a pile of resumes

Top Things to Look for in a Marketing Candidate’s Resume


Today’s marketing professional lives in a completely different world from their counterpart of 15 years ago — and predictably, so does their marketing resume. In fact, the marketing landscape has vastly changed since just last year, but the early to mid-2000s was when social media giants Facebook and Twitter first launched and Google Analytics was born, and Google’s first major algorithm update was in 2003, ushering in a new era for SEO (goodbye keyword stuffing and invisible text). Marketing hasn’t been the same since.

Whether someone is an entry level marketer hoping to land their first position or a seasoned marketing executive with years of experience looking for an exciting new opportunity, it is vital that the marketing resume aligns to today’s marketplace. A hiring manager or highly skilled professional marketing recruiter, for their part, should be looking for certain skills and abilities — many of which were barely considered not that many years ago. For those looking for employment and companies who want to be hiring the best employees, being armed with this information greatly speeds up the search and delivers a successful outcome.

What Should Be Included in an Entry Level Marketing Resume?

An entry level marketing resume is unlike any other professional resume, as the entire presentation can be thought of as a sample marketing campaign.

Expert Salesmanship

Both the cover letter and resume should be unique, interesting and informative, as it demonstrates the applicant’s marketing skills and savvy, as well as their enthusiasm for the marketing field. This goes a long way, especially if they have limited experience. It’s an excellent opportunity to showcase their creativity and their ability to convert the reader (the hiring manager) into a “buyer,” which is the ultimate goal of all marketing campaigns.

Marketing Success

The candidate should obviously list their marketing projects and accomplishments, as this demonstrates their track record, even if they haven’t been a marketing specialist for very long. But for the perfect marketing resume in today’s competitive job market, merely listing one’s work experience isn’t enough. If possible, the marketing candidate should discuss at least one successful project on their marketing resume, even if they can’t provide conversion metrics.   

Education, Interest and Experience

An entry level marketing resume should include any related degrees and certificate classes, whether it’s an advertising and marketing communications degree or SEO certification. It should also mention marketing affiliations. Having experience in the marketing field, even it’s an association membership or writing a personal essay about a marketing experience, shows dedication. This is a strong indicator of the person’s commitment to their chosen occupation.    

The Personal Touch

Something else that sets an entry level marketing resume apart from what will likely be many others is a personal touch, based on the company they’re applying to. Ideally, this is something that would be reflected in both the cover letter and the resume. A marketer “newbie” may not have a lot of job experience or many (if any) successful campaigns to proudly trumpet, but they can make up for that by doing a little research and tweaking their cover letter and resume to speak directly to the hiring manager. If they show a special interest in the company and explain how they can benefit the organization, that will give them a distinct advantage with the hiring manager or marketing recruiter.

What Skills Should You Look for in a Marketing Resume?

During your hiring process, the key skills you should be looking for in a marketing resume are communication skills, creativity and imagination, interpersonal skills and analytical skills.

Communication Skills

For a marketing manager, marketing coordinator or any other position, communication skills (both writing and verbal skills) are key. Whether they’ll be writing a proposal to present their marketing strategies with clients or meeting to discuss the company’s latest marketing campaigns with co-workers, both their written and verbal communication must be impeccable. Writing in the world of marketing may take many forms, from an internal email to a long article or proposal. Other types of writing in marketing professions include blog posts, press releases, video scripts, case studies, white papers, social media posts, product descriptions and landing pages. Their marketing resume (and portfolio) should indicate that they have experience with at least a few of these.  

Creativity and Imagination

All the industry experience and technical know-how in the world can’t make someone creative and imaginative, yet these are important qualities of a true marketer, and these qualities should be apparent in their marketing resume. It may be the unique way they present themselves in their cover letter or how they describe their work experience, but there should be something special about this candidate that sets them apart from the rest.

