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Marketing skills practice

Hi everyone, I'm a 4th year business student but I'm very interested in marketing, I would like to practice more my marketing skills to complement the concepts I have gained in college, the problem is that I don't know where to start. I would like to build my CV towards a marketing career. I appreciate any advice and help! Thank you :) #college-student #business #anyone #marketing #digital #marketing


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Madi’s Answer

Hi Leidy,

Marketing is a great field! I would start by thinking of the different types of marketing roles that companies need, because marketing is a huge field with many opportunities. These are just some of the functions that might fall under a traditional marketing department: advertising and media buying, copywriting, creative, digital marketing and SEO (search engine optimization), social media, content creation, brand identity, partnerships and sponsorships, events, public relations, web accessibility and inclusivity (making sure websites are easy to use for differently-abled people), visitor/in-store experience - to name just a few!

All of these types of marketing jobs will require business acumen, writing and communications skills, attention to detail, project management ability, and knowledge of channels (channels are the way you reach your audiences - web, social media, TV, billboards, etc.). Increasingly, marketers must have knowledge of digital channels and understand how to measure results. General Assembly has a great overview of the field of digital marketing specifically: https://generalassemb.ly/education/learn-digital-marketing-online

A great way to start is by starting a blog and practicing growing your audience through a variety of different promotional methods. You can also learn some marketing-specific skills like search engine optimization, Google Analytics, creative writing, even direct sales. You should also stay current with emerging and established digital channels like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube, and understand how people and companies are using these channels to engage with their audiences and grow their business. Read marketing magazines such as Campaign, AdWeek, PRWeek, and newspaper articles about brand news. Become a critical thinker when you see brand activations around you, such as if you see a pop-up store, an advertisement on TV, a partnership with an influencer, and consider why the brand made a decision to do this to reach a specific person (likely you, since you are seeing it!). You could start writing down your thoughts and ideas for improvement on your blog. :-)

Best of luck!

Thank you so much madi! I'll definitely put your advice in practice, you made me think about it, and I think digital marketing is my main field of interest. I'll follow your advice about the blog and I'll start working on it Again, thank you! Leidy Tatiana O.

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Victoria’s Answer

Hi! This is an amazing question that I'm sure alot of students are asking right now. You are not alone. There are a couple things you can do

1) Offer your services as a volunteer. Plenty of nonprofits really need marketing support. Given that you're in school now, and have the latest information about the marketing field, you'd be a hot commodity. So do a quick search for nonprofits in your city (or even in other cities since everything is virtual now) and send an email asking if you can help out. Even better, if there's a company you really want to work for, check out the list of nonprofits they work with and try volunteering with them. Worst case, you'll help an organization that really needs you and best case, you'll gain exposure to the industry you want to work in. In my work, I often meet volunteers who are thinking this way.

2) Start your own marketing firm. Many students think they need experience to start their own thing, but that's not always true. You may have ideas that more experienced professionals don't and marketing doesn't require alot of investment to turn them into reality. Do you want to work on marketing campaigns? Grab a camera phone and start filming and editing. Do you want to work in PR? Write some press briefs for friends and send them into a few journalists. Even if you aren't 100% "successful", you'll build experience that will look great on a resume. Even better, you'll show that you're willing to take smart risks and take the initiative, both character traits that will be highly desirable to your future employer.

I hope these help! Regardless of what advice you decide to take I'm sure you have everything you need to step up to the next level. Just be patient with yourself and never stop moving forward. You got this!

Victoria recommends the following next steps:

Research nonprofits that need in-kind marketing support
Think of 1 cool thing you'd like to do as a marketer and do it, even if its not perfect

Thank you for your answer Victoria, yes I'll definitely look for non-profit companies and volunteer for them, this was really helpful, thank you Leidy Tatiana O.

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Lindsay’s Answer

Hi Leidy,

Great to hear you’re leaning towards a career in marketing. An excellent choice! Marketing offers a huge variety of exciting opportunities in many different fields. When thinking about how you can put your education and experience into marketing specifically, here are four ways to get started.

1. Get into a marketing mindset: Marketing is all about solving human problems. It starts with understanding how people feel about something / or a problem they have and then meeting them in a meaningful way to solve it. Having a natural curiosity and interest in the human condition is key here. Look at the companies / brands you like - or are interested in working for one day. Why was the company founded? What problem were they looking to solve? How do they talk to you? Do you feel like they are reflecting back the things you care about? Researching and understanding the fundamentals will not only give you a strong grounding in marketing and communications, but you’ll start to recognize many of the transferable skills you have in your toolbox.

2. Get involved: What marketing clubs, groups or organizations are you a part of? Attending events, joining meetups and being part of the conversation will introduce you to a world of marketers and content you can connect with and learn from. Don’t forget to tap into your professors as well - many of whom have or have had very successful careers in marketing. There are a ton of free resources out there too - many tech companies like Adobe, Drift, Hubspot and others offer free training on their websites. You can also find helpful career advice on Muse.com

3. Build your personal narrative: Marketing yourself is a great lesson that you can start practicing now. You’ll build & refine your story over the course of your life. Think about all of your experiences and how they’re applicable in your next role. What are the transferable skills you can bring to the next project that will make you stand out? How will you adapt your story for different audiences?

