The marketing, advertising and sales sector is varied, creative, rewarding and highly competitive. This guide is packed with insider tips on how to get essential experience that will help you to stand out from the crowd...
Who works in this sector?
The marketing, advertising and sales sector is a particularly broad one which includes many different roles. In a nutshell, marketing is the process through which products and services move from concept to the customer. This usually involves creating a product, finding out whether it’s in demand, deciding on its price, advertising it to customers, and selling it. People who work in marketing might also help a company to develop its brand identity, build a strong relationship with its customers, and maintain an online presence.
Here are three popular roles within this sector:
- Marketing executives promote a company’s products, services or brand.
- Your day-to-day tasks might include: developing a marketing strategy for a business which demonstrates their core values and visual persona, managing year-on-year marketing campaigns across various media, and doing research on customer and market trends.
- Click here to read more about this role in our Careers library (you will need to be logged in).
Social media manager
- Social media managers communicate with an organisation’s customers and clients through social media channels.
- Your day-to-day tasks might include: managing the activity of all social media accounts; developing a social media strategy that represents the business’s core values, visual identity and tone of voice; and searching for interesting posts, news and articles to attract site visitors.
- Click here to read more about this role in our Careers library.
- Graphic designers create visual branding, adverts, brochures, magazines, website designs, product packaging and displays.
- Your day-to-day tasks might include: developing the business’s brand using fresh, innovative design; working with the marketing team on digital, outdoor, and print design; and developing the business’s brand using fresh, innovative design.
- Click here to read more about this role in our Careers library.
Other roles within this sector include market research data analyst, advertising account planner, advertising copywriter, retail merchandiser, retail buyer, sales representative and public relations officer. All of these can be found in Unifrog’s Careers library.
What skills will you need to demonstrate?
- Interpersonal skills. A big part of marketing is building relationships with other people, whether they be consumers or industry professionals. Interpersonal skills, or the ability to communicate and interact well with others, will help you to do this.
- Creativity and imagination. In order to influence people through innovative marketing campaigns and appealing advertisements, you’ll need to be creative. Creativity will help you to create unique ideas that communicate a message in an original way.
- Organisation skills. Marketing isn’t just about creating brilliant ideas – you need to be able to see them through. This requires excellent time management and planning skills.
How can you get experience?
At school, college and university
- Some schools give students the opportunity to participate in a business or enterprise project, which could give you valuable experience in creating an idea for a product or service and discovering its market value.
- If possible, think about how you could tailor the topic of an essay or coursework assignment to link to the industry, e.g. an English student may be able to research ‘the language of marketing’ – be creative!
- If you’re at college or university, get involved with promoting the activities of a student society. Explore different ways to produce content (including video), generate a following online, and be sure to track what has been successful and unsuccessful. Reflecting upon what you have learnt in applications and interviews, and quoting statistics of increased followers and subscribers, is a good way to impress
- Become a brand ambassador on campus to learn how to promote brands and increase engagement of students with the brand. Increasingly Brand Ambassadors are recruited online on platforms such as Instagram to promote the brand to their followers.
- Level 3 academic qualifications in Business Studies, English Language or English Literature will all help you to develop useful skills for this sector. Degree subjects such as Marketing Management, Marketing with Advertising, Communications and Business Management will provide you with specialist knowledge and will often include opportunities to secure a relevant work placement or internship. If you live in the UK, you might also want to consider an apprenticeship in marketing.
- Volunteer for a non-profit organisation. It’s a fantastic way to gain marketing experience and learn about the industry. Non-league sport teams and charities, for instance, will often offer you a chance to help out around the commercial department or develop their social media accounts. Learning about the fundamentals of how a marketing team works is priceless and will give you invaluable experience.
- Build a personal brand online by writing for an existing blog, creating your own blog (and posting regularly!), and developing active social media accounts. Remember to set your privacy settings to the maximum on any profiles you want to maintain for purely social purposes.
- Learn some basic photography, video and design skills. YouTube and MOOCs now offer a wealth of tutorials covering these types of skills. They could set you apart from other candidates in an application or interview, especially given how important visual content is within current marketing.
- If you’re 18 or above, go to workshops and local networking events, which are often free to attend. You can search for these on www.eventbrite.co.uk and www.meetup.com.
- Talk to people. Make sure you’re following your favourite brands and the companies you believe are impressive. Reach out to their staff members on social media or LinkedIn and see if there are opportunities to attend presentations, seminars or talks on different areas of marketing.
- Read. Marketing, especially digital marketing, is an extremely popular blog topic online. Stay in the know about the most recent trends by subscribing to blogs (some are listed at the end of this guide). You can access these all in one place using Feedly.
Most marketing departments will take on a work experience student aged 16+ for a couple of weeks if you’re enthusiastic and passionate about the opportunity.
If no work experience vacancies are advertised, make a speculative application:
- Put together a list of local companies and organisations that you would like to work for. Don’t forget start-ups and SMEs (small, medium-sized enterprises), as small companies may be particularly pleased to be approached. Try to include one or two companies on your list that stand out to you because of a recent marketing campaign.
- Find the contact details for their marketing department (these can sometimes be found online, but if not, ring their main number and ask for them) and send them a speculative application using this guide. If you were impressed by one of their recent marketing campaigns, mention this (with details of why) in your cover letter.
- After you send over your CV/resume and covering letter, it’s worth following it up with a quick phone call to their marketing department to check it’s been received. Businesses receive a large number of enquiries, so anything you can do to set yourself apart from others will be a big advantage.
Blogs and articles