As a recent addition to the Impression team, and as someone who has worked in the digital marketing industry (in one form or another) for a few years now, I felt qualified enough to throw my thoughts on what it takes to get a job in digital marketing in 2018. If you’re thinking of embarking on a career in digital marketing, or are even looking to move into a more senior role, here’s my advice on how to make your mark.
Don’t rush: the job title is a lie
First things first, digital marketing is really a catch-all term for a number of rapidly growing niches. Within the umbrella of digital marketing itself, there are a number of disciplines that, while they’re beginning to continually intersect as search engines develop, are surprisingly disparate from each other; the skills required to be an SEO Executive can stray pretty far from that of a PPC Analyst, for example.
Everything from email marketing and social media management to content marketing and paid advertising management come under the digital banner, and the playing field is wide enough that you can pick one area to play in. You’ll find so many roles being advertised as a digital marketer, but might ask that you ‘do the SEO’, all while developing websites, being a photoshop wizard and still find the time to make cups of tea for the office. These are not genuine, informed job postings and I would steer clear from them.
With that said, there certainly are general-purpose digital marketing roles that can serve as a valuable step into the industry as a whole, so take the time to read the job description and enquire about their digital team to be sure you’re headed in the right direction. You can also look at marketing internships as a great way to get your foot in the door, though I would recommend looking for an internship at an established agency, as you’ll (generally) be exposed to more of digital life in the process than an in-house position.
Learn and try on your own time
There’s a lot to get to grips with when you first research the topic, and even a veteran SEO will find new challenges on a daily basis – it’s a continually evolving discipline and there’s always a way to get an edge. You have to be prepared to put in the time to learn techniques and try them out in real scenarios.
If you want to get started, create a WordPress blog, pick an area you are interested in and have some level of expertise with and start writing. WordPress is a hugely popular content management system, so it pays to be proficient with it, and content writing is a pretty key skill to have, regardless of your chosen niche. It’s pretty painless to get Analytics set up through one of the many plug-ins available, which will allow you to engage with the software and get used to working with it.
There’s also opportunity to get to grips with any content-related strategies you read. Don’t be afraid to try something you read on resources such as the Moz Blog or Search Engine Journal, and don’t be upset if it doesn’t quite go to plan. Successful digital marketing campaigns are built on analysing performance and improving from there – learn why it didn’t quite work, learn from it and either find a solution or improve on the next attempt. Simply showing that you’re actively making the effort to learn about the industry is a huge positive for potential employers.
Leverage your qualifications, find opportunities and build your brand
When I say qualifications, I mean the aspects of you that others might demand. What qualifies you to be given a shot? This could be an academic background you have – I’ll often see colleagues who have journalism, english, business management or IT degrees, for example – or it could be something a little more mercurial. If you’ve built up your blog to a healthy number of visitors each month, have adequately amplified that through social channels and generated some quality links through an outreach strategy, that’s a qualification you can leverage.
Experience in the workplace is valuable
If there are any opportunities in your current role, don’t be afraid to go beyond expectation and get involved. Whether it’s helping to manage their social brand, creating content for their site or blog, or finding and resolving technical issues with their website, there are tons of ways you can get valuable hands-on experience in the workplace, all while benefiting your current employer too! It’s a win-win.
Be a social butterfly
Take the time to engage with the industry, specifically on social media. Create yourself a Feedly account and build a list of blogs from around the industry. We’re an oddly collaborative community, so getting yourself involved in the conversation will not only help you learn new techniques quicker, but you’ll also get yourself established and show you’re genuinely interested – passion for digital is a big positive. If you’re looking to get more formal qualifications, Google offer certifications on Adwords and Analytics that will look great on your CV and show you have a solid understanding of core areas within digital marketing.
Be on the lookout for your new role
It’s a fast-paced industry, so you can be sure that new roles are cropping up all the time. Do the usual job spiel of giving your CV a fresh coat of paint and setting alerts up on job boards such as LinkedIn and Reed, whichever you prefer.
Keep an eye out on social for any opportunities, and follow any agencies that you’re a big fan of on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to catch any fresh job listings. Don’t be afraid to get in touch either, many growing agencies are on the lookout for the right person, even if it’s not necessarily the right time, so put yourself in front of them and make the conversation happen.
Also, just be patient. Keep learning while you search and improve your skills. Whether you get your first interview after 2 weeks or 2 months, you’ll have already become a better marketer than you were when you first applied, so it’s just a matter of time before someone hires you. I genuinely believe that a job in digital marketing isn’t an if statement (little pun in there for you coders or excel boffins), it’s a when statement. Put in the time and you’ll be rewarded for the effort.
Impression are hiring at the moment. Why not check out our current vacancies?