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Career in marketing: Man at home sitting at a desk working on his laptop

4 Ways to Start a Career in Marketing in 2021

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After a year like no other, you may be considering a career change. If so, you are not alone! In fact, career change has become a priority for more than half of all people in the UK. Changing circumstances and the freedom offered by working from home are spurring many to switch their careers to jobs that do not require an office presence. It’s no surprise that marketing (and digital marketing in particular) is fast becoming a very attractive option for many professionals.

So where do you start? It may seem daunting, especially if you have no previous experience. The good news is marketing is a career path which you can start training for straight away. Here are our 4 top tips to get you started.

Get your skills up to scratch with free online courses

Marketing is an industry that is in a constant state of flux and what worked even 5 years ago might be irrelevant today. While this may sound like a bad thing at first there is a silver lining. Due to constant changes, you are well placed to start learning the basics as they stand today. Better still, there is a wealth of free online resources which can help get you up to speed.

Free Online Courses to consider:

Facebook blueprint marketing courses are a great source of information for anyone interested in a career in marketing
Getting to grips with Facebook’s marketing tools (or Google’s) is an essential first step. Source: Facebook Blueprint
  • Facebook Blueprint: Learn how to use Facebook business and marketing tools, covering both Facebook and Instagram. While all courses are free, there is a fee to receive your certification.
  • Google Skillshop: Free online courses from Google on how to use all their marketing and content platforms, including AdSense, Analytics, YouTube, AdMob and much more.
  • HubSpot Academy: A free online learning platform, HubSpot Academy offers a wide range of courses in Marketing, Social Media, SEO and more. It’s a great place to get started, especially if you are really new to the industry.

Don’t underestimate the power of YouTube

I mean it, YouTube is an absolute game changer! Once you understand what area(s) of marketing you want to focus on, you can expand your knowledge tremendously by following top content creators in that niche. For example, if you want to learn how to use Facebook’s business tools, there’s a tutorial for that. Want to learn how to use Google Analytics, SEO, how to code, how to [insert skill here], there will be a tutorial for that too. Use YouTube in conjunction with the free online resources mentioned above and you can start honing your skills straight away.

I don’t mind admitting that almost every skill I use (whether it’s writing content, developing websites, creating video/audio etc) I have developed in large part and thanks to YouTube. Don’t underestimate the value it can bring to your career.

Apply to any marketing job, even unpaid positions

One of the best ways to get your foot through the door is to start with an entry level position. The goal here is to get real world experience and learn the latest practices on the job. Getting a taste for how marketing and PR companies actually operate is invaluable and as with many entry level positions, company’s are looking for people who are motivated but inexperienced. Basic skills aside, they want candidates to have a fresh slate and learn the companies best practices from the start. Plus, you never know, you may even end up with a paid position as a result. In any case, building up your experience will help you build your CV so you can look for better opportunities.

Another option to consider an internship. Specialist internship providers will not only find suitable placements for you but they also offer a whole host of support, mentoring and career advice to help you reach your goal faster. For example, if you are interested in a marketing internship in London, then services such as those offered by Beyond Academy may be the perfect choice.

While such programs cost, they are substantially less expensive than getting a university degree. Also, they can offer a fast track way for you to kickstart your career in your chosen sector with highly reputable companies.

If you prefer the DIY route then websites such as Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Indeed, have a huge selection of internships to choose from.

Build up a portfolio

Don’t wait for someone to give you a job before starting to apply your skills and knowledge. Starting your own passion project (be it a blog, website, YouTube channel, podcast, TikTok – essentially any social media platform) and making it a success is exactly what marketing companies want to see. The great thing about this is that you can choose any subject you want and creating content on things that interest you will keep you engaged and motivated.

Starting your own project will mean that you will have to apply your marketing skills in the same way you would if you worked for a marketing or PR company, in many cases even using the same tools. This actually ties in very well with the first point, start learning these skills and tools straight away and use your own personal project as a trial to improve your knowledge and experience.

The best part is that in many cases you need zero investment to get going. Internet, a laptop and smartphone is all you need.

Start Freelancing

This ties in with building up a portfolio. Once you feel confident with what you are doing and perhaps you had some success with your own passion project, consider freelancing platforms as the next logical step. Not only will you start working with clients and further developing your skills and portfolio, but you will also start earning money. In fact, freelancing can quickly become a great source of income, especially if you find your niche and concentrate on a few specific areas. This will keep you on track for your overall career goal and not having to diverge your workflow by offering too many services means you can also deliver work faster and potentially do this in your spare time. This is especially helpful if you don’t want to quit your current job.

Also, don’t underestimate a highly rated freelancing portfolio, companies even post job placements on freelancing sites because they are looking for highly motivated and experienced people. And remember, a career in marketing doesn’t mean you need to work for someone else. You may wish to pursue the freelancing route and work for yourself full time.

Platforms to consider:

  • Upwork: I would say this is the most suitable platform if you are looking at a career path. Upwork is heavily niched towards creating a marketplace where established companies can look for quality talent, either on a freelance basis or for semi-permanent and permanent roles.
  • People Per Hour: People per hour is the next level down. A great resource to work with smaller businesses and also find some more long term roles (although most opportunities posted are for specific jobs).
  • Fiverr: Fiverr is probably the largest freelancer marketplace. This is purely a pay per job platform, you can still get many gigs from it, just don’t expect to be headhunted (although you can develop great ongoing relationships with clients).

Conclusion

Whichever path you take, keep in mind that there is no right solution. The most important thing is that you make a start. Look at your current situation and make a realistic plan and decide how much time you can dedicate to learning new skills. It won’t be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is. Making a plan and sticking to it will keep you on track.

Are you considering a career change or have you been through one recently? What are your thoughts on our tips and did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.

Entrepreneur, blogger, content creator and business mentor.

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