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DMI Daily Digest

Tips for Landing Your First Digital Marketing Job

It’s not easy for anyone to find their first marketing job. Whether you’re new to the marketing field or fresh out of college, it seems like every agency or brand wants someone who already has a few years of experience. So how do you get that experience without actually having a job? You’re likely competing against many applicants who have completed internships, achieved good grades and need cash fast, but there are some ways you can stand out from the pack. Here are some tips for getting your first marketing job.

 Here are some tips for getting your first marketing job.

Tips for Getting Your First Marketing Position

1. Get advertising experience. Gaining experience in Facebook Advertising and Google AdWords may take some time, but it’s well worth it. If you have even a little extra cash, try to practice AdWords for a family member’s business or your own professional offerings.Just remember that there’s a fine balance between spending all of your money learning and becoming a true AdWords or Facebook Advertising with real brand experience. Learn as much as you can from online tutorials first, then try to practice in any way that you can.

2. Learn everything you can, and then keep learning. The digital marketing industry is all about knowledge. Marketers must gain expertise in their field, but they also must respect the fact that marketing best practices are constantly changing. What works one week may not work the next. Seth Godin’s blog and Inbound.org are two sites that will help you along the way. In addition, you should commit yourself to learning the following by heart:

3. Offer your work for free, or take a low-paying trainee position. Nearly everyone has to start at the bottom. You might not currently have the skills that your dream job requires. Instead of spending all your time searching for a high salary and high-level position, structure your finances so that you can offer your work for free for a limited time (say, 30 days), or apply for an internship or entry-level position. By doing this, you will:

  • Add to your resume and earn a great recommendation if you do your job well
  • Learn from your colleagues and make connections with colleagues in the marketing industry
  • Work with larger clients than you would be able to land on your own

Offer your work for free, or take a low-paying trainee position. Source: Indeed.com

4. Start a blog. If you don’t have a website, or especially a blog, it’s a great way to start building your reputation as an expert marketer. Today anyone can create a WordPress site with very basic technical skills. A website will also allow you to practice your SEO, social media, design and overall marketing skills. You don’t have to be an expert to start writing, either. Doing a large amount of research on any topic gives you a starting point. It’s how you learn from the real experts, consolidate what you’ve learned and present it that will help you create a great post. Here are a few more great reasons to start a blog:

  • It’s free, or very low-cost if you purchase a domain
  • Your site will be available via Google for recruiters to find
  • You’ll have a place to show off your portfolio and résumé. (If you don’t have real-world experience with marketing campaigns, create mock campaigns)

General Job-Seeker Tips

Once you’ve nailed the basic skills, expertise and experience needed, it’s time to improve your online presence and cultivate a professional mindset that’s sure to set you apart.

1. Rethink your email address. Recruiters and potential clients and professional connections will judge you based on your email address. It’s human nature. Create a Gmail account that’s primarily based around your first and last name (middle if necessary). Leave cutesy or inappropriate references out of your email address, and try to avoid numbers if you can. Use Gmail to easily create an address, or, if you’re savvy, create a custom email with your own domain name.

2. Optimize your Linkedin presence. Linkedin should be your primary social media focus. Make sure you have as many recommendations as possible, completely fill out your profile. If you don’t have a lot of job experience, be sure to list as much volunteer experience and as many community affiliations as possible. Add any professional or academic connections you’ve made, and adjust your headline to speak to your search for a marketing position: i.e. “Recent Grad Search for Marketing Coordinator Role” or “Looking for a Career Switch to Marketing.” Showcase any writing or marketing work you’ve done in your portfolio. If you’ve graduated recently and received academic honors, list those as well.

3. Proactively apply for jobs. Apply for jobs even if you aren’t 100% perfect fit. Entry-level marketing positions include marketing specialist and marketing coordinator jobs. Start here for best results! Look for jobs via websites like Indeed, Linkedin and other top sites. Make sure your resume is on these top sites to get found by potential recruiters, but watch out for spam, coordinator, marketing specialist, and marketing intern types of positions. When you apply to jobs, include a personalized message in the cover letter section. This should highlight your skills, qualifications and interest in the role.

Entry-level marketing job titles. Source: Rasmussen College.

5. Never stop networking. You’ve heard the old adage, “It’s not about what you know; it’s about who you know.” In this case, the adage is true. If you have family or friends who are in the marketing world or know someone who is, ask for an introduction. If you’re lucky enough to get one, you’re much more likely to get a job than you would be if you simply sent in your résumé. In addition, attend as many marketing conferences and community meetups as you can. The more people you meet, the more chances you have to get your personal brand out there.

6. Get to know the companies in which you’re interested. Looking at a company’s website won’t tell you everything you need to know about the brand. Understand the company’s products, services and breadth of work, and check Glassdoor to see what current employees think of the company. Read up on the marketing leadership, and view the company’s social media accounts to try and get an idea of the culture. Many times, a company will not hire you if you’re not a “culture fit.”

What Not to Do

Here are some things not to do if you want to be considered for that marketing position.

Don’t:

  • Send a cover letter or resume that looks and reads like everyone else’s.
  • Put anything online that you haven’t proofread (and had someone else proofread). A simple typo can get you into the “no” pile quickly.
  • Try to “fake” your way in. Don’t say you’re passionate about a position or company if you’re not. And don’t pretend to have expertise, education or skills that you don’t have. You will be found out.
  • Give up. Don’t stalk recruiters, but check in on a weekly basis if you haven’t heard back. This will show that you’re very interested in the position and that you’re a go-getter.

Once You’ve Found a Full-Time Job in Marketing:

Congratulations! You’ve been offered a marketing position. But getting a job is just the start. Now you need to ensure you keep that job and thrive in your new position. Here are a few things to keep in mind once you’re hired.

  • Know that everything you learned about marketing in college may not directly apply to your day-to-day tasks.
  • Move quickly to meet deadlines and expectations.There’s no time for slow movers in the marketing world.
  • Don’t be afraid to take on new projects, and offer to take on additional tasks when they come up. You need to continue to learn.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help from people more experienced than you.
  • Continue to learn about trending best practices and new tools.

Are your marketing skills lacking? Didn’t go to college for marketing, or didn’t get enough real-world marketing experience when you did? Our online digital marketing courses make learning easy and fun. You’ll get the skills you need to succeed in any marketing position - whether it’s your first marketing job or your fourth.