Graduate marketing jobs

How to get a job in marketing, advertising and PR

A degree in a subject such as marketing or communications is not necessary to get a job in marketing, advertising or PR, but it may be beneficial. The most common graduate employers are marketing departments within large organisations and dedicated marketing agencies. You are unlikely to get a graduate job or scheme offer if you have not had some relevant work experience.

If you apply to a job or scheme with an organisation's marketing department you must also show an awareness and interest in the industry of the organisation rather than just in marketing. Graduate schemes with advertising, marketing and PR agencies are typically less widely advertised and hire fewer graduates than schemes in other industries.

Marketing job applications

Graduate roles in marketing are likely to appear throughout the year and do not follow a strict recruitment timetable. The application process will vary from role to role, but the majority will likely require a CV and covering letter. Marketing is all about promotion and your application is your opportunity to promote yourself. A creative covering letter can make you stand out from the crowd. This is a risky move, however, as novelty may not be what employers are looking for.

Find out how you can perfect your CV for a graduate marketing job and what you need to include in your marketing covering letters.

Read more about showing off your skills with a creative application here.

If your initial application is successful you will most likely be invited to an interview. Marketing focused graduate schemes with larger employers may run assessment centres that include an interview. Interviews are your opportunity to show that you have the skills necessary for a career in marketing. Commercial awareness is particularly important in this sector, so make sure that you have done your research about the employer, its clients and its competitors, and that you are up to date with marketing and advertising industry news.

Find out how to answer tricky interview questions here.

Read this advice to find out how to develop your commercial awareness and how to formulate examples using your research.

If you have an assessment centre coming up, this advice will let you know what to expect and how to prepare.

What's the difference between marketing, advertising and PR?


Marketing involves the promotion of products or services for a client or organisation. Advertising and PR can be considered aspects of marketing, but are distinct enough to have separate entry-level routes.

Find out how you can get a graduate marketing job.


Advertising incorporates all aspects of the process of creating and distributing adverts for the purpose of increasing the consumers' awareness of a client. You may be involved with buying space for these adverts or in the creation of the adverts themselves.

Read more about how to get a graduate role in advertising.

Public relations

PR or public relations roles are responsible for maintaining the reputation of a client. This can be through networking, communicating with the press or handling enquiries. Strong relationship-building and maintenance skills are crucial.

See entry-level routes into PR.

Graduate jobs vs schemes with marketing agencies and departments

There are many routes into marketing, advertising and PR. Large agencies and organisations that have marketing departments run their own marketing graduate schemes. Throughout the year there will also be a number of graduate jobs with smaller employers; these vacancies can either be advertised or unadvertised, with unadvertised positions requiring a speculative application.

Top skills to get a job in marketing, advertising and PR

Marketing, advertising and PR are all about increasing and maintaining the reputation of an organisation, products or services. In order to show that you are able to do this successfully, graduate marketers need to demonstrate the following key skills:

  • Communication is crucial as you will need to communicate the benefits of what you are marketing to consumers. This requires you to have understood the needs of the client and to express it in an effective way.
  • Teamwork is important as you will often be working within teams to prepare campaigns. Projects need to be coordinated so that the different areas of marketing (such as digital, direct and media planning) work together cohesively.
  • Commercial awareness: marketers need a strong understanding of the market of the thing they are marketing so as to make the most effective campaign possible. Market research is a key component of this. Understanding the industry of the client and the nature of the consumers is also part of this.
  • Creativity: depending on your role you may be able to use creative skills to help realise campaigns. This can be through writing copy, designing graphics or websites, producing video or composing marketing tweets and status updates.
  • Organisational skills are beneficial as you may be working on more than one project at the same time.
  • Find out more about the skills that will get you a job in marketing.

What is it like to work in marketing?

Marketing is a fast-paced and creative industry and can involve attending events, networking and travelling outside of the standard nine-to-five working day.

  • You will often be working in a team.
  • Working for an agency may offer you more creativity and control over your campaigns than working for an organisation. However, as you will be pitching for work can be competitive and stressful at times.
  • Networking is a major part of marketing and can be used to increase your commercial awareness and gain leads on new projects.
  • Meeting the wants and requirements of clients and consumers can be challenging, but seeing your campaigns in action can be satisfying. Projects are evaluated to gauge their success, so you will be able to clearly see how effective your work has been.

Marketing encompasses a great variety of different areas of work, ranging from conference management and digital marketing to media planning and client relationship management.

Find out more about the different marketing areas of work here.

Other degrees welcome or not?

Many graduate schemes and jobs will welcome applicants who have studied any degree subject. As such, relevant work experience from an internship, placement or part-time job is incredibly beneficial for helping you to stand out from the crowd.

A professional qualification can also give you the edge. However, employers are likely to favour work experience, and may instead sponsor you through gaining these professional qualifications after you have been employed. Qualifications are offered by organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) and the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM).

Read our advice on the professional qualifications available for graduate interested in marketing.


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