How to Get a Job in Marketing without a Degree

Learning marketing skillsIt may feel impossible, but getting a job in marketing without a degree is entirely possible. With the numerous marketing bootcamps, online certifications, books, articles, and MOOCs available, the field of marketing is changing, and a traditional degree may not be required for all positions. In fact, many universities don’t teach all the actual skills needed for these in-demand jobs.

How to Get a Job in Marketing without a Degree

For individuals who want to enter the marketing world without a four-year degree, there are certain skills employers look for when hiring.

In-Demand Marketing Skills

Writing and Communication

Marketers must be able to write and communicate effectively. While this may seem obvious, this core skill can make someone a leader in the field. Marketers are often called on to write for various clients, appealing to different target audiences and maintaining different voices. Those who can do this efficiently will succeed in this field.

Practice the following:

  • Writing about marketing
  • Writing about a field of specialization or interest
  • Writing about the results of your marketing practice
  • Storytelling
  • Professional writing etiquette

Data Analytics

The usefulness of big data has escaped no industry, and marketing is no exception. Marketers that can analyze data, produce thoughtful insights, and base a campaign around these results will thrive in any organization – with or without a degree. Executives realize the value of data-driven decisions, and marketers are now asked to quantify all campaign tactics, producing an ROI on any actions taken. Learning Google Analytics as a foundation will help anyone climb the ranks in marketing. A report by McKinley Marketing Partners found that 90% of respondents required digital marketing experience and/or analytic skills when hiring a marketer.

blog post ideas – blog analytics

Marketing Technology

More and more companies are relying on technology to automate and improve campaigns. Learning a tool like HubSpot (which offers online certifications) can be a key way into getting a marketing job. Google also provides certifications in technology such ads, which are of enormous value to businesses. Plus, there are numerous freemium tools available that can supercharge a budding marketer’s career.

To give a few examples of freemium marketing technology:

  • DataBox
  • Zapier
  • Buffer
  • SurveyMonkey
  • Canva
  • WordPress
  • Medium
  • Wistia, Segment
  • SumoMe,
  • HubSpot Marketing Free
  • HubSpot CRM

Critical Thinking

Individuals who can strategically think about campaign elements are vital to any marketing team. In fact, 40% of those interviewed by McKinley Marketing Partners required strategic thinking as part of the candidate’s skillset. Being able to make decisions while looking at overarching campaign goals helps marketing team accomplish tasks and measure results.

What to Do to Get a Marketing Job

Building out those skills above will place you at the top of the list in marketing teams. To get your foot in the door, try these strategies.

Get Experience

Thankfully, you don’t need to necessarily work for a company to get experience. Instead, build your own website and market it or even market your personal brand. Create an SEO-optimized website or a highly successful social media channel to get the attention of hiring managers. See below for more ideas within our “Practice” section.

Get Recognized Certifications

If you don’t have a degree, then you’ll want another way to prove your knowledge and skills. Attain online certifications (through Google, HubSpot, or another renowned company) and make sure to highlight those on your resume. Employers will appreciate your expertise in an area and better understand how you can complement the existing team.

Inbound marketing certifications

Learn the Lingo

To work in marketing, you’ll need to know certain basic terms such as SEO, SEM, inbound, outbound, etc. When trying to get a job on a marketing team, look at the company’s blog and see which terms they use the most and then familiarize yourself with those concepts. Marketers developing new skills should not just know these terms but should devote time to study and practice each.

Furthermore, fluency in key metrics, such as CTR (click through rate), conversion rate, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, demand generation, lead generation, etc. Please understand, just knowing what these terms mean isn’t enough. You need to put these concepts into practice and gain experience with each. Practice using your own blog and some of the free marketing tools mentioned above.

 

Network, Network, Network

Marketers are always networking, so it’s important to get yourself out there in your local community. There are plenty of meetups and events to attend to learn about job opportunities or advancements in the field. Again, marketers must be able to communicate effectively, so prepare to explain why you are a strong candidate for a job and an expert marketer overall. Try meetup groups related to marketing, technology/tools, industries related to your desired field of specialization, writing workshops, and public speaking. These networking groups will give you exposure.

Marketing meetups - networking

Perfect your Resume

Marketing resumes with grammatical mistakes get thrown in the trash. Why? Because marketers are expected to showcase a positive image of a brand and grammar errors do not do that. Constantly revise your resume and create different versions for companies that look for different skillsets (i.e., if a company wants a data person, highlight that). Even when you think your resume is perfect, take another look!

One tip to build appeal with an employer: Speak to results and describe what you did to drive those results with each job (or specific projects). If you never worked in marketing before, try to build experience using your own blog or volunteer to help an organization that does good in the world. Remember, focus on outcomes/results and how you drove them.

Getting a marketing job without a degree might be a bit harder, but with the right technical and soft skills, it certainly can be done. Now that companies put more value on data insights, hiring managers are always on the lookout for candidates that understand data and can drive best practices based on that information. So for people who are worried they will not be considered because of the lack of degree, try the tips above to land a marketing job.

Practice is Everything

The most vital lesson that we have to offer is to practice. Establish a blog and put your writing skills to practice. Try converting subscribers and nurturing them using the tools mentioned above. Learn to optimize and configure a conversion-oriented website that you own and operate.

Data block in Databox template - visits and leads

Track your progress with Google Analytics, DataBox, and other freemium tools available to you. Practice is everything. Don’t wait until you have a job to build the skills. Hiring organizations need you to hit the ground running.

We are hiring: Check out Ironpaper’s marketing jobs or check out our positions we are continually hiring for: digital marketing job in Charlotte, NC or it’s counterpart in NYC: digital marketing job in New York.

Sources

http://pages.mckinleymarketingpartners.com/BD_WC-2016FEB19-ALL-WPHiringTrends_ContentRequestPage.html




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Ironpaper is a results-driven digital marketing agency. Ironpaper integrates design, technology and marketing for the web to drive meaningful results for clients. We are based in New York City and Charlotte, NC.