It's so easy to get a job you really want, right? Yeah, maybe if it was 1961. These days, a college degree is a dime a dozen, and in our increasingly digital world, a specialized education carries a lot more weight than a general liberal arts major. So if you graduated with a history degree and didn't want to be a lawyer or teacher, like myself, where are you supposed to start a career? My mistakes aside, there's opportunity for people of all backgrounds to get involved in digital marketing. But, it takes more than just having an old Twitter account and a Wordpress site for your short stories. Take a look at these six tips for getting a job in digital marketing.
1. Get any kind of experience
Easier said than done, of course, but there's lots of opportunities to find part-time work or an internship learning the ropes of social media campaigns, web development, and other digital marketing elements. Every business is looking to improve their web presence, so you can gain valuable experience working just a few hours a week for a small business. My first digital opportunity involved social media campaigns and content management for a travel site, after I met the site owner while I was working at a hotel. Look for opportunities in unlikely places, and you just might find one.
2. Market yourself
Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager at a digital marketing agency. Would you hire someone who has no social media presence to manage your social media campaigns? Of course not. So make sure you are walking the walk when it comes to digital media. Posting and interacting on social media is a given, but you should be blogging as well, sharing your thoughts on digital developments and providing value through thought leadership. You'll improve as a writer, and you'll have great content that proves you have real knowledge and can communicate well. Build your network on Linkedin, and find ways to share your expertise, and you'll help construct a personal brand that will make you more attractive to agencies.
3. Program your mind
Fortunately, you don't need complete mastery of HTML, Java, CSS, and PHP to succeed in digital marketing, but the more you know, the better you'll be able to communicate with developers and discuss requirements with clients. Having a handle on the vernacular will keep you from making a fool of yourself during an interview. That's not to say it's not worthwhile to learn one or more of these languages, but at the bare minimum, knowing how to add some HTML code to a blog post can go a long way.
4. Know the terminology
Outside of the technical languages, it's pretty important to actually know the lingo of the industry you're trying to get in to. Know what SEO, CRM, PPC, and CTA stand for? Good, now which of those needs a great CTR and provides great lead generation? Is Linkedin better for B2C or B2B campaigns? Don't get tripped up answering questions in an interview or with a big client just because you couldn't spend a couple hours familiarizing yourself with the building blocks of modern digital marketing. Being able to answer in specifics about the variety of responsibilities and roles of the company will go a long way to impress your would-be boss.
5. Connect with people
Connect with the person you interview with on Linkedin, comment on a their blog, follow them on Twitter. Don't stalk, but show that you are active and willing to provide value. Even if you don't get the job, making a positive impression can lead to new opportunities down the road. It can be disappointing to get turned down, but don't let that prevent you from maintaining a good relationship with the professional contacts you make through your interviews and networking. If you handle yourself well and know your stuff, they'll keep you in mind the next time they have an opening. You just never know where amazing job opportunities could come from, so cast a wide net and make friends, not adversaries.
6. Learn the tools
Digital marketing isn't just made from scratch. There are dozens of powerful platforms to help agencies manage the tasks and build the campaigns they do on a daily basis. Here at Revenue River we use Hubspot, Moz, MailChimp, Asana, Basecamp, and a number of different content management systems like SilverStripe and Wordpress. The more you can learn ahead of time, the less a potential employer will have to train you, and the sooner you'll be able to bring value. There's lots of training and certifications available for these tools, and being able to prove you're an expert before you even have a career in digital marketing will speak volumes about your enthusiasm and dedication.
More than anything, you need passion to get into digital marketing, no matter if you're the top student in your advertising class or graduated with a semi-useful liberal arts degree. Agencies are looking for specialized experts, of course, but they are also looking for smart people of all backgrounds who can learn the tricks of the trade and bring new perspective. You might not get hired during your first interview, or your tenth, but you just need one opportunity to get your foot in the door and show that you can provide value. Don't expect to get that opportunity without being as prepared as possible, so work on these six tips and give yourself the best chance to succeed!