Marketing, advertising and PR
Marketing strategy

How do I get a graduate job in marketing?

All the information you need to get started on a graduate career in marketing. With application tips, details of job roles and salary information, this is the place to begin your search for graduate jobs in marketing.

Marketing is all about promoting the goods or services of an organisation and takes place in all areas of industry. It involves researching markets and planning how best to promote and distribute products. It’s important to have an understanding of consumers and build up good relationships with suppliers and clients.

Jobs are open to graduates of any degree, though a qualification in marketing or communications may give you an advantage. You may work for an agency or in-house, either as part of a dedicated department or allied to the PR or communications department.

Getting a graduate job in marketing

Many large organisations will have a dedicated marketing stream as part of their graduate scheme, or offer a marketing placement as part of their rotations. Smaller companies may occasionally offer marketing assistant roles. They are less likely to have a structured scheme but will provide on-the-job training to enable you to build the practical skills required.

Speculative applications can be a good way in, particularly to smaller companies, but ensure you have researched the organisation well and expressed your skills and abilities through your CV and covering letter. Careers fairs and other networking events can be a good way of finding contacts and help you get into a role. Specialist agencies can also be a good way of breaking into the sector.

What’s the working life like?

  • Working hours will often be the standard nine-to-five though you may find yourself working longer if attending events or close to the end of a project.
  • There are often opportunities for travel, both in the UK and abroad.
  • Networking is a big part of the industry and you may end up combining your working and social lives.
  • Seeing the results on billboards can be hugely satisfying and provide a fulfilment that is lacking elsewhere.
  • Keeping everyone happy can be a challenge but can also be quite exciting.
  • Such a fast-paced industry can also be a challenge, but one that some people relish.

The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) suggests that the average starting salary for marketing roles is a very reasonable £22,000, though this may differ considerably if you are employed within the marketing department of a business that operates in a different sector. Salaries of £50,000 and beyond are not unknown for senior roles.

Marketing agency or marketing department?

Agencies are typically a freer, if more high-pressured environment. The client cannot walk over to your desk every hour to check your progress, but there is more riding on success. There is more variety available, and a stronger sense of teamwork. You can gripe to each other about the client because you won’t be working for them forever.

Working in-house will mean that you are quite focused; responding to the needs of the business. However, you may find yourself performing the same tasks year after year. What’s more, there will be company politics to deal with. On the plus side, you will know the company more intimately, and be better positioned to answer its needs.

What are the different roles?

Roles in marketing differ greatly depending on their nature.

  • Account managers will be in close contact with clients and will pass on their requirements to the other members of the team working on the project.
  • Marketing assistants will help them with this.
  • Marketing creatives will be involved in producing the copy or artwork for the campaign to the client requirements set out by the account manager.
  • A marketing executive position is concerned with developing client-led sales strategies, attracting new clients and evaluating the performance of campaigns.

What do I need to do to get a job?

Graduate programmes will follow the usual application process of either paper or, more commonly, online application forms along with CVs and covering letters. Many graduates enter the sector through roles in related industries such as sales, market research, PR or advertising. In this industry, specialist recruitment agencies can be very helpful. They will often have short contract jobs available which can be useful for building up experience.You may also be asked to undertake an aptitude test. Click here to find practice tests and more to help you out.

While some graduate programmes will offer marketing streams or rotations, these spaces are limited and as such competition is high. Competition for roles at smaller firms can be equally fierce so some form of work experience will give you a real edge. A qualification from one of the professional bodies: The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) or The Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM) can also help.