Media and Marketing careers – why you need digital skills!

Two of the most popular career choices for Manchester students are Marketing and Media. However, as a careers consultant, I see a lot of final year students or graduates who are keen to get into these areas of work, but all too often they just don’t have the relevant skills or experience that will make potential employers sit up and take notice. While you’re still in your first and second year there’s a lot you can be doing to build up your portfolio – read on!

New MediaLast week I went along to a careers fair for the digital industries for students hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University and Manchester Digital and got talking to some local employers who were recruiting at the fair. These companies are involved in some really cutting edge stuff.

The MD for the northern region of a large publishing company told me that they desperately need people with digital skills. They are in the process of taking all of their paper publications online, embedding multimedia and developing exciting Flash-based content, and they need people who are well versed in web media with the vision and skills to make that happen. He said they have a lot of people who can “do paper” but they don’t understand the web medium.

I spoke to 2 representatives from a digital marketing agency who also talked about their need for digital marketing specialists who really understood and were passionate about online marketing and media. One of them told me that there were “huge opportunities” for people who had the necessary passion and set themselves the goal of developing a bit of a portfolio.

Someone from another digital agency told me he gets hundreds of dull indistinguishable CVs, but what really gets him excited is when someone sends him a link to a dynamic, interactive website or a blog or a DVD with some multimedia they have created – something that shows him what they’re capable of.

So the message is really this:

  • The future of marketing and media sectors is digital. Currently, there just aren’t enough people with the necessary skills, so for those who are motivated enough to go out and get them, the world is their oyster. You don’t need to be a techie wizard (although if you are that’s great too!), but you need to understand what kind of things you can don on the web, be passionate about it and be prepared to keep updating your skills!
  • Get focussed now! It’s difficult to build up the skills and experience you need for marketing/media careers overnight so don’t leave it until your final year… If you’re interested in careers in marketing or the media, start researching job opportunities in those sectors now. Browse graduate job ads and make a note of what knowledge, skills or experience they require, and set about building up your toolkit. Step-by-step blog post on how to do this to follow… In the meantime, here are a couple of good websites for jobs in marketing/new media – and

4 Responses to Media and Marketing careers – why you need digital skills!

  1. Pamela says:

    At bigmouthmedia – one of Europe’s largest digital marketing agencies – we’ve recently launched a cross-industry campaign to promote a career in search and digital marketing to university graduates. We recruit graduates every year, but many applicants feel that higher education should do more to connect students to the opportunities available in digital media.

    We’re pleased to say that following meetings with Careers Scotland to discuss the opportunities in this growing industry, they have now updated their records to reflect the industry’s growing significance and we now plan to carry the campaign to the rest of the UK and Europe.

  2. Helen P (Careers Service) says:

    Thanks Pamela, that’s really interesting and very helpful. I totally agree that we need to do more to bring attention to the huge number of opportunities in this fast growing and very exciting area, especially in the current economic climate with companies cutting back on their traditional marketing budgets.

  3. Claire says:

    I am really interested in this field. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to give my focus on that since I’m currently taking up a different course. I wonder if someday I’ll get to be one of those students who get accepted for internship opportunities to big digital companies.

  4. Helen P (Careers Service) says:

    Hi Claire – yes, it’s a really interesting area isn’t it? Even if you are currently on an unrelated course, there’s a lot you can do to develop/keep up your digital skills. Depending on what you want to do in the longer term, writing a blog, developing a website (or contributing to someone else’s) or developing video or audio etc can all be useful things to get on your CV, not to mention using Twitter and LinkedIn for networking with people in this area. In fact networking is a really great tool for creating new opportunities, and the possibilities of online networking make things so much easier! I’ve just joined a ‘Social Media Cafe’ here in Manchester and met a lot of people working in the digital media/marketing sector locally. Good luck with your search for an internship!

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