no experience, as long as you have some educational background. It won’t be paid, but you’ll learn valuable skills and build meaningful connections along the way. Many nonprofits seek volunteers to help them promote their causes, so find a cause you care about and reach out. Restaurants and small businesses also need help in marketing. If you help those organizations grow or find new revenue streams, it’s very possible your work will lead to a paid job.
Even though it’ll be a while before we can have in-person gatherings again, there are still virtual networking opportunities. Check meetup.com and eventbrite.com for plenty of events. One benefit of most events being virtual now is that you can access an event held by an organization across the country. No need to stay limited to your city!
Don’t go into a networking event expecting for someone to offer you a job on the spot or even consider you after a 5-minute conversation. Networking is primarily about getting to know other people. Approach it with the goal of building relationships rather than finding opportunities. Build some genuine, meaningful relationships first, then opportunities will come from that.
Networking will also help you find mentors and other people in a similar position as you. Not every helpful person needs to be a hiring manager. Just getting to know others in the field can help you develop valuable insights and teach you new tips you wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
When you finally apply to the marketing jobs, following any of the above steps will help you demonstrate that you possess initiative, motivation, passion, and drive. This will certainly help you stand out through the piles of resumes that hiring managers receive. Good luck and stay resilient out there!
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