Photo: Flickr/Dave Fayram
Think you need a marketing degree to break into the industry? Well, you might want to think again. Marketing is one of the most efficient methods of growing your business, but there are few qualitative ways of measuring that ability, which is why some people put a lot of stock in a marketing degree. However, marketing is primarily a creative-thinking position, and there aren’t a whole lot of college courses teaching that.You can generally find a simple entry-level position with your marketing degree, but unless you land a killer internship during your formative college years, you won’t be more than half a step ahead of anyone else trying to get started in the field. As an owner of a hard-earned marketing degree, it proves that you can stick with a discipline, and follow it through four gruelling years. That being said, any college degree will prove that as well. If you want to break into the field of marketing, or even advertising, all you have to do is play to your strengths. Here are a few tips to help make the process a little easier.
Determine Your Qualifications
First things first: what are your qualifications? Make a list of ALL positions, fields of study, scholarships, clubs, volunteer work, and areas of expertise. What does this list make you qualified to do? Can you parlay those six years working at a summer camp to your advantage? Hopefully you’ve got something to work with, but if it isn’t much, then you’d better heed the following advice!
Sorry mum and dad, but aiming for the moon doesn’t always work. Specialist fields are becoming increasingly competitive, and the pool of applicants continues to grow as the unemployment rate continues to rise. Don’t be afraid to start in an entry- level position, or as an unpaid intern. You might have to keep that Starbucks or waitressing position, but if you don’t have a marketing degree, it helps to get some kind of related experience on your resume.
Become an Expert
They say that the best sales people can sell anything, whether they believe in the product or not. While that bodes true in some cases, the easiest way to market or sell to people is to know your products inside and out. So, get related experience. Not all marketing jobs are create equal, so determine what types of products you’d like to market, and then become an expert in that niche.
Tweaking that Resume
Now that you’ve got a list of everything you’ve ever done since grade school, it’s time to use marketing language to fine-tune your resume. So your most recent position was as a waitress. Not to worry, we’ll call that “Sales Experience.” You didn’t spend more than 6 months in any one job? Now you’re “eager to learn,” and “always looking for a challenge.” There’s no consistency to your past job experience? I think that’s called, “versatility.” Oh, and you were a bartender at a busy restaurant? Sounds like you’ve got the ability to, “deal with conflicting priorities and deadlines.” Maybe you can enhance that to, “skilled at multitasking in high-stress scenarios.” See what we did there?
Start in Sales or Administration
You can use any sales or administration experience to get into the field of marketing. Many companies are more interested in promoting from within. Since Sales are generally commission-based positions, employers are more willing to take a risk on a newbie. While you’re there, you can learn the ins and outs of the product, and pay close attention to your target market. If you need to hone your professional side of things, any administration job will get you close to the ‘powers that be’ in your organisation, and provide numerous opportunities to declare your career goals, all while proving yourself as an excellent worker.
Put Your Strengths to Work
Look, there’s no easy way to say this. Some people are just better at certain things than others. Do you know what your strengths are? If you write well, showcase your abilities in a concise and punchy cover letter. Do you have a persuasive way about you? Well then, don’t be afraid to march into an office and convince somebody to grant you an interview. Little skills and traits might not seem like much, but they can add just enough oomph to get you in the door.
You can get almost any entry-level position without a degree or related experience, but moving up is all about proven results. No degree can prove your abilities, so take matters into your own hands, and market yourself with gusto!
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