So you’ve just graduated or want to make a career switch into digital marketing. You’re poised to get your foot in the door somewhere, especially considering that over 400,000 digital marketing jobs were posted over the last 12 months.
But where do you start?
Your first job search can be daunting because you might feel like you don’t have the professional experience under your belt to even get an interview. While the search may be longer than you anticipate and tough work, many people have successfully landed entry-level digital marketing roles at top companies and startups.
Below is a list of tips to help guide you through the process.
Be confident in the skills you already have
As you peruse job postings, you may be intimidated by the number of hard skills listed for a job. But remember, soft skills are equally if not more important and you can always learn more technical skills by accessing an abundance of resources freely available online.
Even if you have not held a formal marketing role in the past, you may have had marketing responsibilities in a past position or even done some marketing work for your own small business or side hustle. Think creatively about how you can repackage your past work history to make it relevant to an entry-level digital marketing opportunity.
Pathstream’s Vice President of Career Strategy, Amy Ahearn, says, “Many students we’ve worked with have been admin assistants or held office jobs where they managed a social media account, updated a company website, or coordinated with local advertisers. All of these experiences are relevant to a digital marketing job and should therefore be featured prominently on your resume. Think expansively about any work you have done that might be relevant to the new role you are pursuing. Perhaps you helped market an event at your children’s school or managed a social media account for a side business. These projects and experiences can be highlighted when you’re applying for your first digital marketing job.”
Pick a digital marketing career path
Digital marketing is a broad term and this field is made up of many different disciplines, each carrying its own unique career path. This is exciting because you have a variety of options to choose from and can specialize in areas such as email marketing, paid advertising, marketing analytics, or social media.
It’s important to match your interests and skills to a discipline you will thrive in. To get started, ask yourself:
- What do I like?
- What are my digital marketing skills and strengths?
- Am I creative or analytical?
- What are my career goals?
If you are brand new to the field, it can often help to pursue a generalist role – such as a digital marketing specialist position – so that you can gain experience in many different types of marketing before deciding to specialize. This is an ideal role for someone new to the industry because it allows you to work within a number of different disciplines and learn from more seasoned colleagues. It will help you master new skills, identify your passions, and also pinpoint the types of work you are less excited about doing long-term. We recommend you strongly consider applying or accepting this type of role because it will help accelerate your career growth.
Sharpen your digital marketing skills
Digital skills are vital for career success, but how do you develop those in-demand marketing skills? Set yourself apart by building a strong foundation in marketing strategy and learn to use the latest technologies and platforms. Look for a certificate program to teach you the digital marketing skills that potential employers are looking for such as Google Analytics, Hubspot, Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
Once you’ve earned your certificate, show off your skills by adding them to your resume or LinkedIn profile. Prospective employers and recruiters will be impressed by your experience with the latest marketing trends and the newest technologies. Investing in a digital skills education will help you build your career early and make you stand out.
Build your digital marketing portfolio
Resumes can only say so much about what you are capable of doing as a digital marketer. To complement your resume consider building a portfolio before applying to jobs. It’s a great way to apply the skills you picked up from your digital marketing program and shows that you can attract potential clients.
Use tools like Squarespace, Wix, Crevado, CarbonMade, or PortfolioBox to put together an online gallery of your work and include short descriptions that highlight the goals of your campaign, what channels you chose and why, what assets you built, and the impact. Publishing your portfolio online improves your visibility and highlights your professionalism (even if you’re a rookie).
When you work with Pathstream, our goal for you is to land a full-time job, but sometimes your search takes longer than expected. To build up your portfolio and gain some experience you can pursue freelance marketing work.
- Check out UpWork, Fiverr, Toptal, Behance, FlexJobs, and 99Designs – marketing gigs are posted there daily.
- Take a free course on Online Freelancing Essentials to gain some tips on how to establish your profile.
- Know a small business owner? They always need help growing their customer base. Consider setting them up with Facebook Ads or helping them manage their social media.
Submit your resume to a creative agency
Staffing agencies and creative agencies often source candidates for both contract marketing work and permanent positions. Create a profile with these agencies so that they can refer you if they have a client in search of your skillset. Keep in mind that many of these agencies will often take a percentage of your salary in exchange for making the match, but this can often be worthwhile if it helps you get in the door. Agencies that specialize in digital marketing positions include Artisan Talent, Mondo, Marketpro, Sparks Group, iCreatives and The Creative Group.
Set up alerts for entry-level digital marketing roles and perfect your resume
This step is often overlooked, but makes your life easier! Set up alerts on job boards like, Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Wayup to notify you of when a digital marketing job that meets your criteria is posted. You can also create a shortlist of companies that you would like to work for and schedule time on your calendar weekly to monitor their job boards. If you want to make an extra good impression, connect with people who work there and set up an informational interview. Remember, a majority of jobs are still filled through networking, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Watch Networking and Informational Interviews to learn more tips.
Once you’re confident a digital marketing job posting is what you’re looking for, edit your resume to highlight relevant experience aligned to the job requirements. Make sure you proofread your resume and ask someone to provide feedback. As Amy says, “Digital marketing requires attention to detail so make sure your application materials embody the care and attention needed to do the job well.”
Here are some more resources to help you:
Prepare for your first digital marketing interview
Great job, you scored the interview. The first step is a 30-40 minute phone screen which consists of a conversation with a recruiter or hiring manager to get a sense of your background and potential fit for the role.
We put together a blog post with 10 steps to help you impress the tougher hiring managers here. Be sure to check it out, but in the meantime, consider these tips below:
- Do research on the company to understand key facts about their business
- Review their social media accounts, marketing campaigns, listen to their podcasts and read their blogs
- Check out their website
- Read their mission statement and understand their values– it defines their brand voice and identity
- Learn to how tell your story.
Get ready to forge your career path in this booming industry! It’s projected to grow by 7% in just 2 years!
Click here to download digital marketing resume examples.
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