This year, digital marketing is one of the most popular careers. Highly skilled marketers are in high demand. A January 2021 LinkedIn jobs report shows that digital marketing has seen a 33% increase in hiring over the last year.
It can also pay very well. Indeed claims that digital marketers make more than $74,500 per year, while experienced marketers can easily make more than $100,000
It can be difficult to find a job as a digital marketer in your first role. You might not be able to get into the first position if there are many applicants for a job posting.
How do you start a career as a digital marketer?
Follow this guide. You will have the skills, attitude, and resume you need to land your first gig.
Choose your digital marketing discipline
You should not dive into the vast topic of digital marketing while trying to learn all channels and strategies simultaneously. I strongly recommend that you start with a narrow-and deep approach.
This means that you can only choose one channel (i.e. SEO and Pay Per Click. Paid Ads. Content Marketing. Email Marketing. Learn it from a strategic, practical, and foundational level.
Which discipline is best for you?
It’s possible that you already know what you want to learn first. If not, I highly recommend the Greenfig digital marketing science course. The program includes a preview of each channel, as well as hands-on practice. As an instructor, you can also see my smiling face. ?
When I began my career in 2004, I was involved with Pay-Per-Click Ads (also known by paid search, Google Ads and search engine marketing or SEM). This was a great foundation for me. I believe that a single-discipline approach is best.
Side Note: Although I will cover what employers want for internships and entry-level, specialization is an important one. Channel experts are more common in top-level marketing teams than generalists. It is better to do one thing well than many.
SEO, PPC and Paid Social Media Marketing are the most popular and widely-used digital marketing channels. To be able to do the best digital marketing jobs, I recommend starting with one of these.
- SEO is intended for content writers, code enthusiasts, and researchers. SEO can be sub-specialized in writing, link-building and technical. SEO can be used by both technical and writers alike. This category could also include content marketing.
- PPC is for the analytically-minded. It requires a lot of data, spreadsheets, organization and identifying trends.
- Paid social is for creativity. Ads on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can be made artistic by using images, video and audience targeting.
Spend some time looking at the different channels to find the one that suits you best. To see all the pros and cons of each channel, you can also refer to our Digital Marketing Channels Cheatsheet.
Once you have chosen a channel, it is time to learn it and master it before moving on to the next.
Learn digital marketing
Google will take you to an almost endless amount of learning blogs, Youtube channels and courses, as well as books and guides on digital marketing. Although there is no one path that is perfect, the resources you need are available to you all and they are either free or very inexpensive.
Instead of trying to learn everything from different resources, I recommend that you only take one foundational course. This will give you a complete overview of the channel you are interested in. This will allow you to learn the basics and then go on to the Youtube videos and blogs for more advanced strategies.
A very important piece of advice. Get your online business website up and running before you start your foundational course. The digital marketing course will allow you to build your marketing campaigns. This is essential. So, get your website up and running then apply what you have learned during the course to your online business.
These are my top recommendations for foundational courses:
- PPC: SEMRush Academy PPC Fundamentals
- SEO: SEOThatWorks
- Paid Social Media: HootSuite’s Social Marketing Academy
- Many more: Hubspot Academy
Note: You will find training materials for the certifications. These will be required, but you can supplement your training with the ad platforms (i.e. These non-bias resources are available at Google and Facebook.
Let me now give you some tips to help you get the most from your course or any other learning program.
- Download a goal sheet for 100 days. Mark a day off for each day that you spend studying 30 minutes or more. This works for any habit you wish to develop.
- Study Seriously. You should be in a calm study environment while you are working on your channel course. Note columns such as How Can I use This, Why Must It Be Used This and When Can You Use This. Note other resources and definitions that you may need to refer back to later.
- Do not jump to different resources. Completion of the foundational course or courses is a must. Do not jump to expert topics or topic blogs until you have completed the foundational program.
Get hands-on experience
After you’ve chosen your marketing disciplines, it’s time for you to set up access to the course to gain hands-on experience. It will make your course infinitely more useful if you are able to follow along and do the exercises.
Last year, when I was looking for an intern, I received over 500 applications. Let’s call him TK. What was it about TK’s resume that caught my attention? Through SEO, he had grown his Minecraft blog to attract thousands of people daily. It’s not easy, and he didn’t have any formal training. How can you earn and then showcase your new skills?
Create a web-based business you can market
This is a lot to ask, and it might seem like a distraction from your main focus on digital marketing. It is vital to have a space where you can practice and implement digital marketing strategies. This safe space will be beneficial even as you progress in your digital marketing career.
It’s important to learn how websites work and show recruiters that you are capable and willing to learn from others, especially if you’re just starting and already have a website that you managed marketing for.
