- They follow the same outdated job search advice that every other candidate is using
- They don’t put in the extra effort it takes to build new skills and beat out the competition
How to get a #marketing job with no traditional experience... it's possible!Click To Tweet
Step 1: Get Clear On What You WantOne of the biggest mistakes that career changers make is heading straight to a job board and blasting out dozens of applications. The first step is any job search should always be getting crystal clear on exactly what you want. While this article is going to show you the exact steps you can take to land a job in marketing, by no means is it going to be easy. Applying for a new role, especially one that doesn’t exactly align with your background, is a full time job in and of itself. You don’t want to spend four months job searching only to end up in a role you can’t stand. The good news is that this problem is super easy to avoid by simply doing your research before you get started! Coschedule went ahead and did most of the heavy lifting for us by researching and breaking down the different types of marketing roles and consolidating them in this article. Reading that will give you a high level overview of the marketing landscape and help you take the first step in your search.
The Decision Funnel For Marketing: Digital vs. TraditionalWhen it comes to marketing, there are two overarching fields: traditional and digital. The first decision you need to make is which field you want to be a part of. Traditional marketing includes “old school” tactics like print advertising in newspapers, TV spots, or physical coupons. Digital marketing is comprised of all the tools and tactics you’ll find online like Content Marketing, Facebook Ads, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, etc. If you’re looking for a career that pays well in a field that’s primed to rapidly expand in the next 5-10 years, the answer is easy: you’re going the digital route. Digital marketing has been growing at an astonishing rate - in 2017, advertisers spent $209 billion on digital which made up 41% of the market (compared to traditional media’s 35%): Source That trend is only going to grow with Statistia reporting that advertisers plan to increase their digital budgets 12.3% in the next 12 months, while traditional media budgets continue to decline.
advertisers plan to increase their digital budgets 12.3% in the next 12 monthsClick To Tweet
Down The Digital Rabbit HoleNow that we’ve got the easy decision out of the way, things get a bit more interesting. Digital marketing is a HUGE field with tons of different areas and specialties. Picking an area to focus on may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s actually great news because there truly is something for everyone in the digital space. If you’re visually creative, you can go into user experience or video creation. If you love writing, content marketing is one of the hottest fields out there right now. If you’re all about crunching data, pay-per-click platforms like Google Adwords or Facebook Ads let you get super granular about your audience and site traffic. The question is, where do you begin? In my experience, the best place to start is building foundational knowledge with courses and resources that break down the basics of the entire digital marketing ecosystem. Your goal with these introductory resources is twofold:
- To understand the online marketing ecosystem and how each part works together to create a highly effective strategy that drives leads and sales
- Get a taste of the individual fields within the digital marketing space to help you decide which one you want to explore further and build your career around
Step 2: Narrow Your Focus & Expand Your KnowledgeOnce you’ve made it through the resources above, you should have a very solid idea of what fields you’re interested in pursuing. The next step on your journey will be to expand your knowledge in these fields, zero in on one, then find a way to build real-world results that you can use in lieu of “traditional” marketing experience. Let’s start with expanding your knowledge within your fields of interest. Over the next month, your goal is to consume as much information as you possibly can about the digital marketing fields you’re interested in. In my experience, the three fastest ways to learn new skills are:
- Take courses
- Join a community of people who are actively talking about the topic you’re interested in
- Find ways to apply what you learn to the real world
- Actionable Marketing Institute
- Hubspot Academy
- Udemy (your first course should only cost $9.99)
- Coursera (free courses from amazing universities like Princeton, MIT, and Stanford)
Step 3: Apply Your Knowledge To The Real WorldThis is where the rubber meets the road. As I mentioned before, anyone can take a course, get a certification, or lurk in an online community reading other people’s posts. I hate to break it to you, but that isn’t going to do much in the way of helping you stand out to potential employers. If you want to get hired in a marketing role, you need to find ways to get out there build real experience with real results! The two best methods for making this happens are freelancing or starting a passion project.
Freelancing: Getting Paid To LearnThe great part about marketing is that every single company needs it, from Amazon to your local gym. In the 4 Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss defines an expert as “someone who knows more about a topic than the person they’re speaking to.” You may not be the leading authority on Facebook Ads, but if you’ve taken a few courses, actively participated in FB Ad forums online, and spend a few of your own dollars testing the platform, I’ll bet you know WAY more than Jane CEO who spent 20 years as an administrative assistant and just quit to start her Etsy store. All you need to do is find someone who needs marketing help and has zero experience of their own. They will be happy to pay you (especially if your prices are lower than the competition to start out) and you’ll have the opportunity to build real-world results. This is exactly how I built the experience I needed to transition from the medical field into sales at Microsoft. I went to real estate agents in private communities and told them I’d be able to get them qualified leads for less money. I began running Google Ads to their listings and, six months later, we sold all of the properties on their site for less than ⅓ of the realtors' commission on a single house! Was I a Google Ads expert when we started? Absolutely not, but I was willing to roll up my sleeves, dive in, and solve the problems as they popped up. If I can do it, so can you. Finding Your First Client Since we’re in this for the experience, one of the best places to get started is Upwork. Upwork is a marketplace where freelancers offer their services to companies looking to hire someone on a short term basis. The site gets 34 million monthly visits - that’s a lot of people coming to find what you have to offer! All you need to do is create an account as a freelancer and begin submitting proposals for jobs. This saves you all the effort of managing your own outreach and sales, which can be afull-time job in and of itself. The hardest part here is landing your first job. Once you have that booked along with a review and testimonial, more gigs will flow your way.
