Whether you’ve been in the industry for two years or twenty, there’s always career advice you can pass along to anyone just starting out. The #TIATeam has a wide range of experiences, job histories, and expertise. That’s why I decided to ask them, What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to someone just starting out their career in marketing?
We’re starting off our list of career advice with an unsurprising tip: the importance of networking. I know I can’t be the only one who was told to network, network, network during my undergrad. Networking can often feel like such an abstract concept that it’s hard to understand the best way to navigate this piece of advice we hear so often.
However, there’s so much to networking than attending industry events or sending professionals you admire messages on LinkedIn. Find out what style of networking works best for you, and keep the following words of advice from our team in mind.
“Always be friendly to everyone you meet at a networking or social event! It’s a small world, and you never know if they’ll end up being a client or an employer at one point in your career!”
“Networking works both ways — if you see a post asking a question and you know the answer, offer support and advice when you can. They will be much more willing to help you out in the future when you’re looking for support or an opportunity!”
“Start networking today, and never stop. The biggest mistake people make is only starting to network when they need something — when they need a job, career advice, or insider knowledge. It’s so important to build that community around you early and nourish those relationships throughout your career because you’ll just never know how they’ll flourish or evolve over time. Some will turn into friends, mentors, clients, or even be the reason why you land your next job. Networking is a long-term game, so don’t get discouraged if you feel like you aren’t reaping the benefits right away. And most importantly, pay it forward! One day people will be coming to you for career advice or support so don’t forget to give back. Remember, we all started somewhere!”
Our team’s next piece of career advice for any new marketers just starting in the field is all about upping your skillset. Having a variety of skills under your belt will lead to opportunities you never would have imagined — and make you stand out from the other candidates applying for the same position as you.
“Learn to code. HTML, CSS, and even some PHP. Even a basic understanding of how web experiences are developed will come in handy during your marketing career journey, regardless of the position you’re in.”
“Utilize free courses or certifications like Google Adwords, Google Digital Garage: Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Course, and Google Analytics to help your resume stand out, even if you don’t have a lot of experience. Internships, whether paid or unpaid, are also great for learning important skills and furthering your knowledge in the marketing field!”
“Devote yourself. Learn as much as you possibly can, experiment as much as you can, and ask as many questions along the way after you’ve tried Googling it. Most importantly, when faced with a challenge or an ask, avoid “reasons why I can’t”, instead ‘reasons why I can”. You just finished paying a lot of money to learn in school… but you’re about to learn even more in the next 6 months than you did at school and you’ll be paid for it. Put in your time, pay your dues in the industry, and reap the rewards.”
Any good marketer will understand that their education is neverending. Just because you’re finished with school doesn’t mean your time as a student is over! Treat every experience as a new learning opportunity and raise your hand if you’re ever unsure about a concept, strategy, tool, and more.
I’ll let TIA’s resident Question King tell you his top piece of career advice himself…
“ASK QUESTIONS. Good, bad, smart, silly, annoying… doesn’t matter, ask! Whether it’s in a networking environment, interview, or work setting, always be actively listening, learning, and asking questions to clarify and expand your knowledge. This will give you confidence in your decision-making moving forward when you’re put in a situation with the same question on your mind. Questions also help you establish and improve your relationship with who you’re speaking with — they’ll probably respect you more for clarifying your thoughts!”
Don’t underestimate the skill it takes to be organized. There are so many benefits to learning this skill early including reducing your stress levels, ensuring you meet your deadlines, and increasing your productivity levels. If you’re on top of it from the start, you won’t feel overwhelmed when you’re a few months into your new role and you’ll be able to focus on what’s most important — getting your work done!
“Make sure you create a system of organization that works for you and that your agenda, to-do list, and email is not cluttered. Organization is key!”
Apply to college or university, go to school to get your degree, graduate, find a job. That’s how it’s supposed to go, right? At least that’s what we’re told, but sometimes landing your dream job right out of school doesn’t happen. It rarely happens, actually. And throw a global pandemic into the mix and it gets that much harder.
Everyone faces setbacks at some point in their marketing careers. Keep this career advice in mind and you can find ways to navigate even the toughest of times.
“While it’s important to have a basic understanding of the different aspects of marketing, find what excites you most and develop your skills in that area to start. If there aren’t any opportunities available, try reaching out to your network and creating your own to build your portfolio! Whether it’s reaching out to a local business or helping your cousin with their startup, gaining hands-on experience will be extremely beneficial.”
