Monday, January 27, 2014

How To Transition Into A Career In Marketing

A few months ago, a friend introduced me to one of his friends to talk about marketing. He was thinking about transitioning into marketing after working in the public sector on a political campaign. We had a great chat. A couple of days ago he reached back out to let me know he had 4 job offers, two of which were in marketing. I was really curious how he did it, since it's usually pretty tough to transition into marketing, let alone from the public sector. We talked again and I got the details. I then reached out to a few other people I know that have made successful transitions and thought I'd compile the key takeaways from those conversations below. Enjoy! (Disclaimer, this will be heavily slanted towards tech marketing companies and roles)

1. Develop hard marketing skills. My friend with the job offers got Google Analytics certified. He said it was usually the first thing he was asked about in marketing job interviews. Another friend recommended learning how to drive traffic to a site or how to do A/B tests. Check out this blog post or watch the video below from my good friend Wendy Greco to learn how you could team up with a mentor to learn hard analytical skills by helping non-profits.



2. Get out there. Consistently those that successfully transitioned had talked to 15 plus people in marketing to learn about their jobs and get advice. My friend's job offers all came from friends of friends. Leverage the power of your 2nd degree connections on LinkedIn. If you are currently working, talk to as many people in your marketing department as possible. If you can attend, industry conferences are a great way to meet tons of people.

3. Practice marketing on yourself. Great marketers can market themselves. If the 1st page of search results for your name is mostly your 5k run times from 10 years ago, change it. Start a blog to practice your content marketing skills. Don't let any of your social profiles be lame. Here are a bunch of tips on how you can brand yourself online.

A blank profile picture


4. Do projects on the side to get experience. See if you can do some side projects with the marketing department of your current company. Ask your friend that owns a small business if you can manager their social media presence. Getting any experience will make the world of difference.

5. Focus. Have specific job roles in mind that you are tailoring your experience and resume to fit. Just saying I want a "marketing job" is too vague for other people to really be able to help you.
A few examples of marketing job titles

6. Connect the dots. You need to get a good story down so it makes sense to people why you want to get into marketing. My classmate Luke Ray recommends something like "During my job at X, I realized I cared a lot about the customer and the messaging we were using...."

The most common theme was just start marketing. Good luck in your transition! Please share any other tips that you have found useful in the comments.


62 comments:

  1. Great post, I especially think that doing side projects and marketing yourself show that you really want it.

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  2. Super relevant for me. Thanks Derek.

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  3. I've been so overwhelmed with how to transition into a field completely irrelevant to what I formally did ( music/teaching languages). This post made a WORLD of a difference. Thank you!!

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  4. I've been so overwhelmed with how to transition into a field completely irrelevant to what I formally did ( music/teaching languages). This post made a WORLD of a difference. Thank you!!

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  5. Most of the advices I've read are for those already in the marketing industry. Your post is very helpful for a rookie with a writing background. Many thanks.

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