You don’t have the responsibility of crashing your website, needing permission from a boss, client, or having your campaigns stop working because you are your own boss.
Determine the purpose of your business. You want something that can be launched quickly and operated entirely online.
Many of the digital marketing skills and strategies I have learned are a result of side-hustle projects.
29 Ideas for Online Businesses You Can Start Today. Drop-shipping, affiliate marketing using a content website, selling digital products or offering an e-class are some examples of simple models.
You could also buy an existing website business through Flippa. Don’t spend all of your budgets on launching your website. The goal is to help you grow your digital marketing skills.
Make a WordPress website following this complete guide. You can also hire a developer to create one according to your plans if the money is tight. You can build your website on Squarespace, Webflow or Shopify, but WordPress is most popular.
I don’t care what channel you choose, these are the things you should do to your website. These are essential skills for any digital marketer. You should learn them as soon as possible. All digital marketers need to be able to track and analyze data.
- Google Tag Manager (also called GTM) can be installed
- Google Analytics (also known by GA) can be added to Google Tag Manager
- Convert GA goals
- Add the Google Ads/LinkedIn/Facebook pixel for your channel
- Google Search Console allows you to verify your website
These videos will help you follow along.
Okay, now you need a website business, live website, analytics, and a domain name.
Let’s dive into the marketing of your website.
This is the place to start your foundational course. You are now ready to implement the strategies on your website.
You can choose a paid channel, such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or LinkedIn Ads. You will need to spend money if you choose to use paid channels (i.e. Google Ads. Facebook Ads. LinkedIn Ads). Learning is free! You should budget no less than $1,000 for learning. If you are successful, you can offset the ad costs by selling on your website.
Here are some tips to help you market your website.
- To ask questions and share ideas, join a network.
- LinkedIn: Post about your work
- You can use YouTube and Google to find the answers to nearly any question
- Take notes about what worked and what didn’t, and what lessons you have learned.
Getting marketing certified
These industry-recognized certifications can make your resume stand out and will also ensure that you are proficient in the channel. You will need to go through extensive online learning materials, and then take (and pass!) an online exam.
The most recognized certifications are
- Facebook Blueprint Certification
- Google Ads Search Certificate (formerly Google Adwords).
- Google Analytics Certification
- Hubspot Academy Certificates
Although your resume may be brief as a digital marketer newbie, employers will appreciate a certification.
- Your digital marketing speciality is already more well-known than 99 per cent of applicants.
- To gain valuable skills, you must take initiative
- Self-teaching is possible
- You’re not just looking for work, but you’re also starting a career as a digital marketer.
- Agency Certification can be achieved by you.
Are you still convinced? Go get your certification!
Create your marketing network
Did you know that your network is your net worth?
It’s more than what you know; it’s also who you know.
Make a professional LinkedIn profile. This means a professional-looking headshot, complete bio, and adding any certifications.
People will check your LinkedIn profile before you apply for jobs or ask for network connections. Make sure your profile is complete.
Get in touch with friends and people who might be able to help you. You can like, share, comment, and engage with the posts. You can share industry-specific blog posts and updates on your side-hustle. Marketing strategies, industry news and other updates that demonstrate your passion for the field. You can also add me to your connection list!
Tell people about your career plans
Tell family and friends that you are considering a career as a digital marketer. Inform them about the study you have done and the certifications you have.
Let them know that you are looking for an internship, and if they know of anyone who is hiring, tell them.
Make a resume employers love
In my 16-year career, I have reviewed over 1,000 resumes and can say that 90% are a mess.
Let me tell you first what an employer wants and then I’ll show you how to create a resume that gets called back.
What employers are looking for:
- Relevance is the most important. You should have PPC on your resume if they want to hire a PPC Intern. Get it? They can potentially hundreds of resumes to find relevant words. You are fortunate to have the skills and certifications necessary to be able to gain relevant skills. Make sure that you highlight this on your resume.
- Achieving greatness and gaining experience quickly is possible for anyone who is ambitious. List all the skills and certifications you have earned to highlight your ambition.
- Purposeful Employers don’t want anyone looking for their first job. We want someone who is launching their digital marketing career, and who wants the specific role they applied. A great cover letter is a great way to help. A cover letter should contain a few paragraphs explaining why you are interested in your job as a digital marketer.
- Professional Employers want someone who is reliable and makes the company stand out in front of clients. Take a headshot showing you professionally dressed and groomed. A well-organized resume is also a good idea.
- Show the stats of your success One example would be: “Grew website traffic to 50% in 30 days using search engine optimization.”
- Typos – Double check your resume, and have someone else or a proofreader look at it. Typos are a sign that you don’t care about detail and are not professional.
