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Marketing graduate schemes & careers

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Now we understand that the most important thing we do is market the product. We've come around to saying that Nike is a marketing-oriented company, and the product is our most important marketing tool - Phil Knight, CEO Nike

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Marketing is an industry that’s all about ideas. From the bottom of the chain right to the top, marketing roles are almost exclusively populated by creative people. As an industry, marketing promises excitement at every turn, as well as the potential to move quickly up the ranks to earn a healthy wage.

Naturally, a marketing degree will prove appealing to many employers, but it isn’t the only qualification that can push you down the marketing path. Degrees in English, communications, business, IT, maths, statistics, and management are all considered relevant, and marketing often attracts graduates from a diverse range of academic backgrounds.

If you’re thinking of joining the industry, it’s worth investigating the marketing graduate schemes that can put you in pole position for a fruitful career. Here’s everything you need to know:

What does a typical marketing graduate scheme look like?

Marketing is a decidedly broad spectrum, and graduate schemes in this sector vary considerably as a result. However, a trait that many have in common is the fact there is often ample opportunity for rapid progression and ladder climbing as soon as the scheme is complete.

Most marketing graduate schemes involve learning on the job, with participants thrown into the deep end from the word go. Commonly, schemes take the form of internships, especially in marketing departments at big, well-established brands.

However, other marketing graduate schemes - like in PR, public affairs, and advertising - may invite successful candidates to come aboard as an assistant. These programmes are low-paying, but they do give graduates the chance to gain crucial insight into how the industry operates, as well as an opportunity to make useful contacts.

Expected salary

Graduate marketing roles often have competitive salaries to begin with, and it’s not uncommon for people to move up rather quickly from juniors, to seniors, to executives, to managers. Some may even advance to Director – a position that offers the highest wages in the sector.

Typically, though, many people in marketing can expect to earn an average salary of about £45,000. The automotive, television, and alcohol industries are known for paying the best wages. See our in-depth guide to marketing salary expectations

Career progression

Marketing graduates will end up taking very different paths depending on the specific role they’ve decided to pursue. Advertising graduates, for example, may begin by drafting ideas, before eventually taking the lead on certain projects.

If you can continually demonstrate the capability to be creative and think outside of the box, you’ll be in good stead to keep progressing through the organisation, no matter what specific area of marketing it may be.

Top firms

All companies need marketing, and many have an entire department dedicated to associated tasks such as brand promotion, idea generation, and design work. No matter what company you have in mind, you can guarantee they engage in marketing – be it in house or via outsourcing to other businesses.

This is where many modern digital agencies can help. For these companies, marketing is the main priority, and they’ll often perform marketing tasks for a variety of different clients at once.

Learn more about marketing in-house vs agency >>

Departments you can dip into

Advertising, account planning, market research, PR, copywriting, public affairs, media, law, television, hospitality. The choices are endless really. You just need to be familiar with the basic concepts of marketing and understand what’s required to succeed and progress within the industry.

Learn all about the essential marketing jargon here >>

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What an ideal candidate looks like

Regardless of whether a graduate is pursuing a position in PR or looking for a role in television, they’ll be expected to have a creative streak. Marketing is an industry that thrives on new ideas, and firms want to recruit graduates who can bring fresh approaches to the table.

Companies also like people who are in tune with their surroundings. If a candidate is aware of the trends dominating society, a business will immediately consider this candidate to be a potential prospect.

Communication skills are also desirable, as well as a capability to perform under pressure (deadlines are a big thing in marketing) and cater for alternative tastes and desires in various environments.

If you’re still at university, there are a ton of student jobs out there that can help you develop the kinds of skills marketing recruiters will absolutely love to see on your CV.

Find out more about creating an attractive marketing CV >>

Next steps

If this all sounds great and you’re thinking that marketing might just be the career choice for you, take a loot at our latest marketing and PR graduate opportunities.