Entry-Level Marketing Job Woes
November 8, 2019 6:01 PM   Subscribe

I need help finding an entry-level job in marketing in the Los Angeles area (although I live in Riverside right now). I’m sort of flailing in the dark here; nobody I know works in marketing so I don’t have anyone to ask for help.

I just graduated college less than a year ago with a B.A. in Sociology. In college, I had some work experience as a food service worker, volunteered as a crisis counselor at a suicide hotline, and volunteered as a research assistant in three different labs.

After college, I worked as a clinical research coordinator. I resigned after 8 months because the development opportunities that were promised to me did not materialize. I also realized I wanted to work in marketing instead.

Two months ago, I went the self-teach route to learn marketing. I started a blog on WordPress, learned some HTML & CSS, learned about SEO, got an Ahrefs subscription, and learned how to use it, got certified in Google Analytics, learned how to market on Instagram, did hashtag research on Iconosquare, and etc.

I started applying for jobs in Riverside and got rejected for both digital marketing coordinator and social media coordinator positions. I feel totally gutted right now and really alone. Can someone in marketing please advise me on what I’m doing wrong?

(Also, if more seasoned marketers could take a look at my blog, resume, and cover letter, I’d love to PM you for feedback!)
posted by Yasuo to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Keep applying. Two rejections, as much as that hurts, is really not that many. Dont feel bad. Lots of places post jobs because they are required to, even if they actually plan to hire internally. Annoying, but maybe also helpful to know its not about your skills personally.

Can you demonstrate success at this? Having a social media account with a strong following is a great way to showcase your skills for someone new to the industry. Make an Instagram and build it up quickly to show that you know what you're doing. Or put example marketing plans on your blog.

Applying outside of your network is a slog, and something I'm confronting myself as a seasoned pro who's been working in finance analytics for a hot minute. Dont give up tho! Remember you'll hear a lot of no before you get to the yes. That's normal, so dont let it throw you off your game (hard, I know)

Happy to take a look at your CV etc.
posted by ananci at 6:16 PM on November 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

First thing: You only got rejected from two positions? That's gutting (I get it), but, honestly, with the gift of hindsight it's nothing. Be prepared to get rejected from 25 more. Over your lifetime, maybe 500 or several hundred. It's a numbers game. In my last job search, I got turned away from over 75. Interviewed for 15. Finally got one.

It sucks, but it's normal. You just have to keep at it.

I'd start by aiming a little lower. You've got skills, but you have to get an opportunity to showcase them. Apply for marketing assistant positions. That's the entry level in the world I inhabit (which, marketing). Coordinator is mostly the next step. In applying for coordinator positions, you're running against people who have either real job experience or internships. Some luck into those positions straight outta undergrad, but it's not guaranteed. Assistant -> Coordinator -> Specialist -> Manager -> Director -> CMO.

One industry I'd pay special attention to is law (especially Big Law). Nobody talks about legal marketing, but it's a massive industry, but because nobody talks about it, you have a much better chance of getting yourself in. Specifically, study up on Interaction (the standard CRM for Big Law), Vuture (the standard email marketing platform for Big Law) and Wordpress (the standard Big Law law blog...you get it). Add those to your LinkedIn profile skills and you'll get recruiters barking up your tree by the dozen.

You're using LinkedIn, right?
posted by General Malaise at 6:21 PM on November 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oh, crap: I meant to say: Every interview that ends in a rejection is job interview practice. You have no idea how much better you get at it after 20 or so interviews. Take every single free opportunity to practice interviewing for a job.
posted by General Malaise at 6:22 PM on November 8, 2019

Also, put your blog in your MeFI profile.
posted by General Malaise at 6:24 PM on November 8, 2019

Hi! I'm happy to take a look at your resume and so forth, feel free to DM me. My background is travel marketing, so it's different from law marketing (and also more competitive).

I can't speak to what other industries are looking for, but in my industry for entry level work SEO, HTML and CSS (and even Google Analytics) aren't necessarily things that are going to get you a "marketing coordinator" job. That's much more in the "website manager" or "web assistant" or "content assistant" realm. I know this from personal experience; those were my areas of expertise as I started getting into this work, and I started as a website manager ad got digital marketing added to my plate. (It was 2008; marketing directors were focused on banner ads, print, radio and TV; social wasn't seen as important and was left to the web people.)

When I see marketing coordinator or marketing assistant jobs, they're much more focused on social. You've got Instagram; get at least an overview of Facebook ads, Pinterest (which is seriously the best and most overlooked channel for a lot of things right now), Snapchat and Twitter. Also look at getting your Google Search Ads qualification; it's free and it's pretty simple. (Display is also free and pretty simple; Video is a bit of a bear because of the way the questions are formatted.)

Another question to ask: do you want to work in-house for a brand, or do you want to work for an agency? There are a lot of agencies in LA that need bodies. You can start at the very lowest level and learn quickly. The hours are long and the pay is often low, but because turnover is high (because the hours are long and the pay is low) there's a lot of room for advancement. If you decide to go into an agency, it's a good opportunity to figure out which track of marketing you'd be interested in specializing in.

Like others above have said, getting rejected from two jobs is nothing – and if they actually sent you a rejection email that's actually something (nowadays many places just don't respond at all to candidates they aren't accepting). Make it your goal to accumulate 100 rejections; this will give you the focus to apply to the number of jobs you need to apply to in order to get one.
posted by rednikki at 12:35 AM on November 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

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