4. Have a point of view: The most attractive candidates are those that demonstrate what they can bring to the role and how they will make an impact. Doing your research for any role will help inform your point of view on what you think is working - and the opportunity for you to show how you can help. Having an opinion you can back up helps you stand out from the crowd and just might land you that marketing job.

This answer combines input from a group of marketers with more than 40 years’ experience - all currently working at a global tech company. We hope you find it helpful and wish you the best in all of your endeavours - Lindsay, Dana, Christos, Courtney and Josh

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Germilee’s Answer


Hi Leidy,

A great way to start is through volunteering. If you wonder where to start? An easy first step could be within your school or your larger community. From my experience students organizations or non-profits groups would appreciate having a subject matter expert to assist them in many areas especially Marketing. It could be from helping to develop a marketing strategy, support fundraising initiatives, how to increase membership, develop a communication plan, develop or enhance their social media presence and so much more. The list of opportunities are endless. These organizations may not have the funds to pay a salary but the learnings, experience, and networking are worth it. Let’s not forget, your original ask, it does reflects very well on a resume. I have seen it happen, how an volunteer assignment became something permanent. Keep in mind that employers in our current environment looks for well-rounded individuals who not only have some level of experience but also are connected to their community..
I believe this option, will give you the chance to apply and test what you have learned, while the organizations will benefit from your skills and services. To top it up, you will have a reference for your resume. A win-win situation for all involved.

Hope you find this helpful,

All the best

Thank you Germilee! Your advice has helped me a lot and I'll definitely put them on practice, thank you again Leidy Tatiana O.

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Joe’s Answer

Hello,

That is a great question and sometimes a tough one to answer in the real world. To get into a field you want to try out with no to little experience, you may want to try volunteering some place where you believe in their mission. Volunteering is a great way to get some experience that you can add to your resume and help your community. This is called a win-win situation. You future employers will notice that you have a desire to put in the work to develop your skills as well as help your community. It also shows you are a team player. This is also a way to give back, since none of us reach out goals without a little help from our communities.

Another option, is to see if your school offer any internships where you can work for an employer that needs help in your area of expertise to develop that experience. This allows you to get school credit as well as experience. Also, in some cases, the employer may pay you with helps with financing your education. As a bonus, sometimes employers are impressed with your skills enough to offer you a job when you are done with school which open the door for future work and experience in your field.

Both of these options help you and the communities and organizations that offer these opportunities, so hope that helps.

Best of luck,

Joe

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Kaitlyn’s Answer

Hi there! Awesome question.

While there are SO many different types of Marketing, I think the best way to figure out what part you personally should invest in, is to try them all. Once you get a taste, double-down on what you find most exciting. And the best way to do this? Market yourself.

Start by creating a professional presence on social media. Follow every hashtag you are even remotely interested in and then jump into the conversation. Ask questions. People online love to talk so don't be afraid.

From there, create a website. Using something like WordPress or Squarespace is a skill you will ALWAYS need. Plus, it gets you a website without having code.

The next step is all about content. Now that you have used social to hone in/explore your interests and you have a website - you need to drive people to it. There are a couple of ways to do that. One is blog articles written about all the latest/greatest trends. Or, if you are more interested in the creative realms, another option is to try your hand at video/photography/design and turn those into posts.

Okay. So. You have a social presence. You have a website. You have content on the website. Now, you need to promote that content and drive traffic to your website. You can do this by promoting it on social media (don't forget to use the hashtags). Then, add a form to your website so folks can sign up for an email when new content goes live. Now you have a contact database!

The final step is to optimize. What content is driving the most engagement from your social followers? What content keeps people on your website? Whatever that answer is, listen to it. Find similar topics and focus there.

Doing something like this gives you first-hand experience with almost every concept of Digital Marketing.

While it won't happen overnight and it absolutely takes a TON of work, once you have this, it will always serve you. It's a great thing to have on your resume and it'll prove to any potential employers that you know EXACTLY what you are doing.

Kaitlyn recommends the following next steps:

Social Presence
Squarespace/WordPress Website
Mailchimp Account

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Michael’s Answer

Hi Leidy!

You are in the position that many of us found ourselves in when breaking into a very competitive industry, it can seem hugely intimidating at first, especially when job listings seem to require a decade of experience, a mystical relic, and the secret handshake.

One of the best pieces of advice I can offer is: Find ways to build out your portfolio.

When it comes to scouting out your first opportunities, anything that can set yourself apart from the rest of the pack is definitely worth your time. Volunteering for local organizations and charities as a marketer, social media manager or events coordinator is hugely impactful. Not only does it show your skills as an up and coming marketing professional, but also demonstrates your altruistic and bigger-picture mentality to any potential recruiter. Taking leading roles in your communities, both online and offline, or simply working to build your own professional brand and image through research, portfolio building, and practice will also go a long way to proving yourself to be a serious candidate.

