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7 Tips for Starting Your Career in Marketing Communications


7 Tips for Starting Your Career in Marketing Communications

In today’s world of marketing and communications, marketing and communications professionals tend to wear many hats. A director of marketing role will likely include advertising, public relations, direct marketing, social media and so on. A career in marketing can be a great way to use your creativity to promote a company’s brand, use your knowledge to review and optimize the advertising and give a brand a holistic, unified presence.

There are a few things you need to start your career in marketing communications. Whether you’re just getting started, or your changing careers, you’ll need to develop key skills, build a portfolio, gain practical experience, grow your education and network. There is a lot of knowledge and skills needed to get into the industry and we’re going to break down those different elements.

And, as you’re deciding on your career options, know that marketing communications is a vital business need. Whether you’re a marketing director, product marketer, digital marketer and so on, you will play an important role in a brand’s success.

1. Gain Practical Experience

While companies are adding new marketing roles, it doesn’t mean hiring is easy. They want someone who has some experience. Having internship experience or freelance experience will allow you to get started in marketing at an entry-level position.

And you could even consider volunteering for community organizations or charities. You can support a good cause by also building up examples of your work to use in that portfolio we’re going to talk about next.

2. Build a Portfolio

Utilizing the work you do for internships or freelance opportunities, build out your portfolio. Make sure your email address is simple, and your website or blog highlights your skills and the areas you want to work in marketing and communications.

If you don’t have a lot of examples, be sure to keep looking for internships and freelance opportunities, but you can also start your own blog and build up your social media presence. Learn how you can build up your own audience and learn some basic tactics while creating examples of why an employer should hire you.

3. Grow Your Education

Marketing jobs often require advanced marketing skills. You can advance your knowledge with a bachelor’s in Integrated Marketing Communications, or if you already have a bachelor’s degree, show you know marketing with a master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications, Data Marketing Communications or Digital Marketing Communications. There are also many industry certifications you can earn from Google, HubSpot and more. WVU's M.S. Digital Marketing Communications program has many of these certifications built into the courses!

Marketing is ever-changing, making an advanced degree is one way to stay ahead of trends and set yourself apart in the job market.

And it doesn’t just end at a degree. You’ll want to continue earning those certifications in specific platforms or subject areas of marketing. Plus, you’ll want to know if the latest trend will work with your marketing plan and if those new channels will be good for the customer base.

4. Develop Key Skills

Familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of marketing communications, including branding, messaging, target audience analysis, and communication channels. And you’ll want to hone skills in copywriting, graphic design, analytics, community management, and social media advertising. You’ll use various technical and soft skills in your career and need to develop those skills to get ahead.

Another key skill is writing. Effective communication is at the core of marketing communications. Practice writing compelling copy for various mediums, such as social media, websites, emails and press releases.

Here are a few more skills to focus on:

  • Communication skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Digital marketing skills
  • Customer relationship management
  • Strategic thinking
  • Project management
  • Adaptability

5. Network

If there is one thing marketing communications professionals should be good at and prioritize, it’s networking. Discuss marketing practices and expand your own network. As you build relationships, you’ll meet people who can recommend jobs and let you know about the latest algorithm and platform changes.

WVU also offers some networking opportunities. From Integrate Online to social media and online communities, we’ve got your networking covered. Connect with fellow peers and classmates on LinkedIn or the social platform of your choice. Learn from them and find a mentor.

Plus, by networking, you’ll stay updated on the latest trends. The field of marketing communications is constantly evolving, with new technologies and trends emerging regularly. Stay updated with industry news, best practices, and case studies to remain competitive.

6. Begin the Job Hunt

Ok, your portfolio is together, you’ve built your presence and network and you’ve expanded your education. Now, you need to begin job hunting.

Look for jobs you’d love to do, but also be realistic. You don’t have to be the perfect candidate based on experience, but if you have 2 years of experience, you likely will just be disappointed if you don’t hear back from a lot of jobs wanting 10+ years of experience.

Check out some of our blogs on different roles you can do in marketing communications:

7. Tailor your Resume and Interview Practice

Most of the time, your first impression is your resume. Emphasize your marketing skills and experience, but also tailor them to the job you’re applying for.

Are you applying for a job focused on SEO? Then they won’t want to know detailed examples of how you used traditional marketing, they are going to want to know your knowledge of SEO and how it will benefit them.

Plus, most resumes go through a digital screener, meaning keywords from the job description will be noted as a good thing.

A few tips for your resume:

  • Keep it clear and concise
  • Use numbers to emphasize the impact you’ve made
  • Tailor your resume to every job application
  • Show off your creativity and personality
  • Match the company’s tone and brand
  • And when it comes time to interview, make sure you’re on time and dressed professionally.

You’ll also want to make sure you’ve viewed the company’s social media, website, and other digital assets. Talk about the work you’ve done and tell them what you’d do to improve their marketing.

Putting it all Together

So, you’re ready to start a career in marketing and communications? Follow the steps above, and know that WVU offers the programs you need to move to the next level in your career. Plus, our 2,500+ network of marcom pros will have your back. So, what are you waiting for? Request more information today!

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Meet the Author

Stefanie Moore

Stefanie Moore
Marketing Manager

Stefanie is a marketing manager in the Marketing Communications Online Programs through the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University. She is an alumna of WVU's M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) and has been working in marketing for over 6 years after beginning her career in the newspaper business. She's a marathon runner and she recently ran a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon.

Marcom Today

Marketing Communications Today is a collection of resources for marketing communications professionals filled with industry research, marketing trends, and career information about integrated marketing and data-driven communications. Learn industry insights through the Marketing Communications Today blog, podcast, as well as Integrate Online.

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