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The Ultimate Guide to Beginning Your Career in Marketing

Written by Rob Moore: Business Manager at Zachary Daniels

As a recruiter in marketing for over 8 years, a question I often get asked by graduates, school leavers, or people switching careers is:

“Is there any advice you could give me for breaking into marketing?”

So, I decided to write it all down here…

As a graduate myself who earned a Philosophy degree in the middle of a recession, I know how hard it can be to find that first role in your career! Now that I am a bit older and slightly wiser, hopefully, I can help someone to do just that.

Why Do You Want a Career in Marketing?

Everything starts with “Why?” Why marketing? Be clear on your motivations. This will help you with your interviews and looking into potential avenues in your career.

Looking For Your First Marketing Job?

What brands do you like? What adverts have you noticed? Who has a great social media presence? Get some ideas on the type of role you would like and the brand you would like to work for. It’s crucial to have a goal!

How To Start in Marketing?

How are you going to get to your goal? It won’t happen overnight but look at LinkedIn profiles of people in the types of roles you would like to work in. What path have they taken? Where did they work? What did they study? What type of content do they share?

Upskilling & Experience:

  • Where are you now?
  • What do you currently offer a company?

In any journey, it’s important to look at where you are now and where you want to be. A good way to do that is to work on your CV to see how it looks currently.


There’s a lot of mixed advice when it comes to a CV. I would say the easiest way to approach it is to design it similarly to your LinkedIn profile. Keep your CV 1 to 2 pages long, definitely no more than 3.

Make it easy to read and clear; not too garish!

The Layout:


Contact details/Location

PROFILE/Summary – keep this short and snappy; add a bit of character in there!
Outline who you are, what you have done so far in your career, and what type of roles you are looking for. People love clarity, so keep it clear and concise.


List your experience starting with your most recent/current role first and working down from there.

Each role can follow a format similar to your LinkedIn.


Dates – include months, not just years

Key Responsibilities:

Bullet point these


Bullet points these – any promotions or awards.
Work Experience and Internships


List your education and any study courses you have done or are doing here.


List hobbies here. Hobbies give a better sense of who you are and what you enjoy doing (people often consider hobbies to understand more about someone).


You can either be specific with names and emails (with permission), or you can just put “References on request”

Another good tip is to get references and recommendation letters:

  • You can get these from former managers (in any industry).
  • Your teachers/tutors at university or college.
  • People in the marketing industry who you have worked with.
  • You can then put on your CV, “I also have a recommendation letter from [INSERT NAME] at the University of Manchester,” etc.

From here – I would ask people to review it for you: friends, family, people who work in marketing, and of course, recruiters.

The next step is to produce an elevator pitch about yourself. This will help you craft an introductory email about yourself and also help you with interviews.

An email or intro can look something like this:

“Hi [Name],

Hope you’re well!

I hope you don’t mind me getting in touch, but I am interested in the potential of a career at [Insert company name]. I’ve long been a fan of the brand, and the company seems to have a great culture and a fantastic marketing presence.

A bit about me:

I am [insert full name]. I’ve just graduated with a first-class degree in International Fashion Marketing from the University of Manchester. I’m now actively seeking my first break into marketing, and I’m excited to get my career going!

Outside of my course, I have been working on social media campaigns for my friends and family, and I’ve also gained some great experience in an internship with the marketing agency Jellyfish.

I’ve attached a copy of my CV, and I also have a cover letter I can share with you if needed.

I appreciate you taking the time to look over my email, and I would love to hear back from you!

Best wishes,


You can tweak this however you like and add more things if needed. Do it in your own style and mix in personality and evidence.
By evidence, we mean – “What makes you a credible candidate?” What have you achieved in previous roles? What brands have you worked with previously? What degree did you get? What courses have you studied?

NEXT Steps:

  1. Identify which roles you would be interested in and what companies you would like to work for. Look for companies that are located near you and are commutable. You can use LinkedIn for this as well as Google/Maps. Typical titles include Marketing Graduate, Marketing Assistant, Marketing Executive, Digital Marketing Assistant. Look for words such as entry-level, internship, or graduate.
  2. Create a LinkedIn profile if you haven’t already. Become proactive there and get yourself noticed. Comment on great articles in marketing and engage with the brands you like. The talent teams in the companies will notice you. Not too much, but find the right level of activity. Get yourself noticed and show your personality.
  3. Follow any brands you like on LinkedIn. Once you become a follower of the brand, when they share any company news or jobs, it will appear on your newsfeed. Follow the talent teams too: any internal recruiters or talent acquisition professionals.
  4. You can also set up job alerts on job boards so you will be notified of any vacancies that fit your criteria.
  5. Get your applications in and get going. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get much success straight away. Persistence beats resistance!

Good job boards for graduates:

What if you don’t have the right experience?

Well, here’s how you build it up…

USE Your Network:

Any friends or family who either work in marketing or have their own company, you can help them with their marketing. Do it for free if needed. Experience is more valuable than money at this stage in your career.
You will then be able to list this experience on your CV. If it builds up enough, you could set yourself up as a marketing consultant and, if needed, register your own company. It costs around £50 to do so through the appropriate government site.

You can also do the marketing for any sports teams in your area. Any team you play for or any team that would allow you to do social media for them or create content for their websites.

FIND Free Courses or Paid Courses Online:

Google any courses you can do. Google also has a range of free courses you can take. Once you complete any courses, you can then put these on your CV.

SEEK Advice from People Who Work in the Industry:

You can reach out to people, whether you know them or not, and ask them if you could have 5 to 10 minutes of their time to learn about how they got into their role and what advice they would give to someone just starting out.
People generally love helping others and talking about their careers!

START Broad:

Start broad in your career and then begin to specialise. It’s great to have a broad knowledge of marketing and then start to specialise as you progress through your career.
Growth areas in marketing are paid social, UX, and e-commerce. Look into these areas to see if they could potentially interest you.

SHOWCASE Your Experience:

Once you start to gain some experience, you can display it all in a portfolio. You can do this in a PowerPoint, PDF document, or even a website. The main websites I see people using are Behance and Wix – however, there are plenty, so find the one that works best for you.

READ and Self-Develop:

Follow the right people online who are marketing superstars. See what articles they share and what content they produce. A good website you could follow is Marketing Weekly, which is a good site for learning about the industry. Read marketing books, and listen to the right podcasts. Always continually self-develop and stay curious.

PRACTICE and Experiment:

Once you have started to build up your knowledge and experience, practise on your own social media. You can produce videos on Instagram, and YouTube. Play around on Canva. Start to experiment and learn. You can add any great traction or viral posts to your CV or portfolio.
Breaking into marketing can be tough! It’s a really popular space and there’s plenty of competition. You need to make yourself stand out. Get creative and get proactive.

If you need any further advice, please get in contact with Zachary Daniels direct:


And remember “If your boat doesn’t come in, then swim out to it!”

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