If you’re looking to start a career in Marketing & Design but have little experience on paper, you’ve come to the right place. I think there’s a considerable amount of pressure these days to make your career choices from as early as 16. The problem is that creative avenues aren’t always seen as the best option, with more traditional subjects such as science or maths being pushed by schools and sometimes even parents. From a young age, I knew I was a creative person, but I have always done well academically and I think that when the time came to make big decisions about my future, I let the whole “you’ll never get a job doing that” talk get to me.
When it came to university I decided to study Psychology. Don’t get me wrong it was an amazing subject and I really enjoyed it, but there was always something missing. Every time I was working on a project, my favourite part would be designing the powerpoint or poster, anything to bring some creativity into my work. It’s funny because both lecturers and friends always commented on my powerpoints, I was often the go to for help in this department! It made me happy to know that I was appreciated for my design skills and it kind of spurred me on to do the inevitable and follow a more creative career path.
Although my degree is in psychology, I now work in marketing & design (yay!). I took a number of steps that helped me get to where I wanted to be and I hope that if you’re in the same boat that I was a few years back, you can find some inspiration and start your career in marketing & design too!
One of the things that really helped me was working as a freelancer. We all know that work experience and internships are hard to come by, especially in the field of marketing & design which is a competitive field as it is. It didn’t help that I lived in the countryside so my options seemed even more limited, I felt restless and wanted to do something, anything to dip my feet in and start creating.
Freelancing is a magical land where it doesn’t matter where you live or how much experience you have, as long as you’re honest with your abilities and what you offer, you can advertise your services! I personally used a website that allowed you to both post services as well as send a proposal for listed jobs. My first freelancing job was redesigning a powerpoint presentation for a company who had all their content but just didn’t know how to make their slides look interesting. The whole experience was exciting and I really enjoyed working with the company, they were really positive and appreciative of my work which gave me a huge confidence boost. I did this a couple of times and eventually, I began building a portfolio which I will talk about in more detail in a minute.
I think it’s important to note that when you offer your services online, you need to access what your ability is. When I first started I was confident that my presentation design skills were professional and that I could execute the job to the level that the client expected. I had a huge interest in marketing at this point but I knew that I couldn’t offer this as a service because I simply wasn’t good enough.
During my time as a freelancer, I worked on presentation redesigns, content creation, blogging and social media management. It was vital to landing my current job and I am so glad I put myself out there because the experience was invaluable!
I think that working on a portfolio is one of the most important things to do when you want to get into marketing and design. Because I didn’t study it in university, my previous work wasn’t directly relevant and I didn’t have anything to show my skills off. I created an online portfolio on Wix and started to upload my work bit by bit, I uploaded anything that I was involved with from Instagram layouts to restaurant menus I had designed.
Having a portfolio is also great for seeing how well you’re doing, you can track your progress and take a step back to look how far you’ve come! Your portfolio will work great as an addition to your CV, it’s easy to write down your skills but showing them visually allows people to really see what you can do!
The internet is an amazing thing and there are so many free resources. In university, I managed to take a module in marketing psychology. It was a taste of marketing and I became hooked, I couldn’t stop thinking about it! I was frustrated that I hadn’t taken a design or marketing degree and so I turned to the internet for help! There are so many platforms that offer online classes and I highly suggest taking them, I actually find them more engaging than lectures and you can follow them at your own pace. Keep a list of what you’ve done so that you have a reference and can always find them if you need them. I actually found a lot of useful resources on Pinterest, it’s full of information about blogging, marketing, design, SEO, coding and more – I could spend all day on it!
If you’re looking to get into design, do some classes on the Adobe suite. I use this all the time and it’s my main tool for creating any graphics or visual content. Knowing how to use Adobe will be great for your CV as it’s something that employers use around the world, it’s the go-to design software. I would also suggest looking into the design process and principles, it’s always interesting to know how other people think and how they work, it helps you grow and it helps you distinguish your own style.
Finding real-world experience is difficult and so freelancing is great for getting some work under your belt, however, there are ways to offer your services face to face. The way I did this may be controversial to some, but I don’t regret a thing and I gained value in other ways. So you’re probably thinking what did I do? To be honest it’s not all that bad but some people don’t agree with creatives working for free. Yes, for free, I said it. Now I’m not saying go out and work 9 – 5 without pay, that definitely isn’t what I’m suggesting, but you can spend an hour or so a week getting experience. Here’s exactly what I did.
I decided to approach a couple of local businesses and offer social media management and content creation, this would be unpaid but I was gaining in other ways. I wanted to work face to face with the client which is something I didn’t get when freelancing online. One thing that I loved doing was visiting the client and working on my photography and social media skills, it meant I could post content that was high quality and personal to the business. It was nice to go into the business and get a feel for who they were and portray that on social media, I really enjoyed building a relationship and using my passion to enhance their online presence. The whole experience was invaluable and meant I had more work for my portfolio and face to face client work under my belt.
Make It A Hobby!
I assume that if you’re reading this, you’re probably into marketing and design and so I’m also going to assume that you’ve incorporated this into your hobbies already – I did this by starting a blog! I loved designing my blog template and styling photos, I would spend all of my spare time in my room with my laptop and camera. As my blog grew I began marketing it with social media on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. I couldn’t get enough and I loved meeting people who were just like me with the same passions, there’s such a strong community when it comes to blogging.
Although I have listed a few ways you can get closer to that career in Marketing & Design, the best thing you can do is get out there and do what you love doing! It’s an amazing and rewarding field that has so many outlets – if you’re passionate, you will get there!