How to start a career in marketing

Marketing is everywhere. Behind nearly every product or service that’s ever been sold, there’s a marketing team working hard to promote it. It’s an ever-changing industry that put simply, promotes services or products using insights and knowledge of key trends and consumer behaviour.

Sounds interesting, right? It could be the perfect career for you!

Without the relevant education or experience in the industry, it can be scary to start from scratch. Especially if common (but confusing) marketing terminology like CTRs, SEO, conversions, and analytics aren’t in your general vocabulary.  

But it’s important to remember that you don’t have to have a marketing degree or even an office job to start a career in marketing. Marketers come in all shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life.

What’s more, it’s never too late for a career change. There are plenty of resources and routes to take to get to where you want to be.

Choose your field

Believe it or not, marketing is full of different paths.

Most marketing nowadays is digital, but of course the more traditional roles still exist in TV and advertising.

You should already know your strengths – are you good with numbers? A more data-driven approach is for you. Or more of a creative? Then explore options within copywriting, advertising and social media.

The great thing about marketing is almost every company will always need it. It’s a stable industry that whilst always changing, isn’t going to go anywhere anytime soon. Because of this you can choose to hone your marketing skills in whatever field that appeals to you.

Love animals? Look for a marketing job within the zoo, pet care or grooming industry. Want to help people in the charity sector? They need marketers too!

Whether your strengths lie in maths, design, English, technology or even languages – marketing could work for you.

Here is an idea of some specific areas a marketing role can cover:  

  • Copywriting and content creation
  • Social media
  • Gamification
  • SEO, analytics and SEM
  • Data analysis
  • Email marketing
  • Paid advertising
  • Video marketing
  • Advertising
  • Public relations (PR)
  • Branding
  • Communications 
  • Web design, graphic design and user experience 

Some positions will include all or multiples of the above in one way or another. But bigger companies tend to hire specialists for each individual area as part of a larger marketing team.

Check job requirements

So, you’re certain you want to work in marketing. Now you have to figure out how to get there.

Checking job vacancies is a good place to start. Even if you aren’t in a position to apply yet, you can find key traits and education needed for that dream role.

Then you can work towards them.

Here are some of the common traits and education commonly asked for in marketing positions:

  • Excellent communicator
  • Great at organising and analysing data
  • Creative and full of innovative ideas
  • Marketing degree and/or CIM qualification
  • Problem solver
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office, Photoshop & social media tools
  • Adaptable and collaborative 

What kind of marketing jobs are available?

Whilst there are broad roles like Marketing Executive, Marketing Assistant and Digital Marketing Executive, there are also a range of specialist areas which you may choose to invest further in:

  • SEO specialist
  • Social media manager
  • Communications officer
  • Data insights analyst
  • Content creator
  • Copywriter

Build your portfolio

Everyone has to start somewhere. It’s a good idea to demonstrate your promise as a marketer with a portfolio that you can share along with your CV in job applications.

If you’re keen to get into the social media or copywriting areas of marketing, a blog, vlog or an active social media page is a great way to hone your talents.

This shows employers initiative and drive, whilst giving them a solid idea of what you could do if you worked for them.

Complete a course or qualification

There are several websites, videos and tutorials to pick up the basics of marketing that you can find online for free. But if you want to get a more in-depth look at marketing, you should try gaining a recognised qualification with the CIM.

Many companies specifically ask for a CIM qualification on their job requirements. In fact, after university degrees, they are the most sought after by employers (Brand Recruitment 2019/2020).

There are CIM courses to suit marketers at all levels. If you’re just starting out in marketing, the Level 3 Foundation Certificate in Professional Marketing/ Digital Marketing is the perfect place to start. If you have some experience in a marketing role or have a degree, the Level 4 Certificate in Professional Marketing/ Digital Marketing would be more suitable.

You can also choose from a range of individual Awards (short courses that contribute towards a full CIM qualification). They cover many important areas such as digital marketing techniques, customer experience, planning campaigns, mastering metrics and more.

Consider your routes and make a plan

Think about your long and short-term goals.

  • What kind of company do you want to work for?
  • Do you want to be freelance or an employee?
  • What field of marketing do you want to pursue?  
  • What are your options in terms of courses and qualifications?

There are many routes into marketing. It’s different for everyone, and you’re free to choose whichever route works best for you.

Maybe that’s gaining an entry level position or internship and learning on the job, or if your employer has a levy pot, they can enrol you into a marketing apprenticeship.

You could also gain an industry recognised CIM qualification and stand out from the crowd when applying to marketing positions.

How can we help? 

Professional Academy is a leading provider of CIM marketing courses and apprenticeships. We cater to marketers and aspiring marketers at all levels, ensuring they have the tools to reach their career goals. 

We have a range of study options (workshops or distance learning), excellent eLearning materials, knowledgeable and supportive tutors, and the flexibility to learn at a pace and in a way that suits you.


*Brand Recruitment Marketing Recruitment Review and Salary Survey, 2019/2020