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Expert commentator | Smart Insights | Tue, 18 Oct 2016 08:00:00 +0000

A guide to the marketing job market for those looking to enter it

In a few months a new wave of fresh-faced college grads will start applying for their first real job. Some may have had internships or summer jobs in the past but this is a whole different thing. This is where your real career starts and it is something to be extremely excited about. I mean you have technically worked your entire life to get to this point.

What is not so exciting is that millennials like those college grads are having a tough time in the job market. Unemployment is at a steady 5% for the recent past. Wages are down 14% in a short ten-year time span and income inequality is rising. And do not even get me started on the explosion of college debt.

Plus the older generation think that we are literally the worst and should have gotten a “real degreeâ€. Which they usually define as a STEM or Business degree instead of a creative degree like in Art. But the numbers do not lie, and we actually receive more STEM degrees than all previous generations.

All of those factors has caused a significant imbalance in what their first job will look like. Usually entry level jobs are for people with no prior experience in the field. Or someone wanting to enter the company and work their way up. That is no longer the case for a lot of industries, especially in business and marketing.

But how much has an entry level position actually changed? Seeing that I am a marketer, I decided to take a look at what exactly a typical entry level marketing job post entails. This was achieved with data collected from about 150 jobs at the entry, mid and high levels on the job board TheMuse. To see the full analysis be sure to check out the article and infographic!

I selected TheMuse because they only allow the best and brightest companies to post on their platform. If I was going to find what a great entry level position looked like it was the perfect place to start. Here is the breakdown of the type of companies we studied if you are curious

Types of companies studied


Since the most common gripe that I have seen is based on experience needed, we will start there. Out of all the entry level jobs that we studied only about 24% of them required no prior experience. Which seems extremely low for an entry level job! Unless they changed what an entry level job was when I was not looking.

When we took a dive into the other 76% of the jobs that required experience, it was troubling. On average the minimum past experience in a marketing position that was required was 1.45 years! And the maximum was almost exactly double that at 2.89 years.

Average entry level job experiance

The troubling thing is this was years of professional job experience, not internships or college jobs. So many college grads are going to quickly realize that their degree is not as powerful as it once was. And many are going to cut their teeth at other positions before they can apply for a real entry level job in marketing.


Now that we got the most talked about change in entry level positions, let’s take a look at something passing under the radar of many. Like the change in the type of degrees that marketing directors and hiring managers are looking for. They are wanting more technical brains over the creative ones for marketing positions. And honestly that is one of the biggest trend that people should be talking about.

As you would guess, traditionally most entry level marketing positions would want a standard marketing degree. And you would be right in about 32% of the jobs in the sample but that still is lower than many would have thought.

Many would also think that a communications or other creatively focused major would be the second most popular. In this case they would be wrong, with math degrees taking the second most popular spot. They were recommended in 18% of all the job posts we looked at. Take a look at the full breakdown below:


Additionally another popular degree was none other than computer science. Further driving home the point that marketing directors want more technically focused people in their departments. We will see even more of this shift in the next section.


Now that we have seen what degrees and experience are required it is time to take a look at the top skills. Like we saw in the previous section there has been a major shift to a more technical marketer. This is quickly supported when we take a look at the most requested skills by marketing directors.

In fact, the most popular skill for entry level marketers to have is actually data analysis. It was requested in almost half of all entry level positions. Which is not surprising if you work in the industry and deal with data on a daily basis. Although it may be surprising to the new grads applying for their first job.

But fear not there is still time before May to brush up on your data crunching skills. Plus only about 3% of marketers are competent in data analysis across job levels. Leaving a huge opportunity for you to get ahead before you start.

Another top skill that goes hand in hand with the previous one is familiarity with Excel. It was mentioned in about 40% of all job posts. Which many marketers should already have at least a slight idea how to use.

Although the skill we think most future or current marketers should focus on learning this year is basic HTML. It was demanded in about 25% of all posts and will be a great skill to help your resume stand out. And do not fear, this does not mean you need to become a pro developer in a few months. It is more being comfortable enough with it to use it in certain situations without disrupting your workflow.

The other top requested skills are those that every marketer should be familiar with solely from their studies. Or from simply being a human with a computer like writing, teamwork and Microsoft Office. Other marketing baseline skills that were requested included email marketing, content marketing and SEO. With each hovering around 20-25% of the jobs posts.

Hopefully everyone enjoyed this breakdown of a typical entry level job posts. But more importantly it gave all those future grads a guide to help them find their next job. Because the times are changing and you do not want to be out of a job by not changing with them. Remember to be proactive instead of reactive, especially in this case.