The only way is up!

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The benefits of staying in touch with our students mean that we see their immediate success when they secure their professional qualifications and the long-term success when they start to land those ‘top jobs’.

Veronica Swindale, MD of nesma, recently caught up with a few of them for Northern Insight Magazine. “I’d noticed that many of my alumni were recently moving into some good top-level posts and thought I’d get in touch to see what we can learn from them.”

We asked them what advice they would give to three different sets of stakeholders:

1. People starting out in their marketing careers.

Explore the different routes out there to build the career you want. There are so many ways to specialise, explore and understand the bits that get you excited, the bits you enjoy the most and go from there – you have to love it. Speak to people in the industry to understand more about their career journey, how they got to where they are and the skills they needed.

Stay well networked, marketing is one of the friendliest and most supportive sectors to be part of. You’ll make some lifelong friends, pick up ideas and solutions and of course some introductions to your first role (hopefully).

Listen. Listen a bit more. Then listen again. With time (and age!) you realise how much it is possible to learn with active listening. That means making notes and asking lots of questions. You can always refer to online resources and books but listening and asking questions are the most valuable tools for development.

You must let your work do the talking and always stay connected to your profession by rolling your sleeves up and getting involved regardless of how senior you are. Always invest in your leadership capacity and capability throughout your career – you could be the best practitioner in the world but if you do not have the leadership skills and experience required to lead a team, you will fall short in what you set out to achieve. Whatever you do, do not lose who you are and your personality – your level of seniority doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!

2. Companies aiming to secure top marketing talent

Get your employer branding right. No one looks at an employer brand when considering their next move as much as a marketer. Professional development is vital and often your commitment to this is a key pull for top talent. Alongside a clear development path, often the marketing career path doesn’t fit with other internal development paths so is often overlooked. 

Marketers are by their nature creative, set them free to create great content and campaigns. Always show a route to develop both in knowledge and in careers, marketers love to aspire to the next thing.

If you are constantly recruiting people like you (skills mix, background, pedigree, sex, ethnicity, education etc.,) I will guarantee you are missing out on a world of talent, alternative ideas, insight, and innovation that could massively enrich your team’s outcomes. Throw the net wider and support them on their leadership journey.

Use regional and national marketing networks/academies (such as nesma) and approved providers of the CIM qualifications. And always hire on attitude as well as skillset.

3. Your younger self

Point 1 again. I probably should have listened more. But you are never too young/old to learn!

Never stop learning. The world of marketing changes every single day. To stop learning, reading, listening, and asking questions for even a week means you’re already behind! Be brave always. Have big ideas and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, the best marketing campaigns and big results come from those people who take a chance, try something new and go first.

I would tell myself to go for the opportunities I hesitated on and missed out on. To push me very slightly beyond my capabilities to take career chances that don’t come your way twice.

It’s ok – you will be fine, meanwhile, plough on and have fun.

Valuable insights from everyone and, as these are now today’s employers, the advice we should definitely take note of as we move along our career journeys. 

If you are looking to enhance your current skill set or want to explore a new area of expertise why not look at nesma’s qualifications and know-how and do workshops.