Do you possibly see yourself working as a marketing manager or digital marketing specialist? The demand for these jobs is high because the marketing skills gap is a real thing; employers have a hard time finding job candidates that possess a combination of qualitative, quantitative, and technical skills.
That’s why it is important to get started on the right track by gaining a balance of both hard and soft skills, as well as some foundational and technical education. In this article, we will discuss the various sectors in the industry, what skills, education, and experience are needed, and how to get a job in digital marketing.
Assess Your Skills
Before you start pursuing your digital marketing dreams, you need to be sure this is the right career path for you. Do you have the soft skills needed for a digital marketing job? Digital marketers typically are curious, persuasive, analytical, tech-savvy, flexible, and creative. You will find them blossoming in a social setting, easily able to connect with others through the use of their excellent communication skills.
Although these traits do help create success as a digital marketer, they are not strictly necessary. Digital marketing is a diverse field where you can find a job that suits your natural proclivities. Leverage your unique abilities to get you in the door, then you can nurture the traits and skills that will be needed for that job.
Technical skills can be learned on the job. However, soft skills are much less teachable. Having the right soft skill set is the most important thing employers look for.
Find Your Niche
When it comes to online marketing, we don’t recommend going too general and trying to learn everything at once. After all, you don’t want to be the jack of all trades, master of none. It is such a wide field and it’s impossible to know everything. Try to focus on what you’re good at and stick to it. Some special digital marketing roles will be made just for you.
What digital marketing skills come easy to you? Work on specializing in several related areas and soon you will be seen as an expert.
There are many sectors to choose from. Let’s discuss some areas of digital marketing you might be interested in.
Are you empathetic, analytical, communicative, and a skilled storyteller and editor? Consider getting a job in content strategy. Content strategists develop a digital marketing strategy that aligns the company’s goals and the customer’s needs. They plan the kind of content that will show the brand’s authority, build trust with the target audience, and ultimately drive traffic to the website.
Typically you will need some years of experience in digital marketing first before you become a content strategist.
You will want to be familiar with SEO, social media, and how to run successful digital marketing campaigns. Get experience working on the back end of websites through content management systems (CMS) and digital asset management systems (DAM). If that all sounds a bit overwhelming for you, start by gaining experience with WordPress.
If you are great at storytelling, video production, research, editing, graphic design, and copywriting, content marketing might be your niche. Content marketing is the creation and sharing of content such as videos, blogs, and posts. Its purpose is to stimulate interest in the company’s products/services to its target audience.
To get a job as a copywriter, work on building your writing skills. Since there is a variety of writing styles used for content, you will need to practice writing in several different styles. Why not start your blog? Doing so will allow potential employers to see your writing at its best. You will also be building your online reputation.
Additionally, get a basic understanding of search engine optimization (SEO). Since the two aspects often overlap, you will need to know how it works and how to do keyword research for your content. Also, be sure to explore WordPress and the Yoast SEO plug-in.
Other content creation jobs involve videography or graphic design. To be a successful videographer, attend workshops, get a quality camera, and start filming. Build an impressive portfolio filming a wide range of content. To get a job in graphic design, typically a university degree is the safest route into the industry. Be familiar with design tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
Search engine marketing (SEM)
Are you analytical and skilled in programming, gathering and organizing datasets, and copywriting? The SEM field might be for you. Search engine marketing (SEM) is a strategy to increase a website’s visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs).
There are two main components: search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. SEO is a set of standards to follow that will help a website rank higher on SERPs, while PPC is a form of advertising that gets paid traffic to your site.
To get a job in SEO, hands-on experience and technical skills are valued most by employers. You can gain experience through coding bootcamps and online courses. Be familiar with Moz, Ahrefs, SEM Rush, and GoogleSearch Console.
For PPC, you’ll want to be well-versed on the various ad platforms. Focus on building your copywriting skills and learn how conversion optimization works. If possible, try to get a Google Ads Certification, Meta Blueprint Certification, and Bing Ads Certification. These look great on a PPC resume!
Social media marketing
Are you creative, intuitive, social, communicative, and skilled at planning and curating content? Do you find yourself flipping through social media for hours on end? You could leverage your social media addiction to become a whiz in social media marketing. Social media marketing uses social media platforms to connect with customers to build brand awareness, increase sales, and get more traffic to websites.
To niche down even further, consider your favorite platform and become an expert in all aspects of its functions. Obtain a certification from that platform to demonstrate your wide knowledge of the subject. Also be familiar with social media ad platforms like Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, and LinkedIn Ads.
