10 Ways to Find a Sales or Marketing Job When You Don’t Have a Job or Experience

As many recent college grads will attest, finding a job when you have a degree but no job or relevant experience requires creativity and persistence. Even experienced workers face job hunting challenges when unemployed, especially as their last paying job recedes in the rear-view mirror. Fortunately, there are several ways to develop relevant experience, income, and get on the path to your dream job.

Smart employers recognize skilled and motivated candidates are in short supply. For many needs, inexperienced workers with raw talent and drive offer a great untapped talent pool. To get a jump on competing employers and separate the winners from the wanna-bes, recruiters often look for people who have demonstrated selected key skills – customer engagement, persistence, creativity or otherwise – in a non-traditional or non-work setting. As in the movie “Moneyball”, these often-overlooked individuals may offer a high-value winning resource for enterprising employers.

Here are 10 ways to develop and showcase in-demand skills and get the attention of great hiring managers.

  1. Build a great LinkedIn profile featuring skills employers are looking for (these can be identified by scanning a range of industry job listings or other resources). It’s a great networking vehicle and can showcase your marketing skills.
  2. Request informational interviews with people doing the job currently, either at the same or higher levels in the organization. Use LinkedIn or similar sources to identify participants and players in the local industry. While this is primarily a path to informational interviews, a LinkedIn profile view alert can sometimes serve as a soft introduction with a contact.
  3. Another good source of contacts, referrals and exposure is to be a guest attendee at local business society meetings. Good forums may include American Marketing Association, sales leadership groups, technology incubators, or other industry-appropriate organizations.
  4. Customers of an industry in your career target can be another way to network to the sales and marketing people that serve them. A long time ago, I asked my local grocery store manager to give me the business cards of the 10 best sales reps that called on him. (It turned out telling a sales rep their customer thinks they are a leader was an easy way to get their attention.) I made good connections in the CPG industry and learned a lot.
  5. Develop relevant work experience through a paid or unpaid internship or an apprenticeship with a qualified industry professional or service provider. Demonstrate zero personal ego and happily and enthusiastically do whatever grunt work they offer. Make the coffee if needed. Gain experience as you possibly earn your way into better projects later.
  6. Develop experience by doing relevant volunteer work for a nonprofit or similar. Build your skill arsenal while you make the world a better place.
  7. Do relevant paid contract work on Upwork, Fiverr, or similar. Use it to build a portfolio, develop skills and connections, and demonstrate initiative.
  8. Start a small business that provides a basic marketing service. Options may include copywriting, web dev/design, graphics, ads, video production, SEO, social media, etc. Even if it isn’t financially successful, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate initiative, grit, employment, and work/portfolio skills.
  9. Create and market a successful blog or comparable social media profile. Track metrics and be ready to discuss your content testing and audience-building strategies. Even if it isn’t financially successful, it’s an opportunity to develop and demonstrate relevant job skills to potential employers.
  10. On slow interview days, do a part-time job or activity that puts you in contact with qualified potential hiring managers or referral contacts. Use these opportunities to develop and demonstrate customer engagement and communication skills. Possible options include restaurant waitstaff with business clientele, Uber/Lyft ride-sharing, or other service-oriented roles. It’s not a long-term career, but provides cash, temporary employment, and skill practice – this is a proven approach for actors and many others.

These approaches can be a great way to set yourself apart from the crowd and create your own narrative. They might be the catalyst to get the perfect job or create a new business of your own. Happy hunting!

One Comment on “10 Ways to Find a Sales or Marketing Job When You Don’t Have a Job or Experience

  1. Very nice and informative article. LOVED the simple yet through writing. I too have just started a blog, and am awaiting nice comments.

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