11 Tips to Land Your First Marketing Job
Posted on 03/07/2023
What is one tip you’d offer to someone looking to land their first job in marketing?
To help you land your first marketing job, we asked marketing professionals, hiring managers, and recruiters this question for their insights. From looking into internships to networking, there are several tips you can use to find your first job in marketing.
Here are 11 tips to landing your first marketing job:
- Check for a Culture Fit
- Show Enthusiasm and Ask Questions
- Get a Grasp of the Fundamentals
- Build a Portfolio
- Follow Marketing Experts
- Be Curious
- Look Into Internships
- Create a Website or Blog
- Prioritize Networking
- Freelance for Family and Friends
- Learn a Specialty
Check for a Culture Fit
One factor to take into consideration is the company culture of a marketing agency. Research potential employers and find out what you can about their company culture and core values to determine how you’ll fit into the agency. Often, marketing companies share details about their culture, such as work-life balance, on social media platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn. If you feel that your personal values are in sync with a marketing agency’s, apply to the role and mention your aligned values in your cover letter.
Jon Schneider, Recruiterie
Show Enthusiasm and Ask Questions
I hire a lot of recent graduates and oddly really enjoy the interview process. It is fun to get to know the candidates, and I feed off their enthusiasm. I know they typically don’t really have the skills, but that is ok. I am confident we can train them.
But what I can’t do is instill enthusiasm and curiosity. These are the most important traits I look for when interviewing. So a candidate should not be afraid to show their excitement for the opportunity and ask plenty of questions. Candidates should show they have thought about the opportunity, the company, how success is measured. Heck, even ask what I do for fun. The worst is when it comes to the final third of the interview, which I save for questions, and they don’t have any.
Eric Rutin, Marketing Mentor
Get a Grasp of the Fundamentals
Don’t get overwhelmed with the jargon and technical terms you come across while preparing for the interview. There are dozens of new concepts and trends that gain a foothold and eventually fade away in the marketing industry.
Get a firm grasp on the basics and fundamentals, and be confident while answering questions in the interview. If you have any relevant experience (internships or working at college events), be sure to highlight it and make the learning from it the centerpiece of your application and interview. Good luck!
Joe Flanagan, VelvetJobs
Build a Portfolio
As you start to consider your job possibilities in marketing, start taking some of your best work to build a portfolio. Whether the work is from school, your current profession, freelancing, or the like, having examples of your writing or strategies you contributed to with reports of their success will help potential employers see what ‘capable of. Creating a portfolio website that showcases your work and resume is even better, so employers can get a curated glimpse of your talent.
Meryl Schulte, Markitors
Follow Marketing Experts
As someone looking to land their first job, you likely won’t have a ton of relevant experience to make yourself more desirable than other candidates. That’s why I recommend following experts in your desired niche so that you can cite them as your source of industry news and inspiration.
Make sure you start following them well in advance so that you can accurately describe their content if asked to do so. This will present you as someone who proactively seeks out opportunities to learn about the industry. It also gives you and the interviewer some common ground for discussion, as they will likely know who you are referencing.
Jake Smith, Absolute Reg
If you are looking to get your first job in marketing, you need to be curious. There are so many different aspects to marketing, and some might be more interesting to you than others. Ask questions. Read articles. Follow marketers on social media.
You can set up an informational interview or a shadow day with a marketer or reach out to a local marketing association, and they may be able to connect you. At this interview, find out what goes into that person’s job and see what skills they recommend you have as you begin a career in marketing.
Jennifer Klemmetson, Klemmetson Communications
Look Into Internships
When looking for a job in marketing, you might find that many jobs require years of experience to apply. This is why it might be best for you to look for an internship first. Interning at a marketing agency is a great way to grow your experience and gain traction in your field. There are many internships available at agencies, and it would be a great place to start to find your first job in marketing.
Chris Gadek, AdQuick
Create a Website or Blog
Your website is your cover letter by excellence. It is the way to attract the attention of human resources professionals and show what you are worth. If you want to find your first job in marketing, a professional website is always a worthwhile investment. You don’t need to over complicate your life: a simple, clean, and well-designed website can be even better than one that is cluttered with content.
Where you should create as much content as possible is on your blog. I recommend that every marketing student have one even before finishing their training. Through your posts, you can demonstrate your knowledge of the industry. And, above all, a quality that excites employers is a passion for what you do.
Natalia Brzezinska, PhotoAiD
Networking is a great tool to land your first job in marketing, along with gaining more experience and gathering information about the industry you want to join. Marketing for one industry is going to look entirely different than marketing for another. Networking can give you a better idea of what the trends are in each industry and find out what is going to work for your career.
Nancy Belcher, Winona
Freelance for Family and Friends
In order to get started in marketing, you need to gain some experience. You can try freelancing for friends and family so that you can compile a portfolio of work to show during interviews. You can offer your services for free or for a small fee. It’s good to be able to showcase your skills when you’re trying to get a marketing job, so having writing and graphic design samples or data from social media pages you’ve helped manage can be beneficial.
Courtney Buhler, SugarLash PRO
Learn a Specialty
It would definitely be helpful to expand your knowledge even further in one or two particular areas of marketing (such as copywriting or social media) in order to increase your chances of being hired for more specialized positions. You can then do some more explaining about your background in your cover letter, especially if you are changing career paths.
Amber Theurer, ivee