Transferable Skills to Marketing


By: Shaan Ali Jessa - Project RED Director

Perhaps you’ve heard of the “I need a job to get experience, and I need experience to get a job” paradox, but this is not necessarily true. Everyone has to start somewhere, and although LinkedIn makes it easy for people to hide or delete past work experience, everyone does indeed start somewhere.

Your first job in university may not be as glamorous as you’d like it to be, but do not undervalue any experience that you already have. Each experience comes with so much learning about different industries, application softwares, products, people insights, soft skills development…you name it.

As you begin to apply to internships and full-time jobs, think about the transferable skills that you’ve gained in each role. Extracurricular and part-time experiences have a huge impact on supplementing your application on top of maintaining a solid GPA.

To get started on how your part-time and extracurricular activities relate to marketing roles, first think of some of the main entry level marketing roles out there such as: Sales, Social Media, Communications, and Brand Ambassador. While these titles may seem like a stretch from “cashier” or “sales associate”, they are more related than you’d think.

Here’s why:

  1. Part-time work and extracurricular experiences give you the opportunity to work in and possibly lead teams. Every company looks for candidates who can work well in teams and possesses leadership potential. Within your clubs and part-time job, you’ll definitely get this opportunity. Use this opportunity to develop that skill set.

  2. Working in a retail or customer service environment allows you to build communication skills. Communication is so important in marketing as you are constantly communicating internally and externally with the world on why your idea, brand, product, or company is awesome. Think about the transferable skills here when you are communicating your ideas to colleagues in a work environment or communicating to customers why they should buy into what you are selling. If you’ve already had experience doing this in a store or restaurant, doing this in an organization becomes that much easier.

  3. Part-time jobs teach you about sales and brand representation. In line with communication, you have to be persuasive and be able to sell on some jobs. Similarly in marketing companies, representing a brand and selling that brand either to other businesses or customers is a core function of marketing roles. Highlight your ability to sell, persuade, and communicate with confidence when doing that. Did you achieve any benchmarks (like high sales or customer satisfaction)? Definitely highlight those as well!

  4. Being involved also helps you develop time management skills. On top of keeping up with school work and maintaining a stellar GPA, you might be doing more than your peers which really showcases your time management skills. All jobs require the ability to juggle multiple priorities, and you are already demonstrating that already!

  5. Your extracurricular experiences help develop analytical skills. Marketing is often described as the mix between creativity and data, using critical thinking skills to analyze trends, make recommendations and produce solutions. This starts with critical thinking. In your extracurricular experiences, you may have solved a problem for your club. At work, you may have used excel to analyze data and make a recommendation. Definitely highlight these problem solving/critical thinking experiences as it shows you can apply the theory you learned in class to the real world!

Remember, there is value in every experience, so don’t sell yourself short! Focus on transferable skills and you’ll definitely land your dream job.

To find out more about how your skills can be applied in a marketing role, make sure to attend our kick-off event: Marketing360!