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8 Ways to Kick-start a Career in Marketing

8 Ways to Kick-start a Career in Marketing

Jessica Schaeffer

The job market is flush with degrees in marketing, advertising, PR and communications. With so much young talent competing for the same positions, new marketers need to hit the ground running.

1. Get a Broad Base

Unless you are certain there’s a specific area of marketing you want to go into, starting in a generalist capacity allows you to learn a little about all types of marketing. This will serve you well as you determine where your strengths and weaknesses lie and what you are truly passionate about. It will also make you more marketable as you advance your career.

2. Become a Fanatic

Find brands you love. They don’t need to be in your industry or even relevant to what you do (sometimes it’s better when they aren’t). Follow them on social, subscribe to their blog, read their PR. Once you’ve identified what you admire about them, take the elements you like and apply them to your business. Not only will this make you better at your job, it will also enable you to bring new ideas to the table and innovate faster.

3. Branch Out

Make an effort to get to know co-workers outside of your immediate team. Not only will this make work more enjoyable, but you will improve at your role. If you’re not sure where to start, target the sales, product development or HR teams. These relationships will be instrumental to your growth. Having someone in your corner from these groups will ensure you understand their lingo and viewpoint and ensure the product or service is marketed the way it should be.


If you don’t know what this acronym stands for, Google it. The internet should be your best friend. If you aren’t sure how to do something, Google it. If you have hit a creative block, Google it. Use the internet to generate ideas, validate ideas and improve ideas. If you’re at a loss for a catchy e-mail subject line, Google it. There are articles and information out there on everything. Use your resources. You will work faster and smarter, and it will make you look better to your boss because you aren’t asking questions every five minutes. 

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5. Collect Marketing Materials

The best way to understand your product or service is to read all about it. Make it a point to collect as many of the company’s marketing materials as you can—print collateral, direct mail pieces, advertisements, the blog. Go back through social media posts. Read through proposals and old e-mail campaigns. Read whatever you can get your hands on. Then ask questions to ensure you understand the justification, impact and outcome.

6. Find Inspiration

Some of the best marketers have loads of files, samples and examples from other companies. They take materials from trade shows, job fairs, networking events, parties they attend—personal or professional. If they like something, they take it and keep it for their repository. Inspiration can come from anywhere.

7. Attend Sales Meetings

If possible, go on client or customer meetings with your sales team. Understand the product or service from their point of view. Know the need the product or service is filling and understand the pain points of your customer.

8. Stay Educated

Find what works for you in terms of continuing education. Maybe it’s a podcast, a book, a blog, a class, a networking group. It’s important to identify it early on. In marketing, things change quickly. It’s important to stay one step ahead, and knowing how you learn best and the most enjoyable way to learn is crucial.

Jessica Schaeffer is director of marketing and communications at LaSalle Network, a national staffing and recruiting firm.