All the best in your adventures!

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Elisabetta’s Answer

Hi Leidy, it's a great feeling when you know what you enjoy working in! Marketing is an exciting field. There are many online resources readily available you can start from. For example, Coursera and LinkedIn Learning offer many free online courses around marketing concepts and principles. These look great on your CV (as you get a certification of completion) and they usual last for 3-6 weeks, allowing you to really deep dive in marketing topics. You can also follow companies on LinkedIn and make sure you set up alerts for marketing internships positions, so that you start learning about job requirements related to marketing. Finding out what a job entails is very important to make sure you know what skills/knowledge you need to build on (and also it confirms it is something you would enjoy doing!). All the best

Thank you very much for the recommendations, I'll definitely start looking on LinkedIn and prepare myself, thank you Elisabeth! Leidy Tatiana O.

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Michelle’s Answer

Hi Leidy! I wish nonprofits could see this post. There are so many that need marketing support but can't afford to pay anyone and would LOVE to have help. For example, HEROEs need help redoing their website: https://www.heroesla.org/. I'd say narrow the marketing focus where you want to get practice to build your CV (or at least prioritize your interests). Research nonprofit marketing internships and start to reach out offering your services. I think they would love the help, and you can get some practice! Best of luck!

Thank you Michelle, I'll reach out to them and offer myself as a volunteer, this was very helpful, thank you! Leidy Tatiana O.

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Annie’s Answer

Hi Leidy,

There has already been some great advice offered here! One more suggestion I might add...I made a career change to marketing after several years in sales, so I didn't come into the profession with much of an educational background in marketing. To get some of the practical application I would need, I helped a friend who owns her own very small business for a few hours every week with her marketing. I served as the entire marketing "department" so I gained experience in many different areas of marketing. That broad experience let me get my foot in the door and interview for full time positions at other companies.

Best of luck!

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Carmelita’s Answer

Hi Leidy,

Marketing is a great field! Marketing is super versatile which can be from general marketing to SEO, social media.

1) Internship: apply for internship at company that you want to work for in future, this can give you experience on how they do their marketing and learn from them!

2) Get a mentor! Have a coffee or Zoom calls with people in the field that can give you guidance about the industry, I did this alot when I was in uni and helped a lot in building connections as well!

3) Go for courses: There are many courses that you can go for! Such as coursera, linkedIn, udemy and you can get certifications that can help your CV

I’m happy to chat with you about this and maybe help you to achieve your goals in marketing!


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Sonja’s Answer

(Working with a group of six professionals right now to answer your question, three of which are Marketers at a technology company in Silicon Valley)

Here are our tips:
-Look for marketing internships.
-Build your own "brand" - use your knowledge to define who you are and promote yourself on social channels
-Set up information meetings to tap into the different functions of marketing - search LinkedIn for titles/people in your area
-Consider how your previous jobs intersected with marketing. i.e if you were in retail sales - how did your sales pitch help you sell product?
-Approaching a charity who is looking to raise awareness and donations is a great way to explore what parts of marketing you might like, while making an impact. There are thousands of charities who are all led by passionate teams, that would benefit from what you bring (experiences, innovation, energy).
-Do some research about the different marketing streams to discover which direction most interests you (content marketing, campaigns marketing, social media, PR, field marketing, product marketing. etc.)
-Seek out failures to see what actually went wrong with their approach (do some research about companies that have flopped with a marketing campaign or actually the company has failed). Can you identify key themes from these companies that have failed? What can you learn from them?
-To make it personal, watch out for your Social presence! You don't want to have any "marketing" fails to your personal brand such as career-limiting-moves before you even get into the industry (examples: Make Mum Proud...who do you want to make proud; would this post make them proud?)
-So much talent has recently taken to LinkedIn to do grassroots marketing, including posts, messaging and redefining digital marketing

These are great answers above and we want to reemphasize that you should constantly be reading what is happening in the industry (Madi's post) as well as being aware of awards within your industry. Check out this site to reference some of the top awards (https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/marketing-awards-to-apply-for). Some of our top podcasts to stay up to date: WorkLife by Adam Grant, Ted Talks relating to Marketing (https://medium.com/better-marketing/7-inspiring-ted-talks-everyone-in-marketing-should-watch-in-2020-5edcebea1ee5) , HBR. Some top books to check out - Great by Choice, Crossing the Chasm, Made to Stick, Play Bigger, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff.

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Chiara’s Answer

Hi Leidy,

It's great to hear that you're interested in marketing! One thing that helped me gain experience while in college was to share with my network that I was interested in gaining some practical experience. By doing that, and offering to support very early-stage startups, I was able to (initially for free) start putting what I had learned into practice. It started with copy-writing and social media management, and eventually led to a paid internship and an opportunity to continue exploring the world of marketing.

Good luck!

Thank you for sharing your experience, yes I'll start to put my skills out there, thank you for your advice chiara! Leidy Tatiana O.

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