Marketing 101: The ultimate career guide

A lucrative and booming industry to be a part of, marketing makes the world go round. In a time where we’re increasingly reliant on digital awareness and technology, marketing employees are the backbone of any company, promoting and building awareness for their brand. From content writing and PR to social media and tech, there are a number of ways that a company can market their goods or services. An innovative, forward-thinking marketing team is behind every successful business, offering varying talents and skills, from creativity and communications to analytics and research. Looking to kick-start your marketing career? This guide will help you understand the experience, skills and education needed to be successful in your future as a marketing professional. 

What skills do you need to pursue a career in marketing?

The first thing to think about on your marketing career path is your skillset. Marketing professionals use a combination of natural skills and learned experience to succeed in their jobs, so solidifying your personal skills with a qualification relevant to the industry is generally an essential requirement for most employers. 

It also doesn’t matter what type of marketing job you go for, as the majority of skills you’ll need are transferable and universal across a range of sectors and roles. 

Personal skills

To really thrive in the fast-paced world of marketing, there are a few personality traits and people skills that you’ll need. 

  • Time management: Whatever marketing career you choose, you’ll need to be organised. The marketing industry never switches off, so you’ll be frequently striving to hit tough deadlines and working on numerous projects at once. To succeed in this area, you’ll need to learn how to prioritise tasks and manage your own time. 
  • Communication: On a daily basis, you’ll be talking to different people and conferring with both employees and clients at every seniority level. This means that whether you’re communicating via phone, email, video chat or in person, you’ll need to carry your inter-personal skills with you at all times. Got a problem with a client? It’s down to you to communicate effectively and resolve it. Meeting a big director for the first time? You’ll need to be sociable, friendly and professional simultaneously. Having an in-house meeting? Don’t be shy – marketing is all about having a voice and sharing your creativity with others. 
  • Creativity: Speaking of creativity, every marketing career will involve building and executing different strategies and campaigns. For this, embodying the gift of creativity is an absolute must. 
  • Passion: Regardless of the degree you achieve or the experience you have, you’ll still need a strong passion for learning and growth. Although most marketing roles will focus on a specialism - such as SEO or social media - you’ll need to be persistent in your personal development, consistently learning more about other forms of marketing. Not only does this personal trait help the company that employs you, but it’s also a worthwhile investment in your own future. 

Technical skills

The field of digital marketing is an expanding industry, and technical skills are right at the heart of everything you’ll do in your marketing career. 

  • SEO: Having a basic understanding of SEO and how it works will give you better opportunities to lead marketing strategies. The majority of marketing courses will cover SEO, but there is also a huge variety of online resources in this area. If you have the essential ‘Google it’ mentality that comes with any marketing career, learning about SEO should be an easy task. 
  • Content Management Systems: Swaying more towards a career in content marketing? Digital marketing employees use content management systems to create, manage and publish content on websites. Knowing how to use one or two of these systems will stand you in good stead for job applications further down the line. 
  • Microsoft: It doesn’t matter what your marketing career path looks like, because regardless of what it is, not a day will go by where you’re not utilising Microsoft Office as a primary resource. Marketing professionals need to type memos and reports, create presentations and build spreadsheets to organise and communicate complex information. Tools such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint will help you do this effectively. 
  • Graphic Design: If your creativity knows no bounds, you’re probably looking at a future in graphic design. Getting to grips with programmes like Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator will keep you way ahead of the curve in a competitive job market. 
  • Marketing Software: One of the most crucial elements of any marketing career is research. Without the skills to track metrics, automate campaigns or analyse data using various types of marketing software, you’ll fall behind in a busy crowd. 

Want to ensure you’ve mastered all these skills before getting started on your marketing career journey? Studying a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in your relevant area of interest is a guaranteed way to make it happen. 

How to get a job in marketing

So, you’ve mastered the skills, you’ve done the hard work and you’ve graduated. What comes next?

If you’re wondering how to get a job in marketing, it’s all about the way you present yourself. What makes you stand out? Having a killer CV and cover letter that are tailored to each role you apply for is a great start, but sometimes you need to go one step further. 

  • Find work experience: Even without a degree, a lot of companies will hire you based on your experience. And it doesn’t even need to be a professional internship or a paid work placement. While you’re studying, start a blog about something that interests you and demonstrate its progress on your application. Maybe you’ve done a degree before that’s loosely related to marketing, such as journalism or PR? Find out what modules are relevant to the role you’re applying for and highlight them in your application. Experience comes in many different forms, it’s just about how you express it. 
  • Be bold: Good marketing is all about being bold and brave in your creative choices. When you’re applying for jobs, contact the hiring manager directly, and always address them by name. Be personal, colloquial and upfront about why you’re the best person for the job. Don’t hide behind the computer with your CV. Instead, send a video of yourself that really shows off your personality. The key to getting your foot in the door is being remembered. Often, great people skills, manners, professionalism and the experience and knowledge to back it up is enough to land you that dream role, so just be yourself. 
  • Choose the right degree: If you’re interested in a specific area of marketing, make sure you study for a degree that focuses on that specialism by researching your course options in great detail. For a qualification that really gives you the edge, choose a degree that is accredited by the CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing)

Types of marketing jobs

When it comes to a marketing career, the world is your oyster. Every company needs good marketing, so you’ll find that graduate marketing jobs are widely available. The best part is, digital marketing is an essential component of businesses across the globe, so your qualification can take you anywhere you want to go. 

First things first, you’ll need to decide if you’re more suited to an in-house marketing career or agency life. Agencies are typically a freer, yet more high-pressure environment. The client can’t walk over to your desk every hour to check up on you, but the success of the business does depend on the results you achieve. The good thing about agencies is, there’s much more variety in your day-to-day working life, and a much stronger sense of teamwork. 

Choosing a role as part of an in-house team will often mean that your days are less fast-paced, as you’re responding to the needs of the business. But the great thing about an in-house environment is you’ll know the business inside out, so you’ll be better positioned to get as creative as you like with your marketing strategies. However, if you work somewhere that specialises in just one or two products, be prepared to live and breathe that product – no matter how dull it might be! 

Whichever environment you opt for, the types of marketing jobs out there are endless. Some of the areas you might want to specialise in are:

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
  • Content/Copywriting
  • Web Development
  • Graphic Design
  • Social Media
  • Paid Media/Ads
  • Tech 
  • Inbound Marketing
  • Sales
  • Print Marketing

Kick-start your marketing career with Arden University

Keen to gain advanced marketing skills and knowledge? With Arden University, you’ll learn everything you need to know to demonstrate to employers that you can support real change in their organisations. Designed to get you started on your marketing career path, our range of courses in marketing allow you to master several unique skills, from how to create a structured, strategic marketing plan, to managing a marketing budget. Ready to get started? Head to our course finder page to find your future today.