Transitioning your marketing career from a non-creative to a creative job

Posted by Kara Bosworth on March 21, 2018

There’s no question that a career in marketing requires some creativity. Building brands and influencing buying decisions takes innovation, imagination and originality. But some marketing roles are more creative than others. There may come a moment when your gut tells you it’s time to make a change into a creative job.

With dozens of exciting creative jobs to choose from in fields like advertising, communications, and digital media, transitioning into a creative role isn’t as hard as you may think (just ask David Carson and Brandon Stanton). Here are some strategies to get you started.

Evaluate Your Interests and Creative Strengths

If you’re already working in marketing, odds are good you’ve been exposed to creatives within your agency or corporate office. Observe them in their day to day routines and ask questions about what they do. This can help you figure out what kind of creative work you’re interested in — as well as best suited for. Graphic Designers, User Experience Designers, and Web Producers are among the most in-demand creative jobs for 2018. With CMOs in the US expected to spend close to $119 billion on digital marketing by 2021, these skills will continue to be vital for years to come.

As you think about which role might be right for you, assess your skill set. Which of your current skills are transferrable to creative jobs? What kind of business knowledge you can offer there? For example, consider agency account executives who serve as liaisons between clients and creatives. They tend to be good communicators with a deep understanding of a brand’s marketing needs. That makes them good candidates for a content marketing role developing branded content.

Hone Your Storytelling Skills

Jim Farley, Ford Motor Company’s GVP of Marketing and Sales, once said, “Storytelling is your most important skill as a marketing leader,” and this statement remains true today. Whether you pursue work as a copywriter or content developer, or endeavor to become an illustrator or video producer, you’ll need to be able to tell a good story.

You don’t have to be a natural-born storyteller to harness this invaluable skill, though. By scrutinizing books and films for key storytelling characteristics — from creating relatable characters to presenting them with a meaningful challenge and doing it all while tapping into your audience’s emotions — you can craft an equally compelling narrative around a brand.

An added benefit of improving your storytelling prowess is you can also apply this skill to your resume and job interviews as you search for your new creative role. To keep a hiring manager engaged, Adobe recommends employing author and actor David Crabb’s Five Beats of Storytelling: Introduction, Inciting Incident, Raising the Stakes, Main Event, and Resolution.

Rack Up Some Experience

Even taking into account your newfound storytelling expertise, hiring managers will want to see some creative experience. Fortunately, this is a field where anyone and everyone publishes content online that’s easy to share with a potential employer.

Dreaming of becoming a story board artist? Use an online storyboarding tool to show the world what you can do. Is your goal to become a writer who produces content for brands? Start a blog or use a publishing platform like Medium to build a collection of sample stories that showcase your unique writing style. While networking, refer promising contacts to this work, and use self-promotion to shape your evolving personal brand. Some people have even landed their dream job by being clever and creative on Twitter. You never know who might recognize the talent in your tweets.

Transitioning into a new role can be stressful, especially when it means leaving your comfort zone. But if you feel a strong draw to creative work, don’t be afraid to explore this new marketing realm and see what it has to offer you.

Check out our career advice videos for more guidance.

Posted in: Communications, Creative, General, Job Search, Job Seekers

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