Looking to break into a field that can put your tech-savvy and marketing skills into action? If so, you may want to consider searching for entry-level digital marketing jobs.
Robert Half’s latest Salary Guide reports that digital marketing skills are among the most in-demand skill sets for marketing and creative professionals this year. Many companies are shifting their marketing priorities to focus more on creating seamless and engaging digital experiences for their customers. As they do, their need for digital marketing talent to help them develop, execute and measure the success of their campaigns rises.
But even in a candidate-friendly market, competition for digital marketing roles, including entry-level positions, can be intense, especially if you’re aiming to work for a well-known agency or brand. The following tips can help you succeed in your pursuit of digital marketing jobs, whether you’re a recent graduate or a professional who wants to pivot to a new career:
Understand the landscape
Digital marketing typically refers to marketing campaigns for products and brands that target audiences via the internet and through digital devices and platforms like smartphones and social media. And there are many paths you can take in the field, from content marketing and web design to search engine optimization (SEO) and email marketing — to name only a few.
So, as a first step toward searching for entry-level digital marketing jobs, you’ll want to research the industry itself to determine what aspects of digital marketing interest you most (if you don’t know already). Also, you should think about whether you would like to work at an agency or as part of a company’s in-house marketing team — or if you would be open to freelance work, remote opportunities or contract engagements. These are all possibilities, and they are all different work experiences.
Be proactive about learning
Once you have a clearer idea of the kinds of entry-level digital marketing jobs you’d like to apply for, you can determine where you may need to amplify your skill set and gain more work experience so you can be a strong contender for these roles.
Reviewing job descriptions of available positions can be valuable for your research. For example, maybe you find an ad for an entry-level web marketing specialist position that interests you. One of the job responsibilities listed is web copywriting. You’re a strong writer, so you feel confident you could impress a hiring manager with your writing samples. But you also see this role requires managing pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. This is experience you don’t have — and an area you only have cursory knowledge of.
You could quickly ramp up on PPC fundamentals through online courses from sites like Udemy and Skillshare. (Note: You may need to pay to subscribe to some of these sites and access their learning.) You can find many courses on digital marketing basics that are free — and short. You might even have the opportunity to earn a certificate for completing a course. Many local colleges also have certification programs that can help you round out your skill set if you don’t have the hands-on experience you need.
So, look around and see what you can find! Also, don’t forget to check out industry webinars, or read blogs or articles by pros who are already working in the digital marketing field. They can offer valuable insight into the business, too.
Seek out real-world experiences
If you know you need to earn more experience before you apply for entry-level digital marketing jobs, consider transitioning into the field through an internship or apprenticeship opportunity. Real-world experience can set you apart when you’re aiming for a foot-in-the-door role in digital marketing.
Look for leads on job boards and through your professional network. Maybe you have a friend who owns a small business, and you could offer them your services for free? If you end up creating a successful Facebook campaign for that business, for example, you could share that achievement with a hiring manager — and it could make all the difference in whether or not you receive a job offer.
Working as a contract professional is another way to gain valuable experience. It also gives you the chance to try out different companies, while they get to know you and evaluate your potential. You’ll also likely meet managers who could hire you for a full-time job or offer a recommendation when you apply for other jobs.
Looking for more insight on how to grow your skills as a digital creative pro? Check out this post by Robert Half’s Greg Detter: “Digital Creatives: 4 Tips for ‘Designing’ Your Career.”
Create a compelling digital portfolio
Yes, even for entry-level digital marketing jobs, most employers will expect candidates to present a digital portfolio. So, you will need to make sure you have one handy, and that you keep it fresh.
If you completed an internship or apprenticeship in digital marketing or a related area, you likely have many work examples to share. Relevant school projects are OK to present, too, if you are especially proud of them — or they are your only samples. Just make sure whatever work you share with a potential employer represents your core strengths, industry experience, technical ability and range.
Through the work examples you present, you should be able to communicate the problem you solved and what the results and/or return on investment were. Hiring managers will want to know this detail. Also, keep in mind that if you worked on a project as part of a team, you can still take credit for and draw attention to your individual contributions.
For more best practices that can help you create a standout digital portfolio, see this post.
And don’t forget about your resume — that needs to make a great impression, too. In this post, get tips from Robert Half’s recruiters on how to make your creative resume stand out.
Consider your digital footprint (and use it to your advantage)
One somewhat ironic mistake many candidates make when they’re on the hunt for entry-level digital marketing jobs is to overlook the status of their own digital footprint. Make sure your social media presence is representative of what you want employers to see. If you have a questionable post or image on Facebook or Instagram, for example, employers might wonder about your judgment.
And, because you want to be a digital marketing pro, investing some time in polishing and promoting your personal brand online can't hurt. This doesn’t mean you need to build a website or start blogging (although you could!). But do make sure the details you share about yourself are consistent across every major social media channel where you maintain a public-facing presence. Use these dynamic channels to showcase your achievements, follow influencers in the field and build your network, comment thoughtfully on relevant topics, and most of all, spotlight your creativity.
Positioning yourself for entry-level digital marketing jobs takes work. But your efforts will be well worth it if you can break into this hot field, which is always changing and presenting new career paths.