Passion Projects: Create Something CoolWhile freelancing let’s you get paid to learn, not every field has an immediate path to monetization. In those cases, find a way to leverage your newfound skills to create something totally cool! If you want to be a copywriter, fire up a blog on Medium.com and begin pitching your posts to Medium’s top publications as well as other publications around the internet. Keep track of the views you accrue, number of social shares, and maybe even build an email list. All of those metrics can be used on your resume as a tangible illustration of the value you bring as a writer. Medium is great because it has a massive pre-existing audience and it hosts all of your posts for you: On top of that, it keeps track of all of your article metrics like pageviews, reads, and the number of followers you gained per post. All of these are awesome metrics to leverage as measurable value for a potential employer: If you want to be a videographer, come up with a crazy topic like interviewing interesting people while eating hot wings with increasing levels of heat or shoot a “commercial” about yourself to prove your skills: Get creative with your marketing and rack up as many views as you possibly can (posting to Reddit got Scott Overend 382,000 views!). Now you have a real video to add to your portfolio along with metrics showing that you know how to grab people’s attention - something every company wants. If you want to be a UX designer, do an audit of the company’s app or website and then share your findings in a deck or blog post. Cam, a student of mine, wanted a job at AirBnB. She went out and combed through social media to find the biggest pain points users were having with their app, then created a deck with mock ups of a solution for each (you can find the link to her full deck here): If you want to be a social media marketer, pick a niche, create a profile, and learn how to build your following. When I started my business, I built a following of 22,000 people on Instagram in less than 6 months (although I’ve stopped using it since): The idea here is to prove your value by actually going out and achieving results on your own. This is actually way more valuable to an employer than “traditional” experience because it shows that you’re willing to invest your own time and money to learn and grow. That will give you a huge advantage when you’re applying for jobs and your competition is leaning on cookie-cutter credentials. Finally, it’s important to set the expectation that building results takes time. Don’t be surprised if you need to invest several months in your project before you see results that you can actually use to land a new job. It took me six months to learn search engine marketing, get Google certified, land my first client, and begin generating results. The good news was that I was able to generate income from that project and it resulted in a huge raise with my new marketing job. Be patient, be persistent, and put a little bit of work in every day - the results will be worth it.
Step 4: Add Your Experience To Your Resume & ApplyAt this point in your journey, you’ve spent months honing your chops and building a portfolio of tangible results for yourself. Now we’re going to showcase your stuff to employers and land you that job! The biggest mistake people make when writing their resume, especially for a job in a different field, is failing to include their results. Instead, their resumes are littered with fluffy bullets like:
- “Implemented comprehensive social media plan”
- “Streamlined processes to increase efficiency and enhance quality”
- “Responsible for managing relationships with clients and growing revenue”
Step Outside of the Black & White BoxAndrew Cardenas is a graphic designer who works for an agency called GREY in New York. He brings his unique eye for design to some of the world’s top brands. One example was his “munch truck” concept for Seamless (the food delivery company). The idea aimed to help customers experience new food and restaurants outside of their delivery area by bringing the cuisine to them via a food truck. Rather than writing that in a few resume bullets, Andrew could leverage the visual nature of his work on his resume either in the skills or work experience sections of his resume: See that blue link in the image above? That could go to a blog post case study where Andrew walks through the entire creative process behind munch trucks as well as the results of the campaign. When you’re showcasing your experience on your resume, it’s critically import to write your bullets in a way that grabs the hiring manager’s attention and immediately conveys your value.
How To Effectively Convey Your Experience On Your ResumeOne trick I love recommending (that helped me land this guest post spot!) is leveraging CoSchedule’s advice on writing headlines to craft your resume bullets: You may not realize it, but the words you choose to use have a huge impact on how the reader perceives your value. According to CoSchedule, highly effective bullets include the following:
- They incorporate keywords and phrases - from a job seeker standpoint, this means including word from the job description to help you beat resume scanning software
- They use a mix of common, uncommon, emotional, and powerful words. If you need some help, check out this list of 500+ power words to use in your bullets
- They include numbers and data to drive the point home
Consolidating Everything You’ve Learned Into A Dream Job ApplicationNow it’s time for all of your hard work to pay off. If you followed the steps in the article, you spent the last few months:
- Gained a basic understanding of the digital marketing landscape through courses and online resources
- Decided on a specialty and took a deep dive into learning more about how that specific niche works as well as its place in the greater marketing ecosystem
- Found ways to apply your newfound marketing knowledge to the real world in order to build tangible results
- Revamped your resume to include the experience that you built yourself