Should You Apply Without Experience?
If you are a graduate, you definitely have a shot at a role asking for Grads with 1 years + experience. Even if you don’t have 1 years + experience, go for it. Unless the role asks for a particular degree. Think of it like this; we wouldn’t apply to be a doctor without being medically qualified. Therefore, it is a good idea not to apply to roles that are asking for qualifications in a specific discipline.
I would say this advice is true across the board.
As a general rule, when applying for jobs, you should have relevant experience.
Relevant experience, in recruitment speak, means that a candidate has worked in a fairly similar role before. By fairly similar, we mean within the right area of marketing and at a similar level.
For example, if an advert calls for a ‘Digital Marketing Manager’, it is asking for someone whose day job has so far been managing digital marketing campaigns in a professional capacity.
As another general rule, marketing companies like candidates who have done the same role. Preferably, at a competitor company. That is not to say that they will not look at candidates who can clearly demonstrate their interest and transferable skills in their CVs. But the point remains that roles at this level will not offer training. They will offer a brief induction and allow the successful candidate to familiarise with their systems. But they are looking for candidates who can hit the ground running.
Marketing has, since the 90s, become an increasingly complex profession. Along with brand development, content and copywriting skills, the industry now relies on strategic planning, analytics and advances in technology.
If you are later on in your career and looking to switch into marketing, your prospective employers will want to know that you aren’t changing on a whim. Effectively, they will be looking over your CV for signs of how serious you are. If they do not see any courses or work experience related to your proposed career change, then it is unlikely that you will be invited to interview.
Is it possible to switch?
It is absolutely possible to switch careers. As an agency, we have seen candidates do this on many occasions. However, no matter the background of such candidates, they all share one thing in common; they have been able to demonstrate examples of relevant work experience on their CVs and in their interviews (eg. Having regularly used SEO, having written email newsletters, run marketing campaigns across social media etc.).
But beware, the likelihood of moving from a completely different industry, in which you have worked your way up and gained valuable skills, and earning an equivalent salary is slim. It is very unusual for someone to leave a £50,000 role in HR and step straight into a £50,000 Marketing Manager role.
That said, there are some professions which naturally facilitate a switch to Marketing. These include high-level sales roles, journalism roles and some IT roles (particularly those focused on SEO or online analytics).