So, you want to become a digital marketer…
You ask yourself: Where should I start? What experience and skill sets will I need to have? What level of Education will I need? How can I get my foot in the door? How does personality come into play?
The career path and journey will be different for each aspiring Digital Marketer and vary based on what you are looking to do with your professional life. In this post, I will discuss what I look for in hiring people to our digital marketing team, which will include some advice you should consider as you start building your portfolio and applying for jobs. Here at Ironistic, we place a very high value on who we choose to hire to join our team. After all, the company as a whole is only as strong as the sum of its parts.
Where Should I Start?
If you’re looking for a job in the digital marketing industry, you will find a vast amount of opportunities within the industry – all with differences in roles and necessary capabilities. We actually classify our digital marketing positions as “Digital Strategists” since we do far more than your average digital marketing agency. You should first think about your strengths and what you enjoy doing. Spend time researching open positions and make sure you do plenty of research on the company itself to make sure you would be a good fit for the company and vice versa. There are plenty of companies out there that will hire for very specific and defined roles such as Email Marketing Manager, Social Media Manager, AdWords Expert, Content Writer, and beyond. These types of roles will typically be found for individual corporations looking to divide the marketing workload among individuals with focused skill sets.
Then you have marketing agencies like Ironistic that offer a wide range of services for a variety of clients. We work with companies of all sizes and industries. Each client gets a dedicated Digital Strategist to lead the efforts for that client. In a company such as ours, you will need to be agile and able to perform a wide variety of tasks and continuously adapt to new technologies and digital marketing tactics. Other agencies you may find could still have more clearly defined roles as well.
The key here is figuring out which direction is best for you personally. For me, I love that I can start work each day and be presented with news challenges and tasks that may be completely different than what I worked on the day before. For us, it is all about understanding the industry as a whole and knowing what is best for each client in order to help them reach their over-arching goals.
No matter what direction you choose to take, my number one recommendation is to start getting as much hands-on experience as you can. Build your own website. Help your Aunt Betty with her local flower shop. Talk to your favorite charity or church and offer to run some campaigns for them. Whatever it is, just do it!
What Experience and Skill Sets Will I Need To Have?
Again, this will vary based on the position you are after. Review the job position and decide if the experience you have aligns with what the employer is looking for. For the more defined roles I mentioned earlier, you may need to have a ton of experience in one particular area. For more of a management/strategist level position, you should be at least somewhat familiar with a wide range of digital marketing tactics from Email Marketing, Content Marketing, Social Media, Website Management, and beyond. Companies will look at the full package of your experience along with other factors such as your level of education and personality to make their final decision. Having the right experience under your belt will go a long way in that deciding factor. Companies will also train you on their methods once you get the job, so don’t be afraid to admit you haven’t worked with a certain program or campaign. The worst thing you can do is say you have plenty of experience in something, get hired, and then the company realizes you were just telling them what they wanted to hear. Not the best foot to put forward when starting at a new company. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses.
Some recommended experience and skill sets for a digital strategist position includes:
- Experience working within CMS (Content Management System)
- Experience working with various Social Media platforms and/or tools such as Hootsuite
- Experience working with paid advertising platforms such as AdWords
- Experience with broadcast Email marketing systems such as Constant Contact, MailChimp, Emma, etc.
- Content strategy skills
- Proficient writing skills
- Strong communication and organization skills
- Team leadership skills
- The more experience and skills you have the better!
What level of Education will I need?
Once again, this will depend on the position, but I would say at least a Bachelor’s would be preferred. The major can play an influence in an employer’s decision, but the fact that you spent the time and effort to get your degree along with the experience you have received outside of traditional schooling and your work ethic goes further (at least in my opinion) than the specific degree you received. That’s not to say if you chose to bypass the college route that you will not have a chance in the digital marketing field. You can certainly put the time and effort into building your experience from the ground up, but there are some companies out there that make a college degree a requirement.
How can I get my foot in the door?
You know the old saying, “it’s all about who you know”… Well, that can definitely play a big part in your professional success. It is never too early (or too late) to start networking. LinkedIn is a great place to find other professionals and companies in the industry to engage with online. Professionals in digital marketing often share helpful educational resources as well as share open positions at their companies. Always keep your eyes and ears open for an opportunity that you can seize. You can also try old-school networking by going to in-person networking events or professional meetup groups. In person! What the heck is that? I know, crazy right… Don’t stay cooped up inside behind your computer all day waiting for something to fall into your lap. Get out there and meet people!
How does personality come into play?
Personality is extremely important to me when deciding who I will want to join my team. Among the most important in my opinion have to do with your work ethic, positive energy, and team spirit. Of course, you should always be true to yourself, but understand that there are key personality traits that will be considered based on the job you are required to do. Some companies even go as far as to give you a legit personality test to make sure you will make the right fit for the position. Our digital strategists need to be able to work very well with other people, know how to take direction as well as lead others, be a self-starter, and be able to have fun (yes, working here is actually one of those few amazing companies that want you to enjoy your life and have a good time in the office). In this industry, it is helpful to be outgoing and assertive.
Now get out there, build on some awesome experiences, and find the career of your dreams!