Feb 27, 2018

Digital Skills: What Top Agencies Look for When Hiring

by Digital Marketing Institute

Are you the type of person that likes to be creative at work? Or are you more the analytical type? Or perhaps you’re a blend of both?

If you’re looking to pursue a career in digital marketing, or you’re already there, and you’re looking to pivot, here are some hard and soft skills that can get you moving towards a fascinating and rewarding career.


Creative problem-solvers thrive in this field because there’s always something new popping up – one day you’ll be learning about software, and the next you may be helping the creative team develop a unique digital marketing campaign.

If you’re a curious person who is well-versed in social media and content creation, who supports their actions with data, you’ll go far in most areas in the field of digital marketing.

Communication and Teamwork

The most effective managers and team members out there aren’t necessarily great because of a particular set of skills, but because of their ability to work with others of different backgrounds. It’s crucial that smooth communication and coordination takes places between people in agencies working on major projects.

Knowing a little bit about a few different areas will help you ensure that communication is clear and consistent, whether you’re a manager or not. No one works alone in this field (even if you freelance, you still need to network and seek support and learning opportunities.) So there needs to be a focus on teamwork all the way through your career-building path.


Digital marketing is a dynamic field with ample opportunity for ongoing learning; but also a requirement to do so. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to develop your digital marketing technical skills through side jobs, online courses, bartering or volunteer positions. But no matter how good you are, you must be willing to pursue ongoing learning on your own accord and teach yourself new skills in order to keep up.

Social Media Advertising

Social advertising is huge right now, and this trend is not expected to go away anytime soon. We’re not just talking a few posts on Facebook – companies are going to be looking for people with a proven track record of effective ad campaigns on a range of popular platforms. They’ll also want people who know about paid social media advertising in particular.

It’s no longer enough to just “like” a page to grow it – you’ll have to put some elbow grease into creating innovative ads for Facebook, Instagram or wherever your target audience resides.

This will continue to be a key framework of digital marketing strategies because it’s a low-cost and fairly simple way of building brand awareness.

Digital Marketing Managers

Those taking on managerial roles in particular need to have some solid business and leadership skills under their belt. They must be great communicators, facilitators as well as motivators. They should understand what it takes to build successful relationships with colleagues as well as partners and clients.

Managers and anyone taking a leadership role must also have a strong command of business strategy. They must be able to set clear goals and work efficiently, as well as be involved in business activities such as using analytics to forecast.

They will need to be a jack-of-all-trades and have a strong knowledge of a range of digital management topics.

Content Strategy and Management

Content marketing is big these days – and while, for many positions, the ability to tell a good story is a must, we’re not just talking copywriting. It must be personalized and accurately targeted both in the B2B and B2C realms.

Video and audio production, whitepapers, social media, infographics, illustrators – the biggest companies will not only be looking for people who have a handle on multimedia content but also understand how to manage particular types of content and get it to the right audiences.


Digital marketing is about so much more than writing or building a website: to get to the bones of a business; you have to know what’s going on with your SEO and other metrics in order to keep the business thriving. A great digital marketer will have a grasp on what this all means and how to communicate well with analysts on their team if that is not their expertise. This means knowing how to use basic tools such as Google Keywords and Google Analytics in the context of your business or industry.

Being a great analyst is not so much about just having the data and creating reports; it’s more about using the data in innovative ways to inform your marketing strategy. A great analytical scientist is able to do this because they are creative problem-solvers as well as “numbers” people.

People who show a clear understanding of how to assess metrics and incorporate them effectively into their business strategy will be noticed by hiring managers. This goes beyond simple forecasting and budgets like the old days – digital data is becoming more and more crucial to the longevity and success of businesses in many fields, and professionals should understand how to leverage those numbers to boost business.

Other areas that require analytics include behavioral or consumer metrics, e-commerce, and business analytics.

IT Skills

There’s a huge technical element to heavy digital marketing that most people don’t talk about or see too much. This means people with IT skills, Computing Science degrees and a clear understanding of data science applications will be highly in demand. It’s crucial to have competent people in the backend to monitor website traffic (and so much more) simply because business competition in the digital sphere can be fierce.

Creative Leadership & Design Skills

Marketing has always been about communication, and in today’s increasingly competitive landscape, companies will be looking to hire creative leaders and design professionals with a proven track record of using innovative visuals as a part of successful sales strategies.

If you have a background in coding or design, you’ll have a leg up on the whole thing, since much strategy is going to be based on how to boost SEO, a part of which is monitored through the back end of a website.

The best creatives will have solid technical skills in key design software programs such as Photoshop. And on the more technical side, web designers need to have a good grasp on basic programs such as WordPress as well as programming languages like HTML and CSS.

Facebook Advertising

Most marketing agencies these days are going to be looking for digital marketing specialists that can prove they can run a killer Facebook campaign, so you really can’t go wrong by starting your self-training here. And this is something you can do at home in your spare time. Consider getting very familiar with the following (just to name a few examples):

  • Facebook Insights
  • Power Editor
  • What is meant by lookalike audiences
  • Testing and experimenting with posts
  • Which markets to target

You will also want to get a clear understanding of how to create a great title, headline, and intro in the ad.

In Conclusion

There so many jobs available in the field of digital marketing that you’re sure to find something that fits you, but where do you even start? How about making a digital marketing skills list only for yourself, based on your core interests, skills, and competencies.

If you’re the type of person that’s willing to learn on the fly, naturally curious, have great marketing skills and are forward-thinking, you’ll be a good fit in many types of digital environments. For those who are a little more introverted, and analytical there are plenty of jobs managing metrics.

With the demand for digital marketing skills outweighing the supply, now is the time to freshen up your digital skills and advance your career in this dynamic field.

Learn the key digital specialisms with a Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing. Download a brochure today!

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