We hear time and again that marketing recruiters are looking for the right skills, experience and aptitude when hiring for marketing assistant, brand manager and digital marketing roles. Many HR departments want to see a solid marketing qualification too.
Are some marketing qualifications more prestigious than others? And if so, which are the best to have on your CV?
Judging by some lengthy online discussions on the subject, and according to marketing career experts, the Chartered Institute of Marketing qualifications are what most HR departments and seasoned Marketing Directors are looking for. Job candidates with CIM qualifications – most likely the Professional Certificate in Marketing, the Professional Diploma in Marketing, or the Chartered Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing will look appealing, showing that person has committed to learning how to devise and execute tactical marketing activities, manage communications, and understand specialist areas of marketing.
The Chartered status shows a prestigious, committed candidate with real industry knowledge. Experienced marketers with Chartered Marketer status certainly seem proud of the fact, and value it greatly as a career driver.
The CIM now offers specialist marketing diplomas such as the Diploma in Managing Digital Media, the Diploma in Digital Metrics and Analytics, and the Diploma in Mobile Marketing.
It’s debatable, but the general consensus is that these qualifications best suit marketers who want to work on the client side, rather than the agency side.
For those aiming to progress their marketing career on the agency side, or go in a particular direction, some people believe that a Communication, Advertising and Marketing Foundation (CAM) qualification could be the recommended route. All of the CAM diplomas are awarded by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, so do hold a lot of weight in the eyes or employers.
Certainly these diplomas can help people starting out in their marketing career to get some specialist knowledge. For example, with a CAM Diploma in Digital Media and Branding, or a Diploma in Mobile Marketing. Often experienced marketers who want to move with the times, and add fresh skills to their CV will embark on these qualifications, which cover the new digital and mobile elements of marketing.
Some marketing employers recognise that looking for CIM and CAM qualifications may be little more than a ‘tick in the box’ exercise. According to one marketing agency director: “Although more and more recruiters specify a professional marketing qualification, in my experience it by no means guarantees the quality of the candidate.” She adds: “In my opinion actual marketing experience is what matters.”
Do degrees matter?
Of course university degrees in marketing will hold weight, and many aspiring marketers appreciate more in-depth study and the chance to critique marketing principles rather than just learn what they are. Universities also have lots of resources and provide ample opportunities to network.
Meanwhile other organisations offer excellent training courses to help marketers develop the right skills for the profession. For instance, the IDM (Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing) offers courses in both B2C and also B2B. These are popular with employers who are keen to ensure their staff have focused and best practice B2B skills rather than generic marketing know-how.
Combining a relevant degree with the CIM, or a CAM or IDM diploma can be highly effective in the eyes of an employer. For instance, a Management Degree, specialising in Marketing, followed by the CIM qualification. One successful marketer says: “Having both means your CV is considered by blue chip employers as a new graduate. In particular, I found having both enabled me to break into a first job in an international marketing team. Both teach you the theoretical backdrop, but ultimately it’s a person’s own capability to apply that in the workplace.”
So employers do pay a lot of attention to these qualifications. But what they really do want to see is aptitude and solid experience too.
One marketing recruitment expert says he’s seen arguments made by recruiters for trying to reject good candidates because they either didn’t have the ‘right’ qualifications or they had the ‘wrong’ ones, or ‘too many’.
The reality is that in this sector there are many marketing disciplines where the qualifications never existed or are never going to keep pace with change. What’s the ‘qualification’ for web management, SEO or social media, for instance? Event management qualifications are hard to come by too. Copywriters, editors and proofreaders are unlikely to have done degrees in those specific subjects. In all these cases, enthusiasm for the subject, past experience and a genuine aptitude will be vital to take on a job. Qualifications are good, but they should only be a part of the selection process for marketing vacancies.
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