The world of marketing can seem like an impenetrable industry that requires extensive experience and a plethora of degrees. In many cases, sadly, this is the case, however, the industry is definitely not impenetrable.
The reason I know this is that in the last few years I have managed to get a foot in the marketing industry with a degree in History, not marketing or business. On the contrary, sometimes having a different degree can help, as it provides a variety of different skills. History certainly provided me with extensive experience in writing, which is what I now do as a Freelance Writer for Irish Parcels, as well as My Baggage and NI Parcels.
If you are looking to get a foot in the marketing industry and are unsure where to start hopefully this article can help!
Use Free Online Courses
Without experiences or formal education in marketing, I was always going to be at a slight disadvantage. However, I really have a passion for marketing and needed a way into the industry.
Thankfully, we have the internet. There are so many free online resources that you could never work your way through them all. Firstly, FutureLearn is a tool I have used often. It is a free service in which Universities provide online courses, usually presented by a relevant lecturer. I found several marketing courses there that expanded my marketing knowledge and gave me a grounding. Likewise, OpenLearn is a similar and excellent tool. Both can provide tangible qualifications if you pay a fee, which can provide substance to your CV. If not it can still be used as evidence of your interest.
It’s important to work on honing your skills in different areas like social media advertising or creative writing. Youtube is packed with presentations, podcasts and explanations of marketing terms and processes. Again it is totally free and can be accessed at any time. Giving yourself a basic knowledge base is a great place to start meaning discussions with those in the industry are easier to follow and it will express you are really engaged. Even just getting to grips with the jargon is a massive step forward.
You can’t know everything but it is a great place to start off.
Be Bold and Ask
The next thing I did was simply to ask and seek advice. Be bold and speak to your managers or the marketing team. When I joined the My Baggage Group I worked entirely in customer service. Then around six months in I expressed my interest and passion for marketing. I explained that it is where I wanted to be and that I would gain massively from just shadowing the marketing team.
The director and I discussed my interest and my desire to get into the world of copywriting, research and blog writing.
It was a perfect place to start. I worked away part-time for several weeks changing the copy of different web pages to increase traffic. This experience showed that I was willing to put in the work and what I was able to do. I now had my foot in the door.
As time progressed and I demonstrated my work, I was then placed on creating blog posts for the different companies. This is exactly where I want to be and I was given the chance to write articles that really interest me.
Of course, it helps greatly that my director was open to helping me expand my marketing repertoire, but this definitely is where many businesses are going. A new mentality in workplaces is putting more emphasis on attitude than just aptitude.
So, the lesson from my experience is to be bold. Express your interest, show the work you can do and the studying you have done. Even if you can just spend some time discussing ideas with the relevant team it can be invaluable. There is absolutely nothing to be lost from enquiring. If anything it will at least show your willingness to learn and progress.
Go To Events and Get Networking
Marketing events are one of the most essential resources for someone looking to get a foot in the marketing industry. Firstly, they provide a plethora of fascinating talks and workshops that help explain new ideas and systems. Keeping up to date with the changes and progressions of the marketing world is essential.
Events can be one single lecture or a full conference, either way, they are well worth attending. Most events will not expect there to be any prior knowledge as long as you are willing to cover the cost. However, again back to the previous point, some businesses may cover this cost as part of a training initiative. It never hurts to ask.
The most vital part of the events though is the connections you make. Speak to people, engage in discussion groups and even join in the many social events. Take email addresses, ask questions and make connections.
Marketing events are brilliant for getting your foot in the door as well as being a fun excursion in general. I went to one when I first started writing and cannot express enough the benefit of them.
Use Your Own Connections
Finally, stick to what you know. That may sound simple but it isn’t always.
What I mean by this is to use the connections and interests that you already possess. Volunteer your work or ask around for opportunities with these connections.
One of the proudest pieces of work I have ever done is an article for The British Exploring Society and was my first piece to ever be published. BES is close to my heart and a charity I have worked with before. I raised some money for them and had chatted previously about my love for writing. They asked me to write an article for them to encourage others to donate.
I never expected this opportunity and it simply arose from my connections with a charity and work I was doing anyway. This experience was something I placed on my CV but the feeling was incredible.
So, have a think about what interests and connections you already possess and just go for it. Email them, ask if you can write or discuss ideas with them and see where it goes. Again, (I know I harp on) be bold and see what happens. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
These are just a few ways that worked for me in getting a foot in the marketing world. Each person’s experiences are different but they certainly can work. I would say be bold, never stop asking for opportunities and learn all you can!
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