The digital marketing landscape is ever-changing. When the majority of the work you do for your brand or your clients is online where reactive strategies dominate, it can be easy to fall behind your competitors if you’re not careful. Finding that next opportunity means keeping your eyes and ears open. That’s why it’s no surprise that our next career advice is all about finding ways to stay connected to the industry so you can stay up to date on trends and news.
“Follow the companies you dream of working at on social media and engage with them! Not only will these accounts keep you up to date on marketing trends and industry news, but social media is likely the first place a marketing company will post about new opportunities!”
“The marketing industry is constantly evolving with new trends and social apps, and so much more. All marketers need to continue to be a student, even if you’ve been in the industry for 20+ years. Stay curious, keep up with trends, and have a willingness to learn.”
In a survey conducted by Indeed, 60% of employers said that the reason they believed a team member didn’t succeed was that they lacked passion. Not all passions are transferable to a lifelong career, however, when you’re passionate about what you do work no longer becomes a chore and just “something you do” but something that brings you fulfillment.
You’ve definitely heard this piece of career advice before. But easier said than done, right? Well, here are some words of wisdom from our team:
“Pursue passion, not money. Many young people make the mistake of pursuing money at the expense of their passion. The result often ends up being a career where you don’t love what you do. It is reported that 80% of people don’t like their job — and that is pretty terrible. Imagine how much of a happier world it would be if people loved what they did. The reality is that if you pursue passion, the money (and the life you want) will find you. Your natural curiosity and interest will manufacture opportunities and the world will open up for you. On this note, it’s also important to remember your career is likely to be 35 to 40 years, and that’s a long time! Be patient. Even if you don’t figure out what you want to do until your 30s, that still gives you 30+ years of doing something you love!”
“Stay true to yourself and your passions. Your career is a journey, and not everything has to be figured out from the get-go. Truly take the time to think about what is worth your effort — is this a company I would actually like to work for? Is the kind of lifestyle that I imagine for myself? And most importantly, would I be fulfilled? Spreading yourself thin by applying to everything out there can often tire you out (the recruiting process is notoriously mentally tiring), so to help yourself get through it, truly prioritize where you would want to work and where to apply. If a company doesn’t have a job posting, still reach out and start networking from the get go! They might have an unposted one, or are planning for the job you may just be looking for. Most of all, stay positive! All your efforts will be worth it.”
As Tom mentioned, your career will span over decades of your life. There’s no pressure to figure out everything right away. The best career advice you can hear is to believe in yourself and understand that everything will work out for the best as long as you’re giving it your all.
“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Initially walking into your career, it’s going to feel scary; lots of unknowns, how to act, who to ask for help, even asking yourself what am I supposed to be doing right now? Experience is a process, and you will gain a ton of it in your long career. Eventually, as you continue the learning process, you will have ‘a-ha moments’ along the way that will give you the confidence in your abilities and the process — but the road to those growth milestones will not come without challenges and discomfort which you will need to overcome and even welcome with open arms!”
“Be curious. The more questions you ask, the more you learn. Be a team player. Great marketing was built on collaboration and partnership and information sharing. Be fearless. Making mistakes is how we learn and grow.”
“It’s okay to not know everything! Imposter syndrome can sometimes get the best of us, but remember that we’re constantly learning every single day. Ask questions, listen, stay up to date on industry news, and take on challenges with confidence. The more experience you have, the more you’ll surprise yourself with what you’re capable of.”
“Stay positive and believe in yourself. Life doesn’t always work out as we planned in our minds but know that it’s happening for a reason and is part of a larger plan. You don’t always need to be the most knowledgeable person in the room because that ends up putting a lot of pressure on yourself to know it ALL. A situation can be perceived in multiple ways depending on your state of mind. Being a perfectionist starts with accepting where your weaknesses are and working on them. So sometimes, all you need to do is have a positive approach and be open to learning. Having open communication, the right attitude, and believing in yourself can open up doors you never imagined both in your professional and personal lives. And remember, it’s never too late to pursue your passion as your career! Shine on! ✨”
Whether you’re someone just starting your marketing career or looking for a change, I hope something you’ve read here resonates with you. By sharing what we’ve learned, we’re only setting each other up for success. It’s through this type of knowledge sharing that we’ll all continue to become better marketers and better people.
The Influence Agency is always looking for more talented people to join our team. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our Careers page to see if there’s a position you’d be a great fit for.
In the meantime, if you have your own piece of career advice you’d like to pass on, let us know in the comments below! We’d be happy to hear from you.10
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