Careers Network recently hosted an event on Marketing and Digital Communications featuring guest speakers who shared advice on getting into the sector and insight into what it’s like. The guest speakers were:

  • Samantha Bright, Digital Communications Coordinator, Midlands Air Ambulance Charity
  • Marcus Miller, Lead Digital Marketing Strategist and Founder, Bowler Hat
  • David Pask-Hughes, SEO Account Manager, Ricemedia
  • Helen Peters, Chief Executive, Shakespeare’s England

What is Marketing and Digital Communications?

Digital marketing helps brands and companies interact better with their customers through online platforms. The sector includes a variety of roles and includes areas like web analytics and social media management which all help towards businesses growth.

Many of the speakers agreed how rewarding it is to work in digital marketing, because you can look back on campaigns that you have been involved in or created and measure their impact for the client.

Do I need a degree in marketing?

The majority of the speakers agreed that the subject matter of your undergraduate degree does not matter. Many of them, now in professional roles, did not have a degree specialising in Digital Marketing or Communications. Even though some companies say they would prefer a degree in the sector, most are flexible. It’s always worth contacting a company you are interested in to inquire about how flexible they are on degree requirements if this is something you’re unsure of.

Work experience and transferable skills

It’s important to show that you have taken the initiative and have the motivation to learn about marketing and digital communications – this includes the media and current affairs. Your degree will show that you have research skills, and can stick to deadlines and if you’ve had to deliver presentations as part of it, this will also be relevant to mention in applications and at interviews. However, it’s also really important to get experience in the sector, as it’s a difficult one to get into. Work experience, internships or shadowing will also help you to decide if this is really the sector you want to work in after university. Find out more about how to get work experience in marketing, PR and advertising.

What’s it really like working in marketing and communications?

Juggling lots of tasks all at once

All of the speakers agreed that they start their day by answering emails, attending team meetings, or working on a specific project for a client. No two days are the same, and you may be expected to work inside and outside the office. There is constantly a list of things to be done within Marketing and Digital Communications, and you may be constantly juggling between tasks. There are often regular meetings to help prioritise the projects given.

Client work

You will work with a range of clients in a digital marketing agency, and this may include managing the social media accounts for different companies. You will need to meet with these clients, determine their needs and build relationships with them. Clients may range from a small business such as a plumber to much larger companies – this will depend on the type of agency you work for. The creativeness of the role will depend on the client, as you could be creating graphic design and videos for companies like Redbull. Or, you may have a small-scale business plan for smaller companies. This means you may be expected to have different tactics and campaign approaches to suit the business.

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Challenges within the role

Being flexible

You will need to successfully negotiate and influence your colleagues as well as people in positions above you. In addition to this, you may communicate with clients and understand thoroughly what you are asked to deliver. Communication skills and having an ability to negotiate and influence are key skills for most roles in the sector.

Be aware that things don’t stay the same

Social media is constantly changing, so roles within Digital Communications are shifting all the time. You will always be learning new things within the sector which is what all the speakers find great about working in this area.

Advice on applying for roles in the sector

Gain as many skills as you can

You will need to have many different skills if you want to work in this sector. This includes managing social media, composing emails, and presenting to audiences. You will need to be confident enough to verbally communicate in front of peers, especially in Marketing and PR. You may need to write for a variety of different audiences, including professional writing, or composing informal twitter statuses. Therefore, you will need to have excellent writing skills. Experience writing for University publications, or those outside of campus are great – think about how you can get this experience as a student and ensure you showcase articles on your CV.

Try and get experience now for your CV

Gaining experience in smaller companies may help you to flourish, as it may be easier to brainstorm and experiment with different ideas than in larger ones. Work experience in PR  and Advertising is useful experience towards Marketing and Digital Communications.

You will also need a strong CV and cover letter, with the right keywords – some large employers and recruitment agencies may use a keyword search engine to find the key skills they want on applicants’ CVs.  LinkedIn is useful to make connections and look for jobs. In the interview stage, giving employers some feedback and criticism may be a useful tactic to help you stand out.

Start researching into the sector

Stand out from the crowd by trying out software that you may need in the role. This includes testing Google Digital Garage and Facebook Campaigns. Employers may consider you if you have researched into Marketing. By doing this, it may help you identify what you like to do and what works for you, whether that is social media or analytics.

The event was very successful and had a great turn out. To find out more about different sectors, keep an eye out on the Careers Network’s events page to discover upcoming opportunities.

This post was written by Danielle Bill, Digital Marketing Assistant/SET member for Careers Network.

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