When you're looking for a job in marketing—no matter which company you are applying to or which position you hope to hold—you have to (at the very least) market yourself better than anyone else.
The irony is that if you're looking for a marketing job (whether it is your first or your tenth), you should know this better than anyone. More than most, marketers recognize the power of branding, the importance of a creative hustle, and the truth that it really is the little things that make something—or someone—stand out.
Maybe you have spent months sending out crafted cover letters and resumes only to hear silence in return. Maybe you like your job but want to take your career further and have your sights set on another marketing position at a different firm.
Whatever the scenario is and wherever you are on the career ladder, you are going to have to employ your marketing skills to get the attention of those you need it from most.
Here's how to market yourself for a marketing job.
Brainstorm which role you want
Before you send out another cover letter, sit with yourself and contemplate your skills honestly. What is it about you that is so valuable to a company? Why are you the perfect fit for the marketing team?
If you make it to the interview round, you may be asked questions similar to those anyway, so it helps to have previously thought about the answers. But the value that comes from thinking about them prior to applying is that you can then direct your attention to marketing roles and companies that align with what you actually want to do and are good at doing. Don't just apply for every job posting that has "marketing" in the title.
Build the skills for that role
Once you are sure of the position you want, start building your skills for that specific role. If you are already working in marketing, consider asking your supervisor for some extra tasks or for opportunities to collaborate with other teams.
Another option is to shadow someone who is working in the area that you want to be working in. That is especially important if you are starting out in your career, because you don't want to pigeonhole yourself in one area of marketing too quickly.
If you are looking for a marketing position as your first job, take any relevant position you are offered. From there, you can branch out, learning about other aspects of marketing.
Cover the basics
Before thinking about creative ways to make yourself stand out, make sure you have the basics covered: Update your LinkedIn profile, polish up your resume, and have some recommendations ready to go.
Those alone probably aren't going to get you the job you want, but it doesn't hurt to spend some time updating everything.
Do your research
This should go without saying, but when you decide to apply for a job, do your homework on the company and position. You can genuinely show your interest during the interview process by having in-depth knowledge of the company and post.
Once you know the type of positions you are looking for and the types of places you'd like to work, move on to actually applying! The strategies you use in this stage are similar to those you would use in many of your marketing campaigns.
Market your brand
As I noted earlier, marketers know better than anyone the intrinsic value that comes with a compelling brand marketing strategy. That is true for the companies you will work for and for your own personal brand.
Develop a mission statement to help you clarify your goals and stick to your brand. Disseminate your brand through social media, networking, online groups, and career fairs.
Everything you do, from your resume to your online profiles to your interview, should make it easy for an employer to evaluate your candidacy based on how you are individually qualified and how you are better equipped than the competition.
Add value to the company before you start
Out of everything you read in this article, this point will take you the furthest. Whether you are in the fourth-and-final-round of interviews or you are cold-emailing a CEO, you must continuously be providing value to the company. That is the only way you are going to get a response.
Aim to keep yourself at the front of their minds while also providing value. That means different actions in various scenarios. For example, maybe you come across an article that relates to something you talked about in an interview. Send it over to the interviewer with some reflections on how the information could be used in the firm.
Many people who are serious about raising their position will write a 90-day marketing plan. That is often one of the steps in the interview process, but by providing it from the get-go you are showing your hard work, seriousness, and talent.
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That said, these tips are not likely to work if you are applying for a marketing job that is far above your experience level. Even if you think you have cutting-edge marketing ideas and you see ways that a firm is not capitalizing on opportunities, if you are still early on in your career, then you aren't going to get those jobs (nor do you deserve to).
No matter how much you market your brand and creatively hustle, you are probably not going to hear back if you are applying for manager-, director-, or vice president-level roles with only a few years of experience.
Instead, focus on successfully executing your ideas from the position you already have. If you are interested in having one of those higher-level titles later in your career, learn how to effectively manage and motivate others, successfully market different types of products and services, and deal with the politics within an organization.
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