Jun 20, 2018

Digital Marketing: How to Start Your New Career

by Digital Marketing Institute

Are you curious about how to start an exciting career as a digital marketer? Are you wondering what’s the best way to find digital marketing jobs?

Online learning can help you to quickly sharpen and diversify your current skills, it can make a world of difference for your future career path.

Know the Difference Between Digital Versus Traditional Marketing

Are you wondering whether it will be feasible to make a career change from regular marketing to digital marketing?

Is there really much difference? Yes and no. But you will want to explore some of the key differences if you’re coming from a traditional marketing background. Here are a few key similarities and differences:

  • Both are heavily reliant on writing and design, so if you have a background in copywriting or graphics you have a good chance of making a smooth transition.
  • Digital marketing is more data-driven than traditional marketing, so you’ll need to understand the different approach with regards to the customer journey as well as sales funnels.
  • Digital marketing is more of a two-way conversation and less of a “sales pitch” kind of approach.
  • Digital advertising has two basic forms, organic and paid. If you have a background in advertising, you’ll want to get a handle on how it works online.  

Assess Your Current Skills & Upskill Strategically

What are you really good at and passionate about right now? What do you have experience doing? There’s a good chance that you can find something that’s quite applicable to digital marketing since it’s such a versatile field. Here are some specialty areas you might want to consider:

  • Video
  • Audio
  • Social media
  • Mobile marketing
  • E-commerce
  • Content management
  • Web development
  • Web design
  • Digital publishing
  • Copywriting
  • Mobile marketing
  • Analytics
  • Business/marketing strategy

After you have taken an inventory of your current skills, you can get certified or just take a few courses to boost your skills but the point is to commit to upskilling now and well into the future.

You can learn plenty about digital marketing without getting formally certified, but you’ll definitely be ahead of the game if you have extensive experience, an aptitude for learning on your own and a formal certification. Fortunately, there are plenty of digital marketing courses and programs out there that are part-time, so you can learn at your own pace.

Get Familiar with Specialty Areas

There are so many things you can specialize in when you go into digital marketing, which is a part of what keeps it so interesting and why pretty much anyone can find a path in this area. Here are a few examples of the different fields you can specialize in:

Content / Social Media Strategy

You’ll be a great writer but if you want to go into the strategy or management end, you’ll need a lot more. You should be able to draw on a diverse range of tools to analyze and report numbers, but you don’t’ need to get super technical. What’s more important is that you can use a solid combination of creativity and hard data to contribute to effective ad campaigns and you understand how to deeply engage an audience via social media and content.  


Everyone in digital marketing needs to know a little about search engine optimization (SEO) as well as search engine marketing -- but don’t let this somewhat technical specialty scare you off. Most digital marketing programs will include this in even basic training and in the meantime, you can learn the basics by following blogs like Moz.

Read and Blog About Your Specialty

These days we’re so lucky that we have plenty of information available online for free or even almost free!

There are so many options out there – here are a few great options to start

  • Learn about blogging and copywriting basics via Copyblogger or Copy Hackers
  • Check out sites like Moz and SEM Rush to learn more about SEO
  • You can follow sites like Adweek to stay abreast of advertising trends

You’ll want to take a formal course in order to ensure that you stand out, but it’s always a good idea to commit to individual learning and skills development as much as you can. 

Your Personal Marketing is Professional Marketing

Marketing is a creative field and to that end (unless you are in a very technical space) so as you are building a website, a portfolio, and writing a blog, you should be focused on using this as an opportunity to build your authority. All you need to do is talk about what you’re doing while you’re doing it and what you’re learning as you go and you are showing the world that you’re self-motivated and interested in marketing. 

Try (Almost) Everything

If you’re just starting out, you need specific experience. So, even if this means taking on volunteer positions, collaborating, or bartering, if it’s something you need to learn, just go for it. Then you can include these experiences on your portfolio or resume as well.

(Do be wary of unpaid, full-time internships, however, if this is something that you don’t have the resources or energy to manage.)

Stay Ahead of Trends

The field of digital marketing is always changing and evolving and to that end, you’ll have to keep abreast of what’s going on in the field in order to not only keep your personal skills up to date but also to be able to develop competitive marketing strategies as you work with various clients and agencies.

Use LinkedIn Strategically

Even after being in existence for some 16 years, LinkedIn remains the top professional social networking sites with a whopping 467 million users according to HootSuite. Not only is it extremely versatile for networking and job hunters, but there are also a few different ways to make yourself stand out on this popular platform.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Make sure you have an eye-catching, unique title and skills summary. Your skills summary should be near the top of the page, below the fold.
  • List your qualifications as specifically as possible. For instance, instead of just saying “content writer” you can delineate your process for research, composition and crafting of awesome articles, and share how successful they’ve been, too.
  • Use special features like Slideshare and LinkedIn’s blogging feature to share what you know. Joining groups and sharing videos there is also a great idea for establishing authority.
  • Use LinkedIn Premium, which is a great tool for those who are serious about pitching and networking. Paying the $30 a month allows you to send InMail to pretty much anyone you want, so you can catch the attention of hiring managers and HR professionals at your favorite companies. 

Forget About Your Resume (sort of)

We actually don’t mean this literally – of course, you want to keep your resume updated and even give it a creative spin if that’s what your brand or field looks like.

But what’s more important these days especially with careers with a digital focus is to have a strong LinkedIn profile as well as a great portfolio and website. Forward thinking and innovative companies will likely be having forward thinking hiring practices and beyond that will be looking for creativity especially if you’re in a creative field.

Here are some examples of things to do instead of (okay, alongside) your resume, portfolio and LinkedIn profile:

  • Hit up a conference with some personalized swag that functions as a business card
  • Get practice-building websites by creating an eye-popping one of your own on WordPress, or Squarespace and then talk about how you did it.
  • Have an introductory video that showcases your skills and work process using unique visuals like graphs, charts or illustration, or you can keep it simple and just introduce yourself. This showcases 2 skills at minimum: first, that you can speak clearly and competently, and second, that you have a basic knowledge of video creation. (Or you could get really creative and write a rap song like this guy.)  

The Bottom Line

The internet is full of digital jobs and finding one that’s right for you – and getting the right training – is something that will look different for each individual. The important thing is that you have a solid assessment of your strengths, interests and current hard and soft skills in order to design a plan that fits your current situation.

The wonderful thing is that in today’s world of online learning, there are plenty of opportunities to teach yourself all kinds of skills from the comfort of your own home, both formally and informally.

The important thing is that you design your own plan and find a version of success that is meaningful to you. And don’t forget to have fun while you’re at it!

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