By Mackenzie Burckbuchler
“Marketing” is often used as an umbrella term. Within the marketing field, you can focus on quantitative analysis, advertising, public relations, brand management, or a variety of other job titles. In addition, marketing is essential to nearly every industry: healthcare, financial services, cosmetics, consumer packaged goods, and more. Your career in marketing can take a number of paths. So, how do you find the right marketing job for you? We spoke with Vanderbilt’s Master of Marketing Director Suzanne Feinstein and Associate Director of Vanderbilt’s Career Management Center Kathleen Rall to get some insight.
Are there certain personal skills that might help me do better in one marketing position than another?
Marketing often entails both creative and quantitative work. The degree to which you will need to use each of these skills depends on your specific job title. Knowing your personal strengths can help you identify areas of interest. As Suzanne Feinstein says, “Marketers can specialize in roles based on their unique skills. For example, brand managers require creativity and project management skills, as well as the ability to motivate others and work well in teams. Content marketers need to be great writers and storytellers. Marketing analysts need to be great with numbers and data, but they must also be able to tell the story of the data to help direct marketing strategy. Storytelling is a key skill for many marketing roles.” Successful marketers tend to be adaptable, with versatile skills that add real value to organizations and their operations.
How can I learn about the different career paths available to me within marketing?
Researching marketing career paths can be overwhelming at first glance. While some professionals pursue a consulting role, others will look at in-house work. Some decide on a certain industry while others are more interested in a certain role. With so many different trajectories available to you, it can be hard to hone in on a specific area of interest. Throughout the search process, networking can be invaluable. As you connect with marketing professionals, informational interviews will allow you to learn more about the opportunities available to you.
“During informational interviews, come to the conversation prepared with questions about the role, the team, the organization, opportunities for growth, and more,” says Rall. “You’ll find that people generally enjoy talking about what they do and will usually share information that can be difficult to discover elsewhere. For example, companies rarely list details of their internal culture online, but this is something that you can get a feel for when having a networking conversation.” These informational interviews can help you solidify your interests, narrow your search, and develop your own career goals.
How will internships help me find the right marketing job?
If you have identified a potential area of interest, an internship can be a great way to learn more about the role and decide whether your skills align with the job requirements. “As an intern, you have the opportunity to ask questions from the inside of an organization,” says Rall. “While you’re in the role, take advantage of this unique opportunity to network with as many people as possible. This will help you gauge whether the company is a good fit and what future opportunities might be available.” After the internship experience, you might decide that the role is right for you. However, the internship experience might reveal that your skills could be better utilized elsewhere. Either way, interning within the marketing field will help you further identify your strengths and areas of interest while also providing you with valuable experience that can help you in the recruitment process down the line.
Overall, pursuing a career in marketing means that you will have a plethora of options and paths available. To decide on the most rewarding path for you, consider your skills and then speak with marketing professionals and gain experience to solidify your interests. As your career progresses, you can continue developing skills to easily pivot and find a marketing career that excites and challenges you.
For some young professionals, a Master of Marketing degree offers a chance to build upon existing skills, develop new ones, and identify the industries and roles that fit your career ambitions. To learn more about Vanderbilt’s Master of Marketing program, click here.