I won’t lie to you; it wasn’t until about a year after I graduated from university that I awoke to the multitude of career paths for marketers to dig their teeth into. It can be so tricky graduating and being left with not knowing what to do next. Internships are a hot commodity at the moment, so it’s no surprise that there is increasingly less supply of internships than demand is willing to offer.
I spent a good portion of my degree thinking that I wanted to go into journalism instead of marketing, so I did an internship at my local newspaper. I soon realised that being sent to Morrison’s car park – on my own, and on my second day – to interview passers-by on their experiences with the NHS turning 70 was the less glamorous side of journalism that I had in mind.
The main problem I had encountered was not being pushed out of my comfort zone but instead finding passers-by to actually stop and let me interview them during a busy Tuesday lunch hour. I quickly redirected my focus back to marketing. I worked in the exhibitions team at a popular publishing company, helping to organise their upcoming events and producing media packs for colleagues attending those events.
Soon after, I completed a short internship as a media assistant conducting a social media review for a recruitment company. Both roles were fun, but they didn’t provide me with the enthusiasm and inspiration that writing web and blog copy gave me.
If you’re struggling to find a role that brings you joy, here are five alternative career paths you can take.
Do you have a burning passion for writing? If so, a marketing copywriter role might be the perfect job role for you.
A marketing copywriter is someone who writes persuasive copy to a wide audience to promote the sales of a business. Examples of marketing copywriting include writing blogs, writing website copy, advertisements, email content and research-based copy.
You don’t necessarily need to have a BA in English or Journalism to be a writer. I have a BA in Business Management with Marketing, and I work as a freelancer producing marketing copy for blogs, email campaigns, and websites. I didn’t realise just how competitive the marketing industry is, and it’s only recently that I created a digital portfolio as a method of displaying all my creative projects to show to prospective employers.
A great way to get some hands-on experience is by running a blog, as this allows you to get to grips with creating content consistently and enables you to get comfortable with some of the SEO aspects of copywriting.
Pro tip: Once you get started and learn the basics, SEO is not that scary at all. Alongside this, having a blog is a great way to connect and network with people in the industry which, in turn, will build up your technical knowledge and writing skills.
Many copywriters tend to freelance (but not all), meaning that you can choose your hours to suit you and your lifestyle. Creativity is key in this career path so you will be able to exercise those imaginative mind muscles. Each day will demand a new and exciting challenge to tackle.
Maybe you have lots of previous customer-facing work experience and you have been told countless times by friends and family that you’re great at communicating and networking with new people? Well, this might be the job for you.
A public relations officer is responsible for maintaining the company's reputation. A PR officer will monitor media coverage, plan campaigns, write press releases, articles, and pitch these to national journalists. Additionally, this role could include handling social media accounts and representing the company at events such as conferences and open days.
There aren’t any set qualifications you need to have to become a PR officer, although having a degree and/or experience can be desirable for many companies.
Brand managers play a pivotal role in helping to build a brand and to communicate to the world what makes them so special.
So, if you have a knack for data and analytics as well as a creative mind - look no further, a brand manager may be the role for you. In this role, you will support the overall talent brand strategy, measuring and reporting performance using key performance indicators, whilst also monitoring key trends within the industry.
Pro tip: If you have studied marketing at university and you have brand management as an option to choose for your 2nd or 3rd year, then definitely choose it if this a career path you’re looking to take. You can include work from any assignments within your digital portfolio.
By having a portfolio, you can demonstrate to potential employers that you can put theory into practice, and it shows that you are keen to explore further – helping you stand out from the crowd.
If you’re want to kickstart your career, try choosing five companies that you want to work for, draft a personalised email for each, and ask to do some interning or volunteering for them. Specify exactly how you can help them and what you can bring to the team.
Are you the extra organised friend whose handbag resembles that of Mary Poppins? Are you able to adapt quickly to stressful situations and juggle multiple tasks simultaneously? Event planning might just be your dream career path.
Event planners oversee and manage large internal and external events, negotiating as many deals as they can, all whilst trying not to overspend.
You may find that with this industry, it can be more about who you know rather than what you know. Get ahead by building a portfolio of work experience, whether you’re helping a family member plan a wedding or helping local venues with organising events. Not only will you gain experience by volunteering your time, but you could also gain recommendations that will show potential employers just how much you excelled.
Social media manager
Last but certainly not least, we have social media managers - the godsends in all things digital. Social media managers create strategies and campaigns, as well as managing the day-to-day handling of social media accounts and creating content.
Much like the other roles in this blog, you don’t need a degree for this role but a degree and/or experience is, of course, desirable. If you’re looking to gain experience in social media management, why not start an online blog through Instagram to showcase your expertise? Not only does this give you a chance to demonstrate what you know but gives you an amazing opportunity to network with likeminded people and businesses.
Admittedly, I didn’t have much social media management experience before obtaining my current job role, so I started voluntary work for a social enterprise called Fly Me Stories which was set up to help terminally ill children in hospitals by sending them personalised stories to transport them away to a happier place.
I started off by managing the LinkedIn page for Fly Me Stories, regularly updating it with content, graphics, and updates on the company. This helped me gain experience with analysing and measuring social media activity through tracked hashtags and SEO. I would highly recommend using the site Reach Volunteering and filtering through to find the role that works best for you.
Remember, you may not find your perfect career overnight and that is completely okay, and if you’ve found your perfect role right now – that’s amazing too. The things that you’re interested in life and your career will undoubtedly change as you get older and as you grow, so you may find that this applies to your career too.
Whether you already have marketing experience but you’re not sure what path to take, or you have no idea what you want to do and you have no experience – there is always a role out there that is perfect for you. Make mistakes, learn from them, meet new people, explore new interests, volunteer, reach out to those top companies and go chase your dream career – it’s well within your reach.