Today, significant career shifts are more common than ever. Some people want to take on a different level of responsibility. Some want to pursue a passion that has been put on hold for too long. And some need a change.
It’s a popular course that comes with a variety of challenges, multiple potential pitfalls, many barriers to entry, and a lot of hard work required – especially when transitioning to a role in marketing.
And if you do make that leap, you will need all the help and insight that you can get. That’s why we’ve provided some tips and tricks to keep in mind as you change your career path and become a marketer.
Transition to a marketing role
- Study, study and learn more in your free time.
- Try to take on more marketing-oriented responsibility in your role.
- Consider getting outside marketing experience.
- Customize your resume.
- Fold more marketers into your professional network.
1. Study, study and learn more in your free time.
This might go without saying, but you can’t expect to transition into a marketing role smoothly if you don’t have an idea of what marketing means. One of the best ways to make your job search and ultimate career move more workable and straightforward is to study marketing yourself.
Learn as much as you can in your time. Check out some books on the subject. Follow marketing influencers. Do independent research and, if you have the time and motivation, take some online courses to improve your marketing knowledge and relevant skills.
Employers are rarely interested in new marketing candidates who haven’t shown the interest and initiative to understand the field. Additionally, training new employees who are building their marketing knowledge from scratch is often a waste of time and resources.
If you want to move into a marketing role, you need to show that you are familiar and enthusiastic about the practice. Learning about the field in your spare time is one of the best ways to do both.
2. Try to take on more marketing-oriented responsibilities
within your current role.
Using outside resources like books and online courses to improve your marketing game is always a good call. However, when you gain real marketing experience, you can stand out from other candidates and make the transition between areas even more seamless.
See if you can help with some marketing tasks in your current business, and make it a point to legitimately pursue and perform them. This could mean helping with social media-related tasks, email contacting, company newsletters, or any other aspect of your company’s marketing strategy that the department may need help with.
That way, you can get some legitimate experience that shows potential employers (or your current business) that your interest in and fitness for marketing isn’t everything. That kind of influence can go a long way in transitioning to a marketing role.
3. Consider getting outside marketing experience.
Sometimes it is not possible to take on marketing responsibility with your current employer. Your company may be completely happy with the way their marketing team works, or they may want to keep the departments isolated and focus on their immediate tasks.
If so, you may want to look for ways and means to complement your current role. Try to get positions like part-time or unpaid internships in digital marketing that can help you get your feet wet in the field.
Remember that your current location must remain your first priority as you go down this path. You don’t want to undercut your professional performance by prioritizing what will essentially be a sideline.
This point is right on you and your free time, of course – it means you have to put in a lot more effort outside of work hours. However, if you are serious about transitioning to a marketing role, this is an excellent way to hone your resume, hone your skills, and provide you with the clout you need.
4. Customize your resume.
As you can assume, employers trying to hire marketers will not prioritize candidates who are only promoting skills and accomplishments relevant to other areas. So, if you don’t have extensive marketing experience, you will likely need to retool your resume a bit if you try to move on to the field.
That doesn’t mean you will be leaving every record of your professional accolades, achievements, and ingenuity behind. Instead, see if you can use your experience in your current field to highlight skills that can be applied in the context of a marketing role.
For example, if you’re in sales, you can improve your strategic and critical thinking skills by discussing how you helped shape and execute a successful go-to-market strategy.
You can also demonstrate a knack for creating quality content by referencing effective pitch decks or case studies you’ve been involved in. And you can announce your communication skills by referencing your experience with responsibilities like prospecting or social selling.
Again, you don’t have to lie about or ignore your previous experiences. Just think about what potential employers are looking for. Make sure your resume reflects the fact that you have the basics to be an exceptional marketer – not just a solid employee in general.
5. Fold more marketers into your professional network.
These days, having a robust professional network is far more of a must-have than a nice one – and when you move into a marketing role one can be invaluable. If you are trying to break through a new field without much experience, you need all the guidance you can get. An active network can provide this.
Check with in-house marketers at your company to see if you can shadow them a bit. See if they are willing to take some time to gain insight into their experiences and advice to get you on the right track. You may even find someone who might be interested in looking after you.
And while you’re looking for more immediate connections, hit LinkedIn and reach out to some outside marketers to see if they’re ready to chat and offer advice. Communicate with seasoned marketers in one way or another and learn as much as you can. This can only help your case if you are trying to take on a marketing role.
It is never easy to switch professional gears to a position in marketing. It takes a lot of effort, thought, perseverance and ambition. So if you are thinking of moving into this type of role, you need to make sure that you are really in it before taking the necessary steps.
But if you’re still ready to postpone your career after considering the challenges that might come with the process, it is well worth the effort. Among other things, keep the items on this list in mind as you start making things move.