Interpersonal Skills

The ability to engage others and to be a “people person” is an important life skill in general, but it’s critical for those in marketing. It’s known as one of the soft skills that aren’t always apparent. In a marketing resume, this may take the form of a group project successfully completed, complimentary references from previous employers or the candidate’s involvement in a marketing blog and their online interactions.

Analytics Skills

In today’s world where most marketing occurs online, being able to track traffic results and conversion rates is a valuable skill that has become a basic requirement for a marketer, and this skill should be evident in their marketing resume, in the form of actual job experience. At the very least, they should have received some formal training in that area.

What Other Skills Should a Marketer Have?

Beyond the ability to effectively communicate, creativity and imagination, strong interpersonal skills and analytics skills, there are many other skills that a marketer should have. One of these skills is business savvy, which means that they understand the rules of commerce as well as the client’s business goals, so that they can base their marketing program around the client’s vision.

But there are many more important marketing skills. In fact, SEO marketing professional Sujan Patel lists 50 of them. While it’s unlikely that every marketing manager or sales professional will be able to check off each one of these skills, they can be thought of as something to aspire to. This dizzying list is proof of how complex and challenging the marketing profession has become, with new technology, methods and lingo arriving daily. In fact, one of the skills a marketing professional should have is the ability to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment. In terms of analytics alone, just keeping up with Google’s search engine algorithms requires an agile mind!

Here is a sampling of marketing skills that are useful to have. Some of them, like creating a customer experience, storytelling, social media, influencers and metrics have become bonafide buzzwords that may turn up on a marketing resume, so be on the lookout for them.

  • Customer Obsession – Great marketing professionals are completely focused on what their target customer needs and wants, in addition to their dreams and challenges. It has become very important to create an engaging, satisfying experience for them, which includes a strong presence on social media platforms. In fact, the experience has become even more vital than the actual product and the price.
  • The Storyteller – Everyone loves a good story and an important marketing trend is to identify and communicate a strong narrative which includes conflict and resolution.
  • Keeping Up – It helps marketers to be an avid reader, so that they can stay at the top of their game in the rapidly evolving environment. On the marketing resume, look for memberships in organizations, involvement in online marketing communities and interest in new technologies and trends.
  • Sharing the Knowledge – Especially in the case of a marketing manager, a clear sign of dedication to the field is the desire to teach others what they know. A marketing resume for a marketing manager hopeful might include regular blogging that examines marketing-related topics, podcasts, workshops, mentorships or teaching in a classroom or office.
  • Tech Savvy Social Media Maven – Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube or whatever the next trendy social media platform happens to be, marketing professionals should be familiar with all of them. They should also know how to choose the right social media channels for their clients and understand the importance of influencers and authority sites. As for technical skills, a partial list is SEO, metrics, memes, mobile-friendly, HTML, podcasts, CRM, CMS, scheduling and messaging, email marketing, analytic software and marketing automation.   

The World of Marketing and What Lies Ahead

Forbes gazed into their crystal ball to foresee important trends that will likely shape marketing in years to come. This includes a greater role for artificial intelligence (AI), smart speaker advertising, brand ambassadors, thought leadership and expanded content marketing to influencers and micro-influencers. It can be overwhelming, but with superstar employees carefully vetted by a skilled and knowledgeable recruiter, your organization can ride the crazy wave and thrive.   

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Written by

Ty Culver is the Client Development Director of CulverCareers focusing on talent acquisition and workforce solutions with a wide variety of local, national and global clients.

Ty has been working in various aspects of the industry for over 10 years and developed deep expertise in Executive Search, Executive Benefit and Talent Acquisition Programs along the way. He has a range of experience from SMB to Enterprise clients and hyper specific executive searches to high volume recruiting with companies in a dynamic state of flux.

Today, Ty leads a talented team of Talent Acquisition Specialists, Executive Recruiters and Client Success Managers at one of the most respected Recruiting Firms in the Nation, CulverCareers. While leadership is a key aspect of his role, Ty still enjoys working with clients on recruiting strategies, executive benefit solutions and workforce solutions to help clients build a holistic approach to talent acquisition and talent retention.

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