Advertising, marketing and public relations


Marketing involves the process of measuring and increasing customers’ awareness of a product or service. This includes activities to identify the target market, conducting market research to gather data on customers, and developing, launching and promoting products. The promotion element of marketing can involve working in advertising or PR. Working in the marketing sector requires constantly adapting to consumer habits. Although offline methods are still used to conduct marketing, use of digital technology including social media and mobile devices is becoming more prevalent. Many marketing activities exist ‘in-house’ within businesses’ own marketing departments, or are contracted out to marketing agencies.

Types of graduate roles

Market Researcher
Uses different methods (quantitative and qualitative) to gather information about customers and potential customers and gain insight into their reactions to products and services. Responsible for collecting and analysing data to help marketers make decisions about product development and communication with customers.

Brand Manager
Responsible for creating messages associated with selling a product or service and ensuring that a brand remains recognisable and relevant to customers. This is done by overseeing different elements of a product such as visual merchandising, packaging, distribution outlets and price. May work in-house or for an agency and work on a number of different brands at the same time.

Product Manager
Works with different teams who create and develop products to ensure that the product is meeting everyone’s needs. This can include product marketing which focuses on the end users, and product development which looks at the creation of the product itself. Responsible for listening to and analysing feedback from users and using the data to make decisions about the future of the product.

Sales Executive
Aims to sell a company’s products and services to individuals (business to customer) and businesses (business to business). Responsible for approaching potential customers as well as providing ongoing sales support to build lasting relationships. Often works in a liaison role with large client companies, particularly with the client’s buyers.

Digital Marketer
Responsible for developing an organisation’s multi-channel communication strategies. This might include email marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), pay per click (PPC), online advertising, text messaging and blogging. Uses the internet to monitor reactions from the target audience.

Entry points

Graduate schemes - A number of global marketing firms advertise graduate training schemes with a variety of different ‘functions’ e.g. sales and marketing, commercial marketing, brand management etc. For employers who offer graduate schemes see careers websites such as (see ‘Useful websites’ later in this article)

Marketing Assistant roles – smaller organisations recruit to assistant positions which is an alternative entry route, offering experience and relevant skills as a foundation for higher level roles.

Postgraduate qualifications – while a further study is not a requirement for many marketing roles, there are a range of practical and accredited courses that can provide relevant skills and may be advantageous if you have not studied marketing.

Skills and experience required

  • Good organisational skills
  • Strong analytical and numerical skills
  • Good digital skills and an understanding of using different platforms
  • Good interpersonal and presentation skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Strong commercial awareness
  • The ability to work under pressure
  • Creativity with the willingness to innovate
  • Teamworking skills

Securing work experience in the form of a summer internship for example, may put you at an advantage when applying for graduate roles. This can prove to be an invaluable experience for gaining an insight into the world of marketing as well as broadening your experience and network of contacts.

It is usually possible to get involved in different marketing activities while at university e.g. promotions roles in student societies or as a ‘campus brand manager’. A number of organisations employ students as brand managers to promote their business on campus and their products or services.

Job search strategies

Building up a network of contacts who work in marketing is a useful way of keeping up to date with developments in the sector and to hear about possible opportunities for jobs and work experience, particularly in smaller firms. Attending relevant events and careers fairs is one way of meeting people who can advise you on routes into the profession.

Social Media
Creating and maintaining a profile on social media sites such as LinkedIn is a useful way of building networks and looking for job opportunities. Make sure that your profile clearly reflects your interest in working in marketing and includes the skills that potential employers are looking for.

Our resources
Useful websites for further information
Articles with global developments in the advertising and marketing industry.
Advertising, marketing and PR jobs (Guardian)
Range of advertising, marketing and PR related vacancies.
Brand Republic
Career profiles, potential employers in the communication sector, and developments in media activity.
Bubble Jobs
An online jobs board dedicated to digital, design and tech jobs across the UK and Europe.
Campaign jobs
Over 1,000 jobs in marketing, advertising, creative and media.
Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)
World’s largest organisation for professional marketers playing a key role in training, developing and representing the profession.
Get into marketing
Advice for breaking into this field, including a database of marketing placements and graduate schemes available to registered users (registration is free).
Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing
Information for graduates seeking their first marketing position plus study aid and careers advice.
Job roles in the creative sector
Explore the range of different jobs within advertising, and find out what these roles entail, what the job will expect from you, and the best route into these roles.
Major Players jobs
Jobs in the advertising, design, digital, PR and marketing industries.
Marketing and Media (Targetjobs)
Advice on graduate careers in marketing and media, including specific application and interview tips, training and development information, and personal insights from graduate recruits, plus jobs.
Marketing Week
Journal for marketing with up-to-date sector news.
Marketing, advertising and PR (Prospects)
This sector page on the Prospects website contains information on employers, job vacancies, types of jobs, options with your subject, industry insights, feature articles and relevant courses.
Simply Marketing jobs
The latest marketing jobs including marketing assistants, advertising, market research and PR.
The Drum
Jobs in design, advertising, marketing, digital, social media and PR.
See also

Related information in the Design, media and publishing sector.

Last updated: 25 Sep 2018