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How Can I Progress in My Marketing Career?

Dec 11, 2020
How to turn yourself into a valuable marketing employee, whether you’re still a student or already working

By Emily Scott

With COVID-19’s large impact on the job market, students and young professionals alike are wondering what they can do to progress in their marketing careers. Emily Anderson, Senior Director of the Career Management Center, answers some common questions and gives advice to young marketing professionals who are looking to build their professional skills and set themselves up for future opportunities.

With limited internships available right now due to COVID-19, what can students do to add value to their future marketing careers?

Internships aren’t the only way aspiring marketers can build their chops: class projects and volunteer work for businesses are also good ways to gain those skills. Just because internships might be scarcer than previous years doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities available, so see what your school has to offer. “In the absence of an internship, students should focus on building some skill sets, especially around using information, data analysis, and data visualization. While you’re in school and have access to those resources would be a great time to learn some of those skills,” Anderson said.

Emily Anderson, Senior Director of the Career Management Center

Emily Anderson, Senior Director of the Career Management Center

When should you put special projects and volunteer work on a resume?

Anderson says that any type of special project or volunteer work that you do outside of class can go on your resume, as long as it’s relevant to your career goals. Project work where you can earn experience in an aspect of marketing that you are interested in — such as digital, analytics, web development, or brand management — is useful to list on your resume for future employers to see. “From a recruiter or an employer standpoint, the fact that you are making the effort to do something outside of school work is also very valuable and says something to the employer that… you are able to do different things and prioritize work,” Anderson said. 

What are some certifications that employers are looking for in marketing hires?

With the growing interest in digital technology, many employers are looking for people that have a background in data analytics. Anderson emphasizes that being able to work with numbers and understand their outcomes is highly important for anyone in the marketing field. “Certifications in tools like Google Analytics or other data analytics platforms can be useful for marketers. However, any certification that you may have from previous work can be useful, because it shows you are dedicated to learning about a specific area,” she said.

What else can marketing professionals do to progress?

Taking advantage of the time that you have now will pay off later in your career. Young professionals interested in marketing should seek out opportunities to sharpen their skills so that they can be better prepared for future job opportunities. If you feel like you’ve maxed out all the resources currently available to you, you might want to consider enrolling in a Master of Marketing program, or earning an MBA in marketing if you’ve progressed a little further in your marketing career. “The main thing about a marketing professional is curiosity. You are trying to sell a product or service, and you have to be able to have an open mind and be able to be adaptable, flexible, and curious,” Anderson said.

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