How to Add Skills to Your Resume Without Going Back to School

Zach Brooke
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Key Takeaways
​​What? Marketers who work in traditional spaces can miss out on developing the latest industry skills.

So what? Lacking proficiency in hot new "must-haves" can be severely limiting to marketers in their career.

Now what? Consider your options for developing new skills to find the right route to advance your career. 

Mid-career professional development can give marketers the hot skills that employers want.

Back in January, we looked at what marketers should know about heading into the job market this year. One of the big takeaways is that marketing, as a field, is broader than ever.

“I think [marketing] has fragmented and specialized more in the last decade. There’s always been various niches in marketing but I think that the digital space has grown as so many new startups have formed,” says Tim Boswell , executive vice president and general manager at Mediabistro.

The opinion is shared by Eric Siebert, vice president of global digital marketing at Boston Scientific Corporation and author of the Kindle book Careers in Marketing: The Comprehensive Guide to Traditional and Digital Marketing Careers. Recounting the beginnings of his 30-year career as a marketer, Siebert says, “Technology was the network, TV and radio, and other analog devices that distributed your one-way message to your consumer. And that was it.”

This fragmentation creates problems for marketers looking for new opportunities. Whereas in the past, all marketers spoke the same language, specialization has brought different dialectics to the profession and is showing signs of forming whole new languages that are unrecognizable to people not directly immersed in new categories. 

What happens when marketers want to switch companies or even roles but lack the specialize training sought in certain job postings. Are they eligible? 

“I think that certainly someone who begins in an area that is at the center of the wheel in terms of strategic marketing, they’ve got to have skills that can translate into any of them,” Siebert says. “If someone goes in and specializes in promotion, or specializes in media management, I think it’s tougher for them to make a transition to one of the other paths.”

Learning the hottest new marketing skills is the best way to keep workers in demand, but how can they go about doing that, short of going back to the classroom for grad school?

Participate in Training and Skill Development

Marketers looking for a more traditional route, or crunched for time commitments, can pursue continuing education and professional development courses, like those offered by the AMA in the form of In-Person Training Events, Professional Certificates and Conferences.

In-person training events take place in cities around the country, so the opportunity to enrich your marketer’s tool belt can be found at home or on the road. The AMA’s two-day events feature esteemed instructors who are leaders in their fields, and attendees get the benefit of collaborating with their peers to solve the real-world problems they bring to the workshops. Topics of the training events range from SEO to social media, e-mail marketing to measuring ROI and many more.

Certification is a career-long commitment that demonstrates to current and potential employers that you have mastered core marketing knowledge and principles and that you are interested in staying abreast of next practices. The AMA’s Professional Certified Marketer Program is completely free to apply to. The Those who participate in the preparation for the certificate exam will receive study materials in the form of the PCM Introductory Handbook. The AMA also offers a Digital Marketing Certificate upon the completion of six e-learning modules.

Conferences are a great way to rekindle your excitement for the field of marketing, network and stay current with the trends, technologies and next practices leading the profession. The AMA’s conference schedule runs throughout the year and features industry-agnostic programming, such as the Annual Conference, as well as niche meet-ups, including the Nonprofit Marketing Conference and the Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education.

Partner with a Nonprofit or Small Business

For Siebert, the solution lies in work experience. While teaching a class at Bentley University, Siebert developed his book in response to student interest in the professional marketing world. “What I really encourage jobseekers to do is to go to either a nonprofit, or small local business, or even [use] your own hobby and build a website and understand the principals of how to design a user experience and navigation and content experience on a website,” he says.

“Understand the basics. Try to drive organic search traffic by doing your key word planning and optimizing the content on the website for that. Dabble a little bit in Google Adwords, spend a few dollars and learn how you bid and develop a search ad,” Siebert says.

Besides the expertise that comes from developing a new skill, having a real-world example can give marketers concrete examples to point to in interviews.

“To go in and say, ‘I haven’t done it at IBM or General Electric, but I have written a digital marketing strategy for my local chapter of the Boys and Girls Club. I took their website traffic from 5,000 a month to 10,000 a month and I know the mechanics of this.’ That’s the best way to do it,” Siebert says.

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Boost Your Skills at AMA Face-toFace Training Events Boost Your Skills at AMA Face-toFace Training Events Earn Your Digital Marketing Certificate

Boost Your Skills at AMA Face-toFace Training Events

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Earn Your Digital Marketing Certificate


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Author Bio:

Zach Brooke
Zach Brooke is a staff writer for the American Marketing Association. He can be reached at
Add A Comment :

Displaying 1 Comments
Gregory Stringer
March 26, 2016

Exceptional article. Yet the option of returning to a formal education should not be completely dismissed out of hand. Today, universities offer online classes, and an advanced degree (MBA or MS) in, say, social media marketing can be obtained in as little as 15 months ( The bottom line here, however, is the need to stay abreast of the latest innovations in understanding, as you so ably point out. Doing so by whatever method is best practice. Thanks for sharing this excellent content!

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