Captivate the Audience
Look around you. Someone, somewhere, got paid to draw your attention toward something that they want you to consume.
Recent reports suggest that occupations that create experiences, tell stories, or provide entertainment comprise one of the highest areas of job growth. With an imaginative mind, a resourceful toolkit, and an interest in engaging an audience, the modern workforce presents countless opportunities to make an impact through creative, original, expressive work.
Use the information on this page to jumpstart careers related to marketing, advertising, branding, public relations, professional writing, journalism, design, digital media, film production, performing arts, entertainment, sports, museums, tourism, hospitality, event planning, and other creative roles.
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Get Hired: Marketing
For complete information on job search strategies, resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn, interviews, and more, review our starter tips to Get Hired in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.
Job Search Strategies
To land a position in marketing, you will need to conduct research on the job market, understand the competitive advantages you offer over other candidates, and identify the preferences of your target audience (i.e., employers). This can feel a bit "meta," as your own job search is often one of your biggest "marketing projects" as an emerging marketing professional!
Once you effectively market and advertise yourself to employers, they will be able to visualize how you can market and advertise their (or their clients') organizations and services. This mindset can help you adopt strategies through your job search.
Job Descriptions Matter
Because marketing positions vary in scope and change frequently with new technologies, you may find that job titles are particularly confusing to understand. What may be referred to as a “Marketing Coordinator” at one organization could be called a “Marketing Specialist” at another organization, just as a “Digital Marketer” does similar work as a “Social Media Marketer.”
We recommend that you read job descriptions very carefully when applying for positions in marketing. By studying the qualifications and duties, you will have a clearer sense of the kind of work that this position is involved with, as opposed to assessing this strictly from the position title. In short, remember the adage: "don’t judge a book by its cover."
Be wary of job titles that use the term “marketing” or “business development” for duties that focus primarily on sales. Many employers use these terms in job titles to attract more candidates to sales positions.
The State of the Job Market
Given the culture of consumerism and access to technology in most developed countries in the 21st century, marketing is expected to remain a mainstay for the foreseeable future. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job outlook is projected to grow by 10% between 2016-2026, which is faster than the national average for all occupations.
With this said, it is often the case that marketing is among the first functional areas within a business to be downsized during economic recessions. Because marketing is perceived to be less critical to business functions than finance, sales, and production, marketing can exhibit higher unemployment rates when a business is struggling. Despite this relative volatility, marketing exists in most businesses and transcends all industries. This provides an overall larger volume of employment opportunities, as compared with occupations that are only found in one or two industries.
A final consideration about the job market is that of generational interest. Most members of the Millennial Generation and Generation Z grew up with exposure to unprecedented amounts of marketing, and therefore know it as a career choice. Because of its relative familiarity, marketing is one of the most popular career choices of traditional-aged college students, including UCSB students. This means that while many jobs exist, there are also many candidates competing for these types of positions, so it is important that you take extra steps to stand out among the crowd.
A Mindset of Results
In all instances, the best habit to help you get hired and remain hired in marketing is to focus on results. Track the results of your efforts (to show your current employer as well as future employers when appropriate) in order to demonstrate the impact made by your projects and initiatives.
Your resume, cover letter, interview responses, LinkedIn profile, and other means of professional communication, are all key mediums to communicate your most impactful results. Focus on quantifiable statistics and percentages, and write them as digits to help them stand out visually.
Resumes and Cover Letters
In addition to communicating results on your application materials, resumes and cover letters in marketing stand out when they tell a powerful story. In essence, these documents are marketing documents, and prospective employers often look at applicants’ resumes and cover letters as indicators of their ability to tell a story.
While resumes tell a story in a format that resembles a fact sheet and cover letters tell a story in a format that resembles a tailored pitch, both versions need to align with a similar story or “brand” for yourself as a candidate.
Incorporate a Unique Visual Identity
Your resume and cover letter should stand out from the average applicants’ documents, and in marketing, there are many ways to do so. Approach this with the goal of making your documents resemble the "look and feel" of an actual marketing document.
Here are some tips to get started in standing out:
- Font and Color: Incorporate a unique, yet professional font and consider a conservative use of accent color (e.g., a medium shade of blue, as long as it also prints clearly in gray scale).
- Header: Pay special attention to how you format your name and your contact information in the header of your documents. This is an opportunity to provide visual emphasis to help your name stand out. Use the same header style and font for both your resume and cover letter for consistency across all of your application materials.
- Keywords and Phrases: Use strong verbs and relevant buzzwords. Avoid broad or general terms (e.g., strong communication skills, good team player, proven leader), and focus on concrete terms that are found in the job description. If the job description only uses broad terminology, apply the terms more specifically to the type of work that this role might take on (e.g., “strong communication skills” could mean “writing powerful advertising copy” or “presenting proposals to a board of directors” depending on the context; if you portray more specific communication skills on your resume, you will brand yourself in a more meaningful way).
While this advice is also applicable to resumes and cover letters in most careers, it is especially important in marketing careers. To tell the most powerful story, pay close attention to your choice of words and visual presentation.
Sometimes, roles in marketing require a creative resume. For tips on how to compile a resume in this format, jump over to our tips to Get Hired in Communications + Arts.
Create a Value Proposition
Great marketing professionals are adept at communicating the value of something upfront. Your resume and cover letter should clearly portray this whenever possible by indicating relevant themes which relate to the employer’s unique needs. While both documents can be customized, you may find that there is more flexibility in customizing your cover letter to communicate the specific value you can offer to each employer. Remember, this is your tailored pitch.
Take a Calculated Risk
With so much "background noise" in the world of marketing, sometimes the best way to stand out is to take a calculated risk -- particularly if you are applying within a competitive employer or industry. This applies as much to creating materials in the profession as it does to creating materials in the job search. Hiring managers from the largest and most competitive employers often report that the resumes and cover letters which land interviews are the ones that take risks and execute them effectively.
For example, your cover letter could stand out if you address a recent trend that is directly impacting the organization’s industry, or if you confidently yet tactfully suggest how you would have improved a marketing campaign that the organization recently ran. Risks like these take a lot of time to research and even more patience to execute effectively, but they can pay off by showcasing your acumen as an aspiring marketing professional.
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