How do you get into marketing?

Work your way up

The more knowledge and experience, the more chance you have of getting a job in marketing. Most graduates start off in junior positions (assistants) and work their way up. These entry-level positions are a good way to gain a broad experience of the industry. However, employers will expect you to contribute immediately! You’ll have to be aware of any good opportunities around you and be prepared to take them in order to build your career.

Get on a graduate scheme

Many large companies offer graduate trainee or assistant schemes. The emphasis is increasingly on integrated skills, so you should be prepared to work in any department and gain an all-round training. Once you have entered the profession, there are numerous opportunities to help you develop your career.

Use your transferable skills

Many marketers working today did not necessarily start out in marketing. Frequently marketers come from other areas of the business such as sales and customer service as these involve transferable skills that fit well in a marketing role. You could find a non-marketing role with a company keen on promoting from within and look to move internally, but don’t expect to make it to the marketing department overnight. Keep on the lookout and make sure you make your transferable skills sellable.

Network for success

Network, network and network! You never know who could offer you a marketing opportunity so it pays to go to events being held at your university, or socially, where you might be able to gain contacts and meet industry representatives. In fact, as an Affiliate of CIM, you get invited to such regional and national events which are a meeting place for many junior and senior marketers. Find out more about your member benefits in line with this.

Gain valuable work experience

Relevant work experience is extremely attractive to prospective employers. If your degree course does not include a work placement in a relevant company or position, you could look for suitable opportunities online or approach local companies for holiday work in marketing functions. Some of the large graduate recruiters (such as Unilever and Mars) offer students paid summer placements in marketing and other departments. Smaller companies are also open to additional resources so we recommend you keep your approach broad.

Get qualified to get an advantage

If you do not have a degree in marketing, then you may want to consider a relevant course or a professional marketing qualification from CIM (The Chartered Institute of Marketing). You may be able to find an employer that will sponsor you to do this if they can see the value it will bring to their company. Our qualifications are driven by the practical needs of marketers and the industries in which they work. They are industry-mapped and recognised globally.



The competition for marketing jobs is intense
Our advice, stand out from the crowd!

Statistics show that there are 85 job applications per graduate vacancy*. Obviously a degree or a postgraduate qualification in marketing is an asset, but employers are looking to see if you exhibit skills like good communication, numeracy and the ability to work under pressure. You may be expected to produce creative ideas too.

Work experience in a marketing environment is also a real advantage. Check out the Professional Marketing Standards which identify the skills that employers are looking for at different stages in your career.

In your first marketing role, you may gain skills in:

  • Planning and using market research.
  • Communicating with target audiences (your customers).
  • New product and service development.
  • Managing customer relationships and using databases.
  • Delivering effective customer service to achieve marketing goals.
  • Developing effective channels to market.

Employers will be looking for evidence that you have these skills, or at least have the potential to develop them. So, don't ignore that temp job you did this summer. If you think you have gained the transferable skills required in marketing then you must showcase them in your CV or cover letter with examples while applying for a marketing role.

Take control of your professional development

The Evidence of Development certificate is issued by CIM (The Chartered Institute of Marketing) to its members and is tangible proof of your on-going professional development that your current and potential employers will recognise.

Why you might need one.

In a fast moving profession like marketing, it’s important to demonstrate to your potential employer that you are keeping your skills and knowledge up-to-date. Whatever stage you’re at in your career, still at university or just graduated, it’s never too late for you to start keeping track of your development.

To help you do this, CIM have developed an ‘easy to follow’ practical framework called the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme through which you can choose what learning and development activities you want to take part in and record your progress in a report.

Find out more about CPD

How do I get an Evidence of Development certificate?

To get an Evidence of Development certificate, you will need to join as a member of CIM and then sign up to our CPD programme. You can then record the learning and development activities that you undertake over the year - whether they are completed with us, through other organisations, or even things you've done on your own.

By successfully completing/recording 35 credits of your participation in learning and development activities, many of which you may already be involved in, you will receive an Evidence of Development certificate which is tangible proof of your commitment to ongoing development; proving to current and potential employers that you are serious about marketing and about maintaining your knowledge and skills.

To find out how to get started, visit our CPD pages.
If you have specific questions, get in touch with us.

Become an member

Joining CIM will help you stand out from the crowd no matter where you are in your career. With over 100 years of experience, we can help you get the most out of marketing. If you do not have any previous marketing experience or qualification, you can become an Affiliate of CIM. This is the basic grade of membership.

Whether it’s through sharing knowledge, bringing you together with the right people or providing practical advice, we can help you take the next step.

How will you benefit?

CIM is here to provide knowledge, support, network and growth at every stage in your marketing career. As an Affiliate you benefit from:

  • Professional recognition.
  • Career development support - useful information, advice and guidance wherever you are in your career.
  • Local and regional networks - meet and interact with your local marketing community.
  • Discounts.
  • Free legal advice.
  • Marketing Hotline.
  • CPD - our CPD Programme provides the framework to take control of your own development.
  • Online student support.
  • Sector Interest Groups (SIGs) - these groups bring marketers with specialist industry knowledge together to share ideas and network.

Membership benefits

Professional marketing qualifications

Our qualifications will help make a real difference to your career - whether you are a student, marketing assistant, or a marketing manager. We offer a range of professional qualifications from the Foundation Certificate in Marketing for first timers to the Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing for marketing managers and marketing directors along with CAM Diplomas in specialist knowledge areas.


Learn more about becoming qualified with CIM.

CIM marketing qualifications