If possible, gain some experience using a social media management platform like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, or Buffer.
But to stand out from the crowd of fellow social media marketers, you’ll want to build your personal brand. Create blogs, images, videos, or even start a podcast for a dedicated social media account that you can share with potential employers.
To build your portfolio, you can also volunteer your services to a non-profit, a friend, or your favorite company or influencer. Consider taking on some affiliate marketing opportunities to gain some more experience for your portfolio. A little extra side hustle couldn’t hurt!
With your portfolio, make sure to include any analytics data to show the growth of your account/s. This proves to employers that you can interpret data and adjust the brand strategy as needed.
Email marketers are strategic, analytical, design-oriented, persuasive, and skilled at copywriting. They focus on sending commercial emails to leads and customers who have an established interest in the brand. Email marketing has one of the highest ROIs out of all digital marketing strategies, therefore the skills needed for it are highly valued by employers.
Email marketing platforms to be familiar with include Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and AWeber. Be sure to understand how to use automation as much as possible. Automating emails saves time, yet still personalizes the experience for each customer in their stage of the buyer’s journey.
To get ready to become an email marketer, focus on improving your writing skills. Dip your toes in with some freelance work or by starting a blog, newsletter, or starting your email campaign. Then display your publications, data results, and graphic design projects in your portfolio.
Data analysts, or digital marketing analysts, are problem solvers, analytical, organized, research-driven, and have attention to detail. They gather and interpret data sets to answer a question or solve a specific problem.
Within marketing, data analysts examine a company’s competitors, monitor marketing trends, analyze statistics, and develop strategies to improve the position of their brand. They then use the metrics to present data visualizations to other members of the digital marketing team.
These analysts must be well-versed in analytics and intelligence tools that gather the data. To be seriously considered by employers, a bachelor’s degree is preferred. If not, make sure to gain experience in professional digital marketing and get certified in Tableau, Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Optimizely, and Data Studio.
Regardless of what area of digital marketing you want to go into, it is a good idea to get educated. Employers appreciate candidates with a marketing degree or a bachelor’s or master’s in a related field. However, not having a degree won’t always disqualify you as long as you have the drive, knowledge, and talent to succeed.
A bachelor’s degree will give you the fundamentals that will form your knowledge base throughout your career. But if you want more technical knowledge and hands-on experience, it is essential to enroll in digital marketing courses and bootcamps that target your chosen niche. Many of them will award you the certifications that employers like to see on candidates’ resumes.
When you enter the digital marketing career space, you must network to establish genuine relationships in the industry. You will want to build a support system of like-minded professionals to give you advice, partner with, or find unique opportunities to launch your new career.
Attend networking events or conferences. This is the place to learn from verified marketing experts and get the scoop on the latest trends in the marketing industry.
Review the lineup beforehand and make a list of people you’d like to meet. Reach out to them and offer to buy them a coffee at the event (and pick their brain). Talk to people who you find interesting and knowledgeable. You never know what it could lead you to! There are recruiters and hiring managers looking for bright candidates for their teams.
Find a mentor if possible. Simply start by asking a professional you admire any burning questions you have about your niche. If you find they give you helpful and actionable advice, make sure to express your gratitude. Feeling brave? Ask if they have any internship opportunities.
Get an Internship
To get the career you want, you’ll need some on-the-job experience under your belt. Start with an internship. You will grow the most as an intern because you are thrust into the midst of real-world work experiences. You will learn how to work with the digital team, and you will find where you fit in. The internship is the make-it-or-break-it moment.
To browse internships, check LinkedIn or other job boards for a list of unpaid and paid positions.
There are several places you could apply for an internship:
- Startups: With a business just getting off the ground, you will probably be handed a lot more responsibility from the beginning. If you are ready for a challenge, a budding startup could be the internship for you. Just be aware that you may not be learning from mentors with much experience under their belt.
- Marketing agencies: Within an agency, you will get a broad view of the marketing landscape, giving you a better perspective of what the industry has to offer. You will be surrounded by successful marketers who will be perfect to learn from. If you want to learn at a slower pace, this could be the opportunity you’ll want to go for.
Interview for the Job You Want
With your portfolio in hand, internship experience, certifications, diplomas, skills, and of course professional attire and a smile, you’re ready to interview for entry-level positions. You are sure to snag the marketing position you want.
The road to success may seem long and arduous, but just remember that it is a journey. Once you have landed your dream career, you will always be learning, changing, and adapting in the digital marketing field.