Job market

Thinking of a career in marketing or advertising…

light_bulb_190…then you’re not alone: marketing, advertising and PR are seen as attractive career options for many students, and this appeal shows no sign of abating. Katy Edwards, second year history and politics student, popped along to last week’s ‘Marketing and Advertising Event’ to find out more.

As an undergraduate tentatively exploring the “real world” that exists out there and wondering what my career options post-degree might be, I ventured through the snow to the Marketing and Advertising Event hoping to find divine inspiration. Here’s some of what was highlighted by the industry experts.

You don’t need a relevant degree

Marketing and advertising are not sectors closed off to those without a strictly relevant degree, so don’t panic if you see yourself working in these areas but are studying something completely different. At the event there were graduates from disciplines as diverse as Medical Microbiology, Drama Studies, History, and English Literature.

Relevant work experience IS important

Marketing and advertising are no different to the general trend in graduate employment that you need relevant experience to secure that dream job. The industry specialists had gained invaluable experience in related sectors prior to graduating, working for creative media agencies, advertising agencies, and PR companies in order to understand what a future career might entail and whether it suited them.

Set yourself apart

Another obvious point, of course, but with a stack of CVs and one job, offering a unique selling point is vital. Extra-curricular activities and earning a First Class degree are two ways of achieving this, but there are other options to consider. Two Warwick graduates had taken an extra business module to improve their credentials, and there are initiatives like B-Hive which give undergraduates an opportunity to showcase their skills to a panel of experts in order to secure a paid internship. If this sounds tempting then find out more in My B-Hive experience: from creative brief to the NEC.

There are a wide range of job options

Marketing and advertising companies employ a wide range of people who undertake different roles and possess different skill sets. Don’t be put off if you think designing an ad campaign wouldn’t be your forte, you might be ideal for liaising with clients and organising a broader project.

Don’t expect an easy 9 to 5

Many were keen to stress that neither marketing nor advertising are 9 to 5 jobs, and invariably involve much longer hours particularly when crucial deadlines are looming. The Marketing Executive for EAT noted that his working day quickly became 8 to 6, and while preparing recently to launch a new initiative, 6 to 10 (‘the bad way’).

“The Recession” hasn’t destroyed all job prospects

Some spoke of a perception that the current economic climate signalled the end of graduate employment opportunities in these career sectors, but it was stressed that this is not the case. While there may be fewer graduates being employed than there was at the peak, there are still plenty of opportunities for the ideal, committed candidate who has all the requisite skills and experience.

The industry is evolving and adapting with the times

As one expert remarked, ‘Who’d have thought five years ago that we’d need a social media team?’ Both marketing and advertising have had to change with the times, utilising digital media, the internet, and social media to stay effective, and campaigns are now run across a variety of mediums. Those looking for a career in these industries need that same flexibility and the ability to role with the punches.

4 thoughts on “Thinking of a career in marketing or advertising…

  1. There are some really valid points here.

    Our business deals with marketing jobs day in, day out so we can appreciate a lot of the points made here.

    Marketing definitely is not restricted to those with marketing degrees. In fact only around one fifth of our candidates have them. It is easy for people interested in marketing to gain academic/theoretical credentials by doing a CIM Diploma or Certificate which around half of our candidates possess.

    The best point here is that about experience. People looking for their first marketing job often find themselves in the Catch-22 situation whereby companies want marketing experience, yet without experience, companies won’t give people roles. The solution – and one which will involve some determination – is to find an internship, paid or unpaid.

    This article opens by stating how popular marketing is, and this is no lie. Often the only way to make a start is to give your time for free or little reward and take an internship. View internships as an educational experience; not only will you learn new skills and be exposed to new things, you can also decide whether marketing is the right career for you!

    • Thanks for your feedback Steve. I agree with you that students should consider work placements/internships as an opportunity to gain a genuine insight into the sector. It really is a case of ‘try before you buy’! Although we don’t endorse unpaid internships, we do appreciate that some of our students will consider this option as a way of getting experience and we try to offset the financial burden by offering a work experience bursary.

  2. The points raised here are very interesting. How would you recommend that I find out about internships or other voluntary experience opportunities once I have completed my post graduate studies?

    • You might be interested in a recent post, Is it too late to get an internship? as this outlines some of the key portals and resources to help students and graduates find internships and work experience opportunities. I would also suggest looking at Inspiring Interns as they advertise graduate internship opportunities in the marketing and advertising sectors. It’s worth checking the professional associations of the these sectors as well, as they can provide valuable careers information and helpful tips for finding job opportunities.

      I hope that helps!

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