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Where to start  

Marketing Communications is the term that covers Advertising, Public Relations, Brand Consultancy, Market Research, Digital Communications and more.  

All organisations need to communicate about the product or service they have to offer to the audience they want to reach.   Some use communications to influence others to change behaviour or raise funds through campaigning.   This is done through market research to identify the needs of customers or clients, devising a strategy to communicate using social media marketing, direct mail, advertising, events etc. and then creatives to produce the content of marketing campaign (images, video content, copy).

How to know if you’re suited to this sector

An ability to write well, think creatively within a brief, and outstanding time management skills are required for these careers. You will also need an eye for good visual content, be comfortable handling basic data, and thrive on working in a team. If this sounds like you and you enjoy seeing the results of your work, then Marketing or Communications could be a good fit.

How to get the experience to be credible

Apply to be the Publicity Officer for a student society or a May Ball. Write for one of the student newspapers (Varsity, The Cambridge Student). Any internship that relates to marketing or communications will be useful.

Social media marketing experience is highly sought after.

Further study or certification required

These sectors usually prefer experience to qualifications. However, once in post, many people will work towards a Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification.

Work on your IT skills - Excel, Indesign and Photoshop will all be useful.

How to find employers or training courses

There are some specific graduate schemes in the communications industry though not all post on Handshake.  

Many of the graduate schemes in fast-moving consumer goods, industry, and in the public and charity sectors include marketing and communications.  Indicate your career industry interests on Handshake so that you are alerted to opportunities as they arise. Not all of these are advertised during Michaelmas Term. Deadlines for graduate schemes in Marketing communications extend as far as Spring.  

However, most people don’t enter the communications industry via a graduate scheme.  Work experience, internships and an entry level role are far more common.  Use the IPS Member Directory and Creative Brief (directory of agencies with case studies) to find organisations to apply to speculatively.

Tips for succeeding in the application or selection process

Remember that marketing is about identifying the customer’s needs and showing how your product can meet those needs. Take this same approach with your applications. What does the company need (you’ll find this in the person specification)? Use your application documents to demonstrate that you have the skills they are looking for. Marketing is about making money. Communication roles require you to show results. So, demonstrate your skills with hard facts - numbers, amounts of money and percentage increases.

Also note that people who work in Marketing and Communications are very attuned to what content looks like. So, make sure that your CV looks attractive and clear! 

What Cambridge offers to help with this career

Cambridge University IT training courses

A plethora of student societies requiring Publicity Officers.

Current vacancies and potential employers can be found via Handshake

Relevant Careers Service events can also be found via the ‘events’ page on Handshake

Other things you should know

Social media marketing is a huge growth area across the commercial, public and charity sectors. Millennials for whom social media is a first language are highly sought after.