Building a Career Path in Digital Marketing: Where to Start
Digital marketing is the go-to for any business these days, all thanks to the internet becoming an integral part of everyone’s lives. It was true before the pandemic, and it is even truer now as the new normal forces some businesses to switch to e-commerce.
As the demand for digital marketing services only keeps rising, people who provide them are also sought-after. Fortunately, starting in this field doesn’t require a higher education diploma or even a course certificate. What’s valued the most is the person’s key skills and ability to achieve results.
So, you decided to turn your life around and get started on the career path in digital marketing. (For the sake of this guide, let’s consider you a complete newcomer to the field.) What should you do to land your first job? Here are 6 steps for your strategy. If you want to know one of the finer tricks of the trade in digital marketing, consider reading the TRUiC guide on press release writing and distribution.
1. Make Sure Your Resume Is One-of-a-Kind
Your job application has to be remarkable for recruiters. This is the sacred rule of ensuring it will make it through the preliminary screening. Keep in mind: hiring managers scan through hundreds of resumes and read as many cover letters every week.
So, revamping your resume into something unique is the most crucial aspect of job hunting. Experiment with how you present the information about yourself and don’t put yourself into the box with the standard resume structure and format.
To land an interview, your resume has to be visually stunning, too. After all, recruiters are humans, and all humans are visuals. So, juliewolfedesign.com will pop among dozens of modern-office-style applications. Luckily enough, there is no need to be a designer to do this: the so-called resume builders have dozens of bold templates to choose from.
2. Get Familiar With the Basics
Digital marketing encompasses a huge number of occupations. Most companies and agencies don’t look for ‘digital marketers’, they look for SEO specialists, social media managers, the list goes on.
Those who do put up a ‘digital marketer’ job offer are usually small businesses that need a jack-of-all-trades person in their midst.
Before focusing on a specific niche, newcomers to the field might want to get the lay of the land first. Here are just a few suggestions worth looking into:
- Search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing (SEM);
- Google Ads and Analytics;
- Web analytics;
- Social media management and marketing (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn);
- Email marketing;
- Content marketing;
- Referral, affiliate, and influencer marketing;
- General concepts: the marketing funnel, conversion rate optimization, A/B testing.
The good news is, the industry is open to sharing sacred practical knowledge; it’s not kept hidden behind closed doors. The internet is full of blogs that can be your well of knowledge, with the most prominent ones being Moz, Hubspot, Hootsuite, and Growth Hackers.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
It’s impossible to learn digital marketing without putting the theoretical knowledge to practice. This is why one of the first things potential job seekers should do is set up their own blog and grow it. Fortunately, WordPress, one of the most common content management systems out there, is free to use. So are many SEO and marketing tools like Ahrefs and Yoast.
The second-best thing to do is to polish your social media management and marketing skills. So, set up professional pages promoting your services and toy around with the business account features.
Other irreplaceable tools in a digital marketer’s professional life include:
- Google Analytics;
- Google Adwords;
- MailChimp (for email campaigns);
- Buffer (for social media management).
Make sure to gain some experience with them, too.
4. Choose Your Niche & Double Down on Developing Your Skills
After wrapping your head around the basics, your next step is settling on a particular specialization. There are plenty of professions to choose from, with these five being the most suitable ones for beginners:
- Social media manager;
- SEO specialist;
- Content marketer;
- Paid ads manager;
- Partnership marketer.
Once the decision is made, it’s time to double down your efforts in acquiring the key skills for the chosen occupation.
5. Gain Some Experience With Unpaid Work
To set your foot in the potential employers’ doors, it’s not enough to have a neat list of skills in the qualification section.
A successful applicant needs some accomplishments (and testimonials) to prove they are capable of what they claim. Passion projects won’t cut it because working with a client is a completely different experience.
The good news is, such achievements can be obtained without landing even an entry-level job first. Future pros can offer their services for free to friends or local businesses and volunteer for NGOs. Internships (although often unpaid) and traineeships are also abundant.
Once you are confident enough in the chosen niche, it’s a good idea to find freelancing gigs. Marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr are the go-to place among freelancers all over the world. But beware: the competition there is often cutthroat. So, finding clients on local job aggregators or via social media might be a better option.
6. Aim for Entry-Level Jobs
Another way to gain professional skills in any field is to apply for job offers that require no previous work experience. Of course, the pay will probably be underwhelming at first, but nothing can replace what you learn in the field conditions.
This is where the side projects – your website and professional social media accounts – come in handy. Use them to present the results you’ve achieved on your own. This side project, along with unpaid and freelance work, will speak volumes. Remember to hone in on the power of networking during the job search.
There is a lot of preparation work to be done before you land a job. This is why deciding to pursue a new career path is better to be combined with a temporary position that will keep the roof above your head.
But however tough the journey is, it is rewarding. Digital marketing is among the most well-paying jobs out there, and it’s not likely to change any time soon. So, persist and you shall overcome, as they say.