The 6 Career Factors That Will Revolutionize Your Marketing Job Search

Let’s be honest. Finding your ideal role in marketing isn’t as simple as posting your resume to LinkedIn or CareerBuilder.

If it were that easy, we would all be gainfully employed in our dream jobs already, Erik & I wouldn’t be flooded each week with emails and LinkedIn messages asking for advice, and The Marketing Help wouldn’t exist...

Believe it or not, finding your dream job actually has less to do with what, where, or even how, than it does with who. And by ‘who,’ we of course mean you.

Once you figure out what’s most important to you, then you can use that knowledge to narrow your search and land a fulfilling job and career in marketing.

First things first - let’s define some of the most common and important roles in modern marketing today.

When we talk to students, seniors in high school all the way to seniors in college, the roles they’re looking for are titles like Associate, Specialist, Coordinator, or even Manager.

They also fall into practice areas like Digital PR, Corporate Communications, Content Marketing, Search Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Community Management, Marketing Automation or Email Marketing, Inside Sales and Business Development, and even Data Analysis or Data Science.

But remember, the beginning of your search has less to do with a specific job title, and more to do with the career factors that are most important to you.

Before you start firing out your resume and working your network, we encourage all students and young professionals to do The 6 Career Factors exercise. This is a fast, clear way to take inventory of what’s important to you, and it shapes the context for your entire career search.

The 6 Career Factors is an exercise that we’ve developed through our nearly 5 decades of experience and hundreds of one-on-one conversations with Marketing hiring managers.

The exercise is simple - stack rank the following factors based on their importance to you, from 1 - 6, with 1 being the most important factor and 6 being the least.

With all six ranked on the page in front of you, you’ll see that those at the top of your list are the factors that will drive the context for your job search and for finding your ideal match.

The 6 Career Factors:


That is, work/life balance. Are you ready to invest yourself, 50-60 hours per week minimum, give it all to the company, learn as much as you can...or is your balance on the other side, do you need something a little less intense in terms of hours, you have other commitments at home, like young children.


Meaning, are you ready to be uncomfortable, ready to be pushed by your coworkers, your manager, your peers? Those who score the Challenge factor highly, they’re ready to be pushed, learn a ton, operate outside their comfort zone a lot. Or, are you someone who wants to coast, are you at a point where you want to sit back and get your work done?


Yes, some people are dying to work for Google or Netflix, and they’d be happy sweeping the floors until a job opens up. Think about it, if this is your top priority, that would certainly shape who you start reaching out to...chances are, everyone is six degrees away from someone who works at one of these companies. Or, is it that you want to work for a company with a strong mission and purpose, and you want to get behind the vision of the company. This is also important to many new job seekers.


Does your location matter? Are you someone who is okay relocating, or would you rather stay put. Do you have commitments at home that require you to be near family, are you looking to move somewhere specific, or are you looking for any change of scenery that comes your way?


Some people care about a bigger title right out of school, other people feel that they’ve been in a role for a certain number of years and they deserve a bump up. Those who rank this in the top 3 generally are folks who want to run their own company at some point. That’s completely fine, and it gives you more context for your search.


Yes, everyone wants to make more money, and few think they’re making what they’re worth. But ask yourself realistically, am I okay making just enough to get by for now while I learn the ropes? Is this my first role out of college, am I okay on $35, $45, or $50,000 per year for 12-24 months? In most metro areas, you can make that work. Or are you someone who needs a higher paycheck because you’ve got other commitments that require you to make more right now? Salary is a factor that, for many, with be either close to the top of the list, or toward the bottom, but rarely in the middle.

There you have it - The 6 Career Factors explained. Ranking these is your first necessary step before moving forward on the search for your modern marketing role.

Now, once you have your ranking, we recommend you do two things...

First, look at your Top 3. Are these truly the most important of the six? Even if you’re confident they are, reflect on your list the next day and see if your perspective changes.

Second, ask someone who you really know and trust, and ask them to rank those six factors on your behalf.

This could be a parent, a coworker, or friend. Ask them what they think. If their rankings match yours, then you’re in a great spot.

If their rankings are wildly different than yours, then that opens the door to a conversation...

They may have an insightful perspective on why they think one factor or another is important to you, which may have been a momentary blindspot while you were self-rankings.

With The 6 Career Factors ranked, and possibly one or two interesting conversations had with parents, friends, or coworkers, you’re ready to move to the next step of your career journey…The Job Search.