A more robust, yet still highly competitive, job market is likely to take shape in 2024. Whether you’re entering the workforce, are in between jobs, or are looking for a career change, the right prep and planning can help you stand out from hundreds or thousands of other applicants.
We spoke with Larissa Gerlach, Senior Recruiter with Talentfoot and an organizer and speaker with AMA SF’s Career Accelerator on Feb. 6th, 2024, to learn more about the opportunities and challenges job seekers can expect this year.
The state of hiring for marketing jobs in 2024
Gerlach believes that 2024 will be the start of a “turnaround” that many job seekers in marketing have been waiting for.
“We’re seeing that companies are still cautious about their hiring; they will carefully plan out their hiring needs, but they are hiring,” Gerlach said. “The last year was sort of a status quo, but in marketing, you can’t just sit around and not do anything new. So now, we’re seeing a lot of excitement to work on new campaigns and hiring to support those strategies.”
As with any strategy change, Gerlach said that “headcount shifts” are likely, creating opportunities for applicants in the process. Headcount shifts occur when internal promotions open up entry-level and mid-career positions, or when a marketing agency shifts hiring needs to support other areas of expertise, among other reasons.
“We saw a very active pitch season in 2023, and that means you will see a lot of client movement in 2024, particularly on the agency side,” Gerlach said.
In terms of sectors in high demand, Gerlach said that she has noted an increase in companies hiring for growth marketing and performance marketing specifically.
“It’s funny, because isn’t all marketing about growth?,” Gerlach quipped. “That’s the title a lot of companies are using now, and those companies are looking for organic and paid performance marketing.”
The evolution of applying and interviewing for marketing jobs
The days of applying for a qualified position and waiting for a call or an email are long gone, Gerlach said.
“Most jobs are getting several hundred applicants right now. The people who are succeeding are those who are marketing themselves correctly,” Gerlach said.
To that end, Gerlach recommends candidates take care to showcase themselves accordingly for the position in question. That should involve:
- Tailoring your resume to the job description and position qualifications
- Using keywords in your resume and cover letter that reflect the position description
- Working within your network for a direct connection to the company
Becoming a familiar face to a company can also go a long way as decision-makers sort through piles of resumes. Attending webinars, going to an event hosted by the company, or networking with current employees can all help applicants stand out.
“I want candidates to really learn about what the companies they’re applying to are doing… put yourself out there by showing up,” Gerlach said.
LinkedIn takes center stage in the application process
For candidates and companies, no job search is conducted without LinkedIn’s involvement in some way, shape, or form.
“It’s a lot different than a few years ago — a lot more people are focused on their LinkedIn presence and use it as a content platform, and hiring managers have taken notice,” Gerlach said. “Everyone should assume that they’ll be looked at on LinkedIn.”
That means, in 2024, an incomplete and inactive LinkedIn profile can raise red flags about your application. But it’s more than just filling out your profile correctly and adding your connections. You have to be active to some degree as well. That could include:
- Networking with decision-makers: It’s OK to reach out to the hiring manager on LinkedIn, either by following them, sending a connection request, or composing a message about your interest in the job, Gerlach said.
- Engaging with the employer: While you don’t have to be a thought leader with 100,000 followers, Gerlach said employers want to see profile activity that reflects your career goals. “I want to see that you’ve engaged with the content of the company you applied to, and I want to see that you are engaged in the industry in general,” Gerlach said.
- Showing interest in the industry: Particularly for those transitioning careers, LinkedIn is an effective way to show hiring managers that you care about this sector and you’re ready, willing, and able to jump in. “Showing a genuine interest by posting and replying to other people is a great way to use LinkedIn,” Gerlach said.
3 tips for asking impactful questions at your interview
Tip #1: Be specific
Gerlach recommends asking pointed, detailed questions instead of general, open-response ones. This serves two key purposes. The first is to demonstrate your knowledge and connect it to what you know about the prospective employer. The second is to show that you care about the position.
“When you ask a smart question, you want to rephrase it in a way that pulls in your experience as it relates,” Gerlach said. “So for example, don’t just ask about marketing plans for 2024. Hone in on something specific in the plan, relate it to your accomplishments, and get more details that way.”
Tip #2: Frame questions wisely
The goal of asking questions during an interview is to get honest feedback and insight. The way you frame those questions can change the answer you get, so think carefully about how you ask something.
“For example, when you ask someone what the culture’s like, the immediate answer will be, ‘everyone is nice,’” Gerlach said. “When you frame the question in a way that asks the hiring manager their experience, the answer you get won’t be generic. It gets the hiring manager talking, thinking, and sharing examples.”
Tip #3: Think beyond the role
Relationships with other company departments and buy-in from senior leadership can make or break a marketing plan. Get to know what those relationships are like in the first interview. Not only does that demonstrate you’re thinking about the bigger picture, but it gives you important intel about working at the company.
“In theory, marketing should work closely with sales, operations, and potentially on the finance side of things,” Gerlach said. “Use this opportunity to get a sense of what cross-departmental relationships may look like.”
Get personalized feedback at AMA SF’s career accelerator
Whether you’re looking for your first post-college job or thinking about a career change, we at AMA San Francisco are here as a helpful resource as you navigate this challenging landscape.
Our free (only free to AMA members, not everyone) Career Accelerator on Feb. 6th, 2024, in San Francisco will bring the best of the Bay Area to job-seekers from all backgrounds who are looking for a fulfilling career in marketing. And if you can’t make it to our free, in-person Career Accelerator, check out our AMA SF Career Center for resume writing tips, career coaching, and job listings from around the Bay Area.
- Who: Anyone, from college seniors to advanced professionals, looking to start their marketing career, transition into a marketing career, or excel in their current marketing career
- What: A career accelerator featuring workshops, resume consultations, and professional headshots
- When: Feb. 6th, 2024, 6 p.m.- 9 p.m.
- Where: UC Berkeley Extension, 160 Spear St., San Francisco
- Cost: Free for AMA SF Members