- Informal This includes incorrect capitalization, shorthand and the use of & instead “and” in writing.
- Some job postings have received hundreds of applications. Employers don’t want to read a book. They just want to see a summary of your abilities and experiences. Use a bulleted, scannable layout.
- Your resume should not be sent as a PDF. This will ensure that your resume isn’t misformatted when it is opened by the employer.
BONUS: FREE RESUME TEMPLATE
Here’s a template that I created to help you create a great resume.
It’s easy to scan for key information, highlights certifications has quantifiable achievements of your side-hustle website business, and even includes a place for your smiling mug.
Applying and job hunting
It’s great if you were able to network your way to a job. Here are some ways you can land your next or first digital marketing job.
Tip: Make a good impression for only a few positions. Instead of writing a cover letter or tailoring your resume to the job description, focus on making a positive impression.
Apply to Posted Openings
There are hundreds of digital marketing jobs available on sites like Internships.com, Indeed.com, Glassdoor.com, ZipRecruiter.com, and Indeed.com.
You can narrow your search for marketing jobs in your chosen channel because you have chosen to specialize, gained side-hustle experience and obtained certification.
When you search these sites for digital marketing jobs, search the discipline using its multiple terms (i.e. Paid search/PPC/SEM/Facebook Ads/paid digital marketing, SEO/search engines optimization, paid social media marketing/Facebook ads/paid social marketing, and general digital marketing. Filter the years of experience to 1.
You have the option of either remote or in-office jobs depending on what you prefer and how easy it is to access digital marketing jobs.
Apply to Your Dream Company, Even if They Do Not Have a Job Opening.
You can reach out to the company to send your resume if you are unable to get a job posting or if you want to find your dream job but they don’t have the right people to hire you. This was how I got my first job as a digital marketer.
Send your resume, cover letter and a message explaining why you are applying for the job. You might be invited to interview. The most successful companies “always hire” great candidates.
Get started at a digital marketing agency
For a few reasons, digital marketing agencies are the best place for learning:
- They are more likely to hire entry-level positions than internal marketing departments or ad network employees
- You can work with multiple clients and industries
- Your channel may not have only one digital marketer, so it is important to work alongside others with the same role and discipline.
- Agencies employ more advanced strategies and move quicker
My first two jobs were in agencies when I started my career. I was able to draw upon my extensive experience and make use of my network connections throughout my digital career.
How to nail an interview
Here’s how to prepare for an interview
You can feel confident going into your job interview knowing you have completed all of the necessary steps.
However, you still have to impress the interviewer.
These are some things you should do before you interview:
- Do your research on the company and the job. You should read the job description carefully, review their website, look at their social media and even visit their digital marketing channels (especially the one that you are applying for).
- Ask at least five questions about the role. You might also want to ask: Why is this company hiring? What is the ideal candidate? What’s the daily routine for this job? Please explain what the day-to-day is like in this role.
- Learn how to answer the most commonly asked interview questions. Tell me about yourself. What are your reasons for choosing a career as a digital marketer? What are your experiences in PPC/SEO/Social Media Marketing
Basic Interview Etiquette:
- Look professional (even for a Zoom interview). This means that you should wear a suit or dress with styled hair.
- Your Zoom setting. This means that you need a quiet, well-lit space. Before you meet, make sure your headset is on and that everything works.
- Always be on time. To be safe, even if you arrive a little early
- Let the interviewer guide. You should allow them to ask the questions. Give concise and clear answers. You can ask them questions at the beginning of the meeting or later.
- Tell them about your website, the training program you took, other resources you have studied, and the certification that you received.
- Be Specific. You should have looked at their website and digital marketing. Now you can share your ideas with them.
- Be proactive. Don’t just do the task. Try to figure out the best way. If you are asked to create a report, consider automating it, adding notes about trends, or including more useful sections.
- Request more. You can move up in your digital marketing career by learning more and taking on more responsibilities. You can make a greater contribution by looking for ways to do so.
- Build relationships. You can network with clients, vendors, and coworkers. You can learn from them and also be a great resource for them. You can add them to LinkedIn, invite them for lunch or coffee, and refer them where possible.
- Keep learning always. You don’t have to stop learning just because you land your first gig. The best digital marketers are constantly improving their marketing skills and gaining experience.
We covered quite a bit, weren’t we?
This guide will be a great help to you. It will also give you the same advice that I used when I started out. These steps will make you far more successful than 99% of applicants and help you become a better digital marketer.
Imagine how far ahead you’ll be of the rest before you even get your first job in digital marketing.
You can use the digital marketing skills you learn to grow your career, whether you want to become a manager of digital marketing, run your own agency, manage marketing for a company or start your own business.