5 ways to fast track your marketing career

Danielle Butler ACIM, CIM Yorkshire Board Member (Events Ambassador) and Postgraduate and International Marketing Officer, University of Huddersfield.

It’s that time of year again as we come to the end of another academic year when the next generation of marketers start to hand in their dissertations and kick start their career in marketing.

With so much uncertainty around the current climate, it’s understandable that many budding marketers will be seeking out opportunities that fast track their marketing careers. Many savvy marketers are taking advantage of the additional time that lockdown has granted. This is the perfect opportunity for all marketers, from junior to senior level, to be taking a step back and seeking out ways to develop the sought after skills and experience that will give them a competitive edge in preparation for when the world gets back on its feet.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled 5 tips that I feel new marketing graduates can be looking to take advantage of. Read on below:

1) Utilise CPD, online webinars and training

Since lockdown began, there has been a significant increase in web usage. That may seem obvious, given that there is only so much you can do from the comfort of your home. It does however mean that people are creating much more content online that you can take advantage of to help both your personal and professional development:

  1. Your University may have online services such as LinkedIn Learning or SkillShare that can help you develop your skills from the comfort of your own home. Check with your University on access after graduation.
  2. There are also training opportunities on Open Learn, offering a collection of free courses by the Open University including subjects on digital skills.
  3. Members of CIM have access to a range of webinars, access to free content hub, Exchange and magazine, Catalyst, as well as online Professional Development resources. Learn more about your membership options here.
  4. Recently, CIM launched the Digital Marketing channels course which offers 25 hours of online study and includes a comprehensive syllabus, including interactive learning, video classes, and a bespoke mix of audio support.

Narrowing down resources can be a chore when there is so much out there. However, this is an opportunity and not a challenge. Identify your weaknesses (be honest with yourself) and find content that can help you start to overcome these weak points.

2) Freelance and gain experience

Although we’re confined to our homes, there may well be opportunities to gain some additional experience. Whether that’s volunteering to help a small business with their social media accounts, or helping them with their branding needs; every little counts. 

It could even be as simple as improving your photography or video editing skills or practising writing and publishing blog content. Be sure to keep a record of everything you’ve been working on to add to your portfolio.  Bear in mind that every effort to help others, free or otherwise, is going to give your professional brand a massive boost in the eyes of businesses. Thinking long term, you may well discover that the SME you helped in their time of need is a future client or prospective employer.

3) Digital networking

Having a presence on LinkedIn is a great way to demonstrate and build on your professional portfolio. Share any updates to skills and development, or articles that interest you. Recruiters love LinkedIn, and right now many will be using the platform to prepare for the potential influx of clients looking for good candidates.

LinkedIn can also be a really helpful place to find specific content related to your interests and needs (remember tip number 1?). You can follow certain #hashtags, topics and company pages that share relevant content to help you stay up-to-date and provide a really interesting read. Why not give it a go?

Here’s a couple of favourites to get you started:


  1. #DigitalMarketing
  2. #Branding
  3. #Leadership


  1. LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
  2. Google Marketing Platform
  3. Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)

4) Keep up-to-date with trends

Organisations and brands are now looking at new and innovative ways of interacting with their customers. The ‘new normal’ digital landscape has forced companies to step out of their comfort zone and deliver events and customer touch points online as the world stays at home.

Having an understanding and awareness of the impact on the marketing sector will be really important.  It’s likely that companies won’t revert back to their old way of life and will keep some of their new online tools going forward. For some, it enables companies to reach wider audiences or better communicate with their customers and will become a more lasting change as we start to gradually ease back into everyday life.

Keep an eye on key digital platforms and changes in consumer behaviour to build on your commercial awareness.

CIM’s new research report, ‘The impact of marketing’ presents the most in-depth study to date of the roles professional marketers are undertaking within business.

In keeping pace with change, the marketing profession has suffered a loss of identity and cohesion with long-established disciplines such as PR, advertising and branding, mixed in with digital optimisation and social media marketing. CIM’s aim is to shape a better definition of what marketing truly means today and establish a stronger link to the commercial and social goals it serves. To access the full report, click here.

5) Find a network of likeminded marketers

It always helps to have a group of enthusiastic like-minded marketers to share ideas with! Building up a network of people can provide so many opportunities, like putting you in touch with those companies hiring, offering insight into areas you haven’t explored before, and providing learning experiences so you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel.

Joining CIM is a great opportunity for any aspiring marketer wanting to learn new skills, build bigger connections and network with others who want to raise the profile of marketing and advance in their careers. Make the most of being a part of CIM and network with other CIM members to share ideas and to help one another.

CIM operates across 11 regions, covering the breadth of the UK and on an international perspective across 32 countries including Sri Lanka, Malawi and Nigeria. We also have 10 sector interest groups, providing a wide range of training, qualifications, webinars, podcasts and content for marketers who work in a range of industries including construction, finance, food, drink and agriculture, charities, social marketing and travel.    

Finally, it’s just worth mentioning that although the world seems strange at the moment, we’re all doing our best.  Don’t feel you have to try your hand at all 5 suggestions, if any, to kick start your career. They’re just some helpful tips from one marketer to another!

It is important to put aside the challenges of the current environment and remember that you’ve been given time. Spend it wisely, both for the benefit of your career and for the benefit of yourself.