How to Get Into Marketing

Floyd Wisozk
May 7, 2024
min read
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Forget Mad Men... How to Actually Get into Marketing in the Real World

Picture this: you're at a party, and someone asks, "So, what do you do?" You hesitate, then reply, "I'm in marketing." Cue blank stares and either awkward silence or a rambling explanation about how it's not JUST making ads (though a well-done ad is pretty awesome).

The truth is, marketing is a vast and exciting field with a surprising number of paths you can take. Whether you're a recent graduate, a total career switcher, or just curious about the industry, let's dive into how to get your foot in the door.

Step 1 - Self-Discovery (The Less Woo-Woo Kind)

Before you start applying for jobs, figure out these essentials:

  • Your strengths: Are you a wordsmith, a data wizard, or a social media butterfly? Know what you bring to the table.
  • Your interests: B2B sales? Fashion? Sustainable brands? Find what excites you, or you'll burn out faster than a cheap scented candle.
  • Your desired lifestyle: Do you crave agency life's hustle, the stability of in-house work, or the flexibility of freelance? Be honest with yourself.

Step 2 - Get Educated (No, You Don't Always Need a Fancy Degree)

  • Free Online Resources: Blogs, online courses (HubSpot Academy is a great start), and even marketing podcasts will give you the lingo.
  • Books by the Gurus: Marketing classics like "Ogilvy on Advertising" provide timeless principles even in a digital world.
  • Short Courses or Boot Camps: These can quickly skill you up in specific areas like digital marketing or copywriting.
  • Traditional Degree: Helpful if you have the time and resources, but not always necessary for entry-level gigs.

Step 3 - Build Your Online Presence

Think of yourself as a brand - how will potential employers find you?

  • LinkedIn makeover: Optimize your profile with keywords and detail your experience (even relevant volunteer work counts!).
  • Start a blog or website: Showcase your writing, design, or even marketing experiments.
  • Be active on social: Join relevant groups, engage in thoughtful discussions, showing you're part of the conversation.

Step 4 - The Power of Your Network

  • Tap into who you know: Friends, family, former professors - let them know about your career goals. You never know what opportunities may arise.
  • Attend (non-creepy) industry events: Meetups, conferences... even online webinars help you make connections.
  • Informational interviews: Reach out to people in roles you admire and ask if they have time for a quick coffee (virtual or real) and career advice.

Step 5 - Get ANY Experience

Yes, your dream job might not be the first one, but treat each opportunity as a stepping stone:

  • Internships are gold: Even if unpaid, they offer real-world experience and can lead to full-time positions.
  • Volunteer your skills: Local nonprofits or small businesses often need marketing help and are grateful for enthusiastic hands.
  • Freelance like a boss: Platforms like Upwork may have smaller projects, but they help build your portfolio and client experience.

Bonus Tips That Won't Make You Cringe

  • Be a sponge: Ask questions, observe how things work, and always be willing to learn something new.
  • Get comfortable with rejection: It's part of the process. Dust yourself off and keep applying!
  • Track your progress: Update your resume regularly, note down accomplishments, and it'll motivate you when the job search gets tough.
  • Find a mentor (real-life, not just LinkedIn stalking): Having someone to bounce ideas off of is invaluable.

It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Breaking into marketing takes a combination of hustle, strategic thinking, and the occasional reality check when comparing your journey with curated Instagram feeds.  But hey, at least it's a more exhilarating ride than accounting, right? (No offense to the accountants!)

Need Some Help on the Digital Side of Marketing?

Speaking of things more thrilling than spreadsheets, building an outstanding eCommerce website is crucial for any business hoping to stand out online.  That's where we come in! Our eCommerce website building expertise helps brands boost sales and customer engagement. Let's chat - a free consultation could take you one step closer to those marketing dreams!

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Floyd Wisozk

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