A 2001 study revealed that a career in marketing does not depend on earning a marketing degree but more on your skills and networking experience.
While studying marketing is worthwhile and beneficial, often placing you ahead of the competition, students without degrees can still achieve careers in this field.
According to the Hobsons Graduate Career Directory, of the new graduates working in marketing in 2001, 34% studied business while 13.5% have a modern languages degree, 10% have an English degree, 9.5% learned history and 8% studied psychology.
While most hiring managers look for candidates who have at least a four-year bachelor’s degree in marketing, other types of degrees can also help you gain employment in this field, such as a degree in liberal arts or business. Because the responsibilities and job requirements in marketing vary, a well-rounded individual who exhibits a fair amount of experience, in addition to education, stand the best chance for landing a position.
Employers are willing to hire non-marketing students to fill their positions if they can demonstrate how their past experience and education can apply to the field of marketing.
For example, if you studied philosophy in school, that means you can analyze multiple arguments and find creative solutions to the problems, which are similar skills needed to excel in marketing.
Finding the marketing-related skills that you know and learning how to present them is key for success. This requires some self-education.
Employers are flexible for non-marketing students if you can show that you do have a general knowledge of key concepts. Often, this can be done by reading books on marketing or taking a short course on the subject of interest. This also shows employers you’re serious and willing to learn.
Overall, employers will be much more likely to hire you if you do have some marketing experience. While you might not qualify for a marketing position straight out of university, volunteering or interning will help get you noticed while also helping you learn more about this field.
Try applying for an entry-level position in a marketing company that will teach you the basics. For example, if you apply to be an assistant to the marketing director, you will learn first-hand what marketing is about, even if you’re responsible mainly for administrative tasks.
Once you prove yourself as reliable, and once you excel at the mundane tasks, then you’ll be given more responsibility and open the doors to a future career.
Some companies offer marketing graduate trainee programs. The Mars company has a cross-functional management development program through which graduates have access to opportunities in marketing. Nestle specifically recruits new graduates on a needs-basis. Procter & Gamble recruits graduates into one of eight career tracks, including consumer and market knowledge and marketing.
Marketing is about promoting a product or service. To do so, you need to:
- Become an expert in that niche
- Become a critic: marketing professionals brainstorm to find ways to improve their product
- Become a valuable asset: use your skills because it might be what they are looking for. Read anything you can about the field – it’s always changing and you need to stay up to date
- Become a marketer by marketing yourself