19 June 2020 | Career Advice | Guest Author
So you’ve finished university and are now chomping at the bit to start your career? If you are looking for a graduate job in digital marketing then you’ve made a great career choice. The digital marketing industry is an exciting landscape to work in with endless opportunities for career advancement.
Even in the current climate (with industries being greatly affected), there are plenty of opportunities to get started. Nonetheless, competition is still higher than it was pre-pandemic. This means that you may need to be a little more aggressive & creative in your job hunt.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a degree in Digital Marketing, what matters most is passion & knowledge. Speaking from experience, here are some actionable tips to implement that will help you land the job you deserve.
Choose Your Digital Marketing Career Path
With so many digital marketing practices to base your career on, the first step is to narrow down your selection. By choosing 2-3 disciplines, this enables you to focus your efforts so that you don’t spread yourself too thin. When deciding what disciplines to choose from, take a look at what interests/excites you the most. Although you don’t want to be too picky when applying for a graduate job, you still should choose the path that best suits your skills and interests.
If you manage to land a graduate job in Digital Marketing, there is a good chance you will be specialising in a particular field. Common graduate digital marketing job titles include SEO Specialist, Paid Social Media Specialist, etc. Therefore, your first graduate job could shape your entire career path. So choose with careful consideration. Normally after several years of experience, you can decide to branch out and work across multiple disciplines or continue specialising.
Once you have decided which career path you want to pursue, start looking at digital marketing certified courses. Many graduate job descriptions in digital marketing will not look for certifications as a requirement. However, having them will definitely give you the advantage over your competition. If you decide to work for a big company or an agency, they may well ask you to complete these courses anyway. So imagine how impressed they would be seeing that already in your resume!
Most disciplines in digital marketing will have free certified courses available. For example; if you choose a career path to work in PPC ads, you should complete the Google Ads academy course. Likewise, if you want to work in Paid Social Media, then definitely complete the Free Facebook Blueprint course. Many employers also require Google Analytics skills, therefore getting certified by the Google Analytics academy would be highly desirable.
When you get your certification badge, make sure you put them on your resume and update them on your LinkedIn profile. These are achievements and things that potential employers will be looking for; so don’t be afraid to show them off!
While achieving digital marketing certifications will help you get yourself an interview. You will need to be able to back up these accomplishments with knowledge. Candidates applying for a graduate job in digital marketing would be classified as beginners. You won’t be expected to be highly knowledgeable when starting out. For this reason, you should go above what is expected, as this will become apparent in an interview. Those that are able to talk about detailed digital marketing strategies will stand out and impress employers.
When I interviewed for my first Full-time job in Digital Marketing as a Paid Social Media Executive, it was composed of three interviews. In the final interview I had to prepare and present paid social media ad strategies for a specific company. After getting the job, I was given great feedback about the level of detail that I was able to talk about. This shows the importance of educating yourself. Even though you are not expected to be highly knowledgeable, you can expect to be challenged throughout the interview process.
Get an Internship/Gain Experience in Digital Marketing
If you don’t have a degree related to digital marketing, it may be in your interest to gain some experience first. This may not be required for the role, but it will give you a competitive edge. If you find yourself struggling to get an interview, then definitely this is a good option for you. Unfortunately, some internships are unpaid or will only reimburse expenses. However, it may just be what you need to get your foot in the door.
Many degrees provide the opportunity for you to gain work experience as part of your placement. So if you haven’t had any, you may be at a disadvantage. Media agencies are a great place to start as many offer internships. Start-ups are also often on the lookout for Digital Marketing Interns. I spent 3 months working for a Start-up as a Digital Marketing Intern before landing my graduate job in digital marketing. So this could be a good place to start for you too.
The Digital Marketing industry celebrates creative talents and what a great way to show creativity than to create an online C.V. Why not create your own personal website with an ‘About Me’ page? You can add a link on your C.V/resume to this page so that recruiters can get to know more about you and your experiences in a more personable way. In an increasingly digital world, creating a personal website could be the secret ‘ingredient’ to job-hunting.
If you are looking to start a career in SEO or content marketing, you could offer to write guest posts for other websites and organizations. Again, this shows initiative and is also a great way to build and showcase your portfolio to potential employers. In order to find websites offering guest posts, you can search on Google the topic you want to write about + “write for us”; e.g., Digital Marketing + “write for us”.
Another good way of gaining valuable work experience is by starting off as a Freelancer. You can go on Freelancing websites like Flexjobs, where you can create your own profile and find work. I would advise offering your services for free in order to be more competitive. Your goal should be to gain experience and build your portfolio to ultimately land a graduate job in digital marketing.
Are you ready for your Graduate job in Digital Marketing?
Digital Marketing poses fantastic career opportunities with unique gateways to entry. If you have just finished University and are set to graduate, don’t feel pressure to get a graduate role immediately. We are living in a very unique time with such high unemployment rates. However, this will eventually blow over and things will go back to normal. If you can afford to go unpaid, you should look to improve your knowledge during lockdown. Take time and gain certifications across multiple disciplines. Obviously, keep applying for graduate roles, but don’t get disheartened if you are not getting the interviews tht you would like. Use this as an opportunity to fully prepare yourself and be ready when job opportunities start to open up more again.
Author of this article, Mark Treanor, currently works as a Paid Social Media Executive for MediaCom working across both Adidas and Reebok accounts. After graduating, he spent time working as a Personal Trainer before shifting his focus to pursuing a career in digital marketing. Mark moved to London over 2 years ago from sunny Ireland and has been here ever since. For more information on Mark visit: https://marktreanor.co.uk/