Dive into digital with a Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing and master key digital specialisms.
Struggling to get noticed? Moving up as a professional in the world of digital marketing can be a serious challenge - one that requires a mix of creativity and strategic thinking to overcome.
Below, we’ve listed five tactics that you can use to level-up your CV and stand out from other applicants whenever you apply for a digital marketing job.
Whether your goal is to establish your career or advance to the next level, all of these tactics can produce seriously positive results. Better yet, they’re also easy to implement for any digital professional with a strong level of skills, knowledge and enthusiasm.
Build a portfolio website
Put yourself in the shoes of a digital marketing employer. You’re sorting through applications and CVs for a new user experience manager. Of the 100 applications you’ve received, 95 were sent from Gmail, Hotmail and other free email accounts. Five were sent from personal domains.
Which applications are you most likely to notice? More importantly, which applications stand out as being from serious, experienced people interested in standing out as authorities in their field?
One of the most effective steps you can take to stand out as a digital job applicant is to create a polished, professional website that showcases your skills, knowledge and experience.
According to Dan Schawbel, founder of WorkplaceTrends.com, it’s “imperative that everyone have a website so that they can be found online, impress employers, and have a central place to store their achievements over their lifetimes.”
A professional website is, in a way, the 21st century equivalent of a great CV. Since so few job applicants bother to develop one - even in the forward-thinking digital marketing industry - it’s also an easy way to stand out as a more serious, motivated person.
Creating your own professional website also has a hidden advantage. In the age of Googling job applicants, building your own personal branding website gives you an extra level of control over what potential employers will see when they search for you.
Thanks to CMS software like WordPress, creating a website to showcase your experience, skills and achievements is easier than it’s ever been. In one day or less, you can develop a website that shows that you’re an experienced professional.
Add some simple SEO to the mix and your personal website can act as a passive career development tool, helping you stand out to recruiters and other potential employers.
Showcase Your Skills by Guest Blogging
Beyond creating a website to showcase your skills and experience, another great way to stand out from other job applicants is to establish yourself as a thought leader through guest blogging.
Although many people think of guest blogging as an SEO strategy, it can also be a powerful way to attract the attention of people in your industry and develop a reputation as an expert.
Digital marketing consultant Neil Patel built a massive business and a reputation as one of the industry’s top content experts through guest blogging, primarily on authoritative digital business websites like Search Engine Land and HubSpot.
While these publications might not be within your reach as a beginner, you can start by offering to guest post on smaller, more specialised digital marketing blogs before trading up the chain to larger, more influential media outlets.
Over the course of several months, this tactic can help you develop a powerful portfolio of content that sets you apart from other job applicants.
Freelance for positive work reviews
A professional history of guest posts is one thing. A professional history of high quality work is another. If you’d really like to stand out and attract the attention of digital employers, one of the best things you can do is build a history of high quality freelance and volunteer work.
From design and development to content marketing, PPC and digital strategy, putting your skills to work on a real project is one of the most effective ways to show potential employers that you have what it takes to excel in your role.
There are several ways to implement this tactic. The first is to bid on and complete freelance projects for local businesses, startups and other employers with a lower barrier to entry than corporate employers. Over time, this lets you build a versatile, engaging portfolio.
Another option is to reach out to charities and NGOs to offer your services free of charge. A successfully completed project for a local, national or international charity lets you add some real substance to your CV, all while doing something good for the world.
Ultimately, digital marketing employers want employees that have both skills and the ability to execute. A professional website and guest blogging history show that you’ve got the skills for the job; a history of successful projects shows that you know how to put them into practice.
Customize Your CV & Cover Letter
Not all digital marketing jobs are equal. As such, why should you send the same CV and cover letter to every employer? To get the highest response rate, customise your CV and cover letter to match the needs of every potential employer you contact.
A simple way to do this is to treat your CV as an outline, rather than as a static document you send to employers en masse. This way, you can swap in and out skills, accomplishments and other content based on the specific values each employer is looking for.
It’s also important to create a clear value proposition for yourself as an individual - something we explained in detail in our five-step formula for creating an outstanding digital marketing CV.
Ultimately, your CV is there to confirm that you’re right choice for the job far more than it is to attract a potential employer’s attention in the first place. Showcase the right skills and provide relevant, reassuring achievements and you’ll win their confidence as well as their attention.
Remember that you’re dealing with people, not just a business
One of the most common job application mistakes is thinking of a potential employer as a blac k box - an anonymous, non-human business with products, services and a brand but without any internal culture.
The reality is that every business is made up of people. In the digital marketing industry, where agencies are made up of tight-knit teams, putting your people skills to work can often make the difference between standing out as a great applicant and being ignored completely.
This can be as simple as addressing your application to a specific individual (provided a name is included in the job posting), instead of simply using a title. For startups and small agencies, you can even track down the hiring manager using a mix of Google and LinkedIn research.
Another tactic is to put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes and look at your application from their perspective. Pretend you’ve received 100 emails already. What unique factor would make a specific application catch your eye?
Sometimes, standing out is as simple as attaching an example of the type of work you can do, tailored to the specific business you’re contacting.
If you’re a designer, a mock-up of a brochure could impress the hiring manager enough to win you an interview. For a content manager, it could be as simple as briefly reviewing a company’s recent blog output and providing some tips and suggestions.
Finally, good manners never go out of style. Make sure you match the tone of your email to the type of business you’re reaching out to (go formal for a corporation and lighter for a start up), but never forget to keep it polite and professional.
Upskill for success in your digital career
Are you interested in establishing your career as a digital marketing professional? The careers section of our digital marketing blog contains countless guides, case studies and checklists to help you make real, measurable progress towards your career goals.