How to boost your career in marketing

So. The hard part’s over. You’ve passed the grueling assessment centres and trying interviews, you’ve been given your door pass and laptop, and you’re keen to get stuck into your new marketing role.

It’s been a few months though, and you’re not sure you’re taking advantage of all the opportunities being thrown your way. Don’t worry! Everyone, including me, goes through this. It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed in a new role — but trust me, you’re doing amazingly already. Fancy being that little bit more amazing? Read my tips to help you make the most of your marketing role.

Join networking groups

The best way to learn whilst growing your contact list (and connections on LinkedIn!) is to join a group that holds networking events. The obvious one is the CIM, but there may be local marketing and communications groups in your area — check your local Chamber of Commerce website to find a few. It’s also worth finding out if your industry has groups (for example, the rail industry has Young Rail Professionals and Women In Rail) as these can be great ways to learn and meet other young professionals. If it’s not your scene and you’re looking for a reason to force yourself to go — usually the wine is free.

Get a mentor

I know, I know. It’s a bit “Lean In”. However, mentorship has been proven to have incredible career benefits, as well as boosting your confidence and giving you a sounding board when your boss has given you yet MORE amends on a piece of copy for a tiny campaign with a projected ROI of -1. There are 3 ways to go about getting a mentor:

  • Check to see if your industry has a mentorship scheme and formally apply.
  • If you’re a member of the CIM, apply to their CPD mentorship scheme.
  • Find someone you admire within your company, invite them for a coffee, and be brave enough to ask them outright.

Do a formal qualification

Whether you’re looking for a sure fire CV booster or to learn new skills to bring into your current role, undertaking a formal marketing qualification is your best bet. Make sure the qualification you go for is accredited by the CIM, as that’s what employers value most. The type of course you do will depend on your level of experience, your interest areas and whether or not you are self-funding or your company is paying. If you’re self-funding and looking for advice, I’ve written a blog post that includes companies that allow you to split up payment and spread the cost. Doing a formal qualification will legitimise your skills, as well as prove how committed you are to your role. The things you learn during the course will hopefully renew your passion for marketing and give you a few ideas to incorporate into your day to day!

Volunteering opportunities

If you’ve got some spare time or are just very committed, volunteering to help charities and local organisations with their marketing is a great way to learn new skills. Usually these are zero budget projects, so it really tests your creativity and allows you to try out new ideas. I volunteered to help a food bank increase their donations and ended up creating a hashtag (#FoodBankFridays) that local radio stations and newspapers shared. I also helped them create some hard hitting infographics and social posts which helped to increase donations, and all for zilch. It’s a very hands-on way to get some experience and try things that you could then incorporate into your day-to-day if you can prove it works! Search through the opportunities on websites like Charity Job and Do-It to get started, or advertise your services on LinkedIn — no doubt someone in your network will need your skills!

Take a risk

Got a burning idea you’re desperate to share but think it’s not feasible / realistic / relevant? You know what I’m going to say. Be brave and send that email. I have a rule — if there are unsent emails in my drafts on a Friday afternoon and I know I’m not sending them because of fear, I send them all at 5pm then immediately shut down my laptop and leave the building. This means you’re first on someone’s to-do list on a Monday morning. The worst that can happen is your manager will say no, but even if they do, your proactivity and enthusiasm will shine through. You never know where an idea might lead — you might end up being seconded to work on it on a tropical island in the middle of the Bahamas. Or you might need to present the idea to senior management in a stuffy boardroom in Swindon. Either way, it’s worth it!

Subscribe, subscribe, subscribe

If you’re not getting weekly or monthly emails from Marketing Week, Ad Week or How Cool Brands Stay Hot, how can you stay on top of the latest marketing trends, news and campaigns? Daily emails can be slightly overwhelming and you might feel like a bit of a failure for not keeping up with them, so I’d recommend weekly. You should also be subscribing to your competitor’s mailing lists so you can immediately respond to threats — for example, are they doing a Black Friday sale a day earlier than yours? Take corrective action and send your customers an email today instead of tomorrow. Other brands out with the industry are also worth following, as you never know when inspiration might strike.

Hopefully these hints and tips will help ignite the passion that you originally had when you started your marketing role and get you creating again!

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