I’m always seeing a lot of posts on here from students asking how they can start their career in marketing. I wrote an article on how to do just that and thought I’d share it here to hopefully help someone out.
Just 3 years ago, I knew absolutely nothing about marketing. I couldn’t even give you an example of what it was outside of advertising. Today, I am finishing up my last semester at university with a job waiting for me after I graduate.
If you’re like 3-years-ago me and want to start working in marketing but don’t know where to start, here’s a list I put together of the very steps that helped me go from working at a grocery store to getting a full-time job offer from HubSpot within less than 2 years:
Take (FREE!) online certifications. Online certifications like HubSpot Academy and Google Analytics are a great way to familiarize yourself with the latest in digital marketing. I’m finishing up my bachelor’s in marketing now and there are still some basic concepts like SEO that have barely been mentioned in my classes, so school shouldn’t be your only education source. There are plenty of amazing free resources out there from big-name companies, don’t waste your money on those.
Update your resume. Add these certifications on your resume and LinkedIn profile. While the certifications themselves may not hold a lot of value to an employer, being a student, it shows that you have enough drive to actively go and educate yourself. Plus, having big names like HubSpot or Google on your resume really catches people’s attention. I can’t tell you how many interviews I’ve been on where people asked me about my HubSpot certifications because, while they knew of the company, they didn’t know about the courses they offer. It was a great conversation starter and helped get them interested in my application.
Apply to ANY marketing job you can find, even if it’s unpaid. Once you have a good enough understanding of digital marketing, start applying to jobs. Here is not the time to be picky, you’re just looking to have any practical experience to add to your resume. My first marketing job was an unpaid internship working remotely for a startup. I worked for them while working my min wage job at a grocery store and going to school, mostly handling their social media as well as write content for them. As far as I know, the company never really took off, but I was able to increase my responsibilities and gained enough experience to move on to a paid part-time social media role. This part-time job then helped me land an internship at a big tech company, which then got me an internship at HubSpot, where I will be returning full time after this semester. Something else you can do is find a small business that might need help with marketing their company and offer your help for free (who knows, it might even lead to a paid job if you’re doing well enough). It’s all about getting your foot in the door. As a tip, social media marketing is probably the easiest way to get your foot in since you probably already have a good understanding of how these platforms work.
Build your portfolio and experience by marketing your own blog and/or business. If you’re struggling on the job front or would rather work on your own schedule, create your own opportunities. The cool thing about marketing is that you can start doing marketing right now. You don’t need to wait for someone to give you a shot. The easiest way to do this is to start a blog and market that. You can also start an online business and use marketing to promote it. This allows you to put your knowledge in practice and gives you work experience on your resume with tangible results. You can also keep applying for jobs while working on your own project.
TL;DR: Be proactive and make your own opportunities happen BEFORE you graduate. Don’t depend on others to teach you things and give you a job. Learn about marketing online and start practicing your skills right away.