jobs guide

How to Get a Marketing Job: Landing a Marketing Job at a Publisher

From Spotify to the NYT, here's how to get it done.
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Francis Scialabba

· 6 min read

Saying the publishing world got hit hard by the pandemic would be an understatement. An estimated 50,000 marketers could lose their jobs by the end of 2021.

But “the show must go on” is one of those clichés that rings eerily true this year. That’s why we created this guide to landing a job in a post-2020 publishing landscape. Inside, you’ll learn how to make it happen from the Chief Strategy Officer at Group Nine Media and marketing career expert Amanda Nachman.

Advice from a hiring manager

Group Nine

Rachel Baumgarten is the Chief Strategy Officer at Group Nine Media.

Generally speaking, how has hiring for marketing roles in the media world changed since March?

As our business continues to respond to and anticipate the rapidly changing needs of the marketplace, there's a sharper focus on hiring marketing roles that will grow our business, not just sustain our current state. No longer can you just focus on hiring for the immediate needs of today, you need to expand your teams with people who can drive business into future growth areas and opportunities.

When you’re evaluating candidates, what qualities in a professional are you looking for now that weren’t AS important to you before the pandemic began?

It's always important to evaluate candidates based on their skill set, accomplishments, and vision for the role, but now it's equally important to prioritize understanding if the candidate's values are aligned with our core corporate values and the inclusive work environment that we're all accountable for creating. Since the pandemic, it's been critical that our teams demonstrate empathy, resilience and adaptability, in addition to delivering on team and company business goals.

How can people trying to find a job in marketing at Group Nine stand out in an application?

Applications stand out when they provide specifics vs. generalities or platitudes. It's critical to demonstrate the experience they'd apply from past jobs to the new one they want. Candidates shouldn't be afraid to let their personalities shine through—we're hiring people, we want a window into their world. Don't be afraid to share something interesting, beyond tactical experience, that shows what makes you unique.

Is there anything you want to see in a LinkedIn profile, cover letter, or resume that instantly puts superstar status on a pandemic-era applicant?

LinkedIn profiles, cover letters and resumes all provide different types and scopes of information, allowing you to communicate different facets about yourself. I'd recommend using each differently based on their specific purposes, and with a laser focus. To deliver superstar status, all of these tools should point the reader to the most important facts they need to know about you—your professional and personal best accomplishments and moments that you believe will demonstrate that you will be a superstar at the company. These are your personal highlight reels; show your winning moments.

How about in interviews?

Interviews have become so much more personal, albeit virtual. We're meeting each other for the first time in our homes, personal spaces, and outside of an office setting, so be personal and tell your story. Marketers are storytellers—this is the time to illustrate, live, and demonstrate your storytelling ability about a subject you know best: you.

What’s one thing you wish every applicant knew about getting hired in marketing for a digital publication right now?

I wish every applicant knew that digital publishers like Group Nine continue to be in building mode—exploring new revenue streams, growing existing ones and creating more efficient internal structures. So, be openminded about the possibility of a position and its growth potential for you and within the organization.

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Has the industry become more competitive for applicants since March?

Yes. While there are more applicants for open positions, those applicants are pursuing multiple opportunities at the same time.

What are your thoughts on cold emailing right now?

Cold emailing has always been a more difficult route to gain an interview and that is still the case today—especially with the number of applications hiring managers and talent teams are receiving.

Say someone in a digital media marketing role got laid off early in the pandemic (as many of those employees did). What should they do in their downtime when they aren’t applying to jobs to boost their resume?

They should continue to stay up-to-date and connected to the changes and trends in the industry by attending virtual industry conference livestreams or by joining industry organizations or cause organizations in a marketing capacity, to further expand their resume and reference points.

Career expert’s opinion

Amanda Nachman

Amanda Nachman is the founder and CEO of College Magazine, author of #QUALIFIED, and a TEDx speaker.

What skills can a marketer bring to the table in an application for a publisher that are more important now than ever?

When it comes to publishing, a marketer can show off her content strategy skills. Share that you’re familiar with how to develop a content plan that considers how consumers search, and that you have experience with SEO. A basic understanding of how to find opportunity keywords and analyze competitors will set you apart from any basic blogger. Drop that knowledge of long tail keywords. If you feel overwhelmed by the word SEO or have never used a tool like SEMRush, start learning content strategy bit by bit. Interview content strategy experts to find out where to start. Take a course on Content Strategy. I teach one on (The Content Strategy Lab). Also, it never hurts to have mastered active voice.

What's a tip about applying to a marketing role at a publication that rings true no matter what the economy is doing?

A lot of graduates who feel excited about the prospect of marketing often lose sight of what exactly they’ll be marketing. Do you want to drive traffic and sales to products you don’t care about or work in marketing at a publication that covers a topic that bores you to death? Of course not. I spent a summer writing about luxury door knobs for a publication, and that’s when I realized I would much rather be writing about college issues (cue CollegeMagazine). Instead of applying to marketing roles at just any publication, first look within. Ask yourself what you care about, what interests you most. Think about causes you care about—education, the environment, equality? Start looking for publications that cover these interests and causes. You’ll be able to better demonstrate your passion for publications that actually align with your interests and values.

Read the previous chapters of "How to Get a Marketing Job":

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