Learning to juggle. Speaking a foreign language. Running a marathon. All of these things are likely easier than changing your career.
That is especially true in digital marketing, where aspiring marketing start-ups must hit the equivalent of a moving target because the industry changes so quickly.
Nevertheless, you can get ahead if you look beyond the classroom. Get into the stream relatively easy with the help of our blueprint.
There is a number of things you can set up before you start your career transition. Acquiring a digital marketing certification will no doubt set you apart; however, there are 9 simple things to adjust in your life in order to jump start your digital marketing career.
1. Show, don’t tell.
Before you decide on applying for a new digital marketing role, think about how you could stand out by showing off your expertise in a cutting through the noise kind of way.
Surely, having your degree handy is undoubtedly useful. However, what works even better is showing your new skills in action. Let us explain!
Personal websites are a fantastic way to prove that you know essential digital marketing concepts.
If you want to showcase your analytical thinking skills, you should create a unique Google Analytics goal that you can discuss in a cover letter to prospective employers.
Obsessed with everything social? Create a Facebook page and treat it as your business project; growing a following and sharing awesome content. Include your results report in your conversation with a potential employer, and demonstrate key areas of success.
Applying the skills you’ve learnt during a digital marketing course can really enhance your persona, making up for the gaps in your resume.
“Every experience in your life is being orchestrated to teach you something you need to know to move forward.” – Brian Tracy
2. Read what experts write.
Research and find the best authors and experts in your desired niche and stay on top of everything digital. Subscribe for a number of well-known experts’ newsletters, visit popular blogs and keep an eye on news.
Nowadays, it is almost a must to keep on top of industry news by following major digital marketing sites and influential people on social media. Many organisations often require their applicants to showcase their social following or talk about favorite experts or comments on recent industry updates. Knowing your industry is almost as important as knowing digital marketing techniques.
“In many cases, how you sell is more important than what you sell,” – Brian Clark, Copyblogger
Because of the nature of the Internet, digital marketing is ever-changing. If you don’t keep up with the latest trends and news, it shows in interviews and on the job.
3. Nurture your personal online presence.
Although your friends probably say, “I only use Facebook for my personal stuff”, nothing is personal online anymore.
Once you started applying for digital marketing positions, rest assured that your potential employers will be researching your name online. Make sure it is looking good.
In order to make your career transition to a digital marketer easier, you will need to clean up your digital footprint. It is not uncommon for people to get fired over an angry tweet or an inappropriate image.
“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” – Benjamin Franklin
A person’s online presence can be a major deciding factor on whether an aspiring digital marketer makes the cut for a job. When deciding between two candidates it relatively common to go with the person with a stronger following online.
In other words, you have to show you can build your personal brand if you’re going to build someone else’s; it’s as simple as that.
4. Be active online.
Making sure none of your social media accounts have drunken nights’ pictures is a job half done. Next step is being intellectually active online.
In order to help you transition to a digital marketer you need to be social media savvy and active. Share your insights on your current reads, post links to interesting articles and smart infographics. Only share the content you would be happy to have appeared on the front pages of a national newspaper.
However, don’t lose your personality – if you are born to stand out, don’t try and fit it; be original and authentic. Let your curiosity drive you. In a business where answers and solutions aren’t always obvious, you need to be innately curious (about everything) and obsessed with the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’.
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” – Bruce Lee
5. Attend industry events.
One of the best ways to set yourself up for a great digital marketing start is networking.
Get out and meet people, not just online, but in person. Many starting marketers bypassed a lengthy candidates sourcing process with the help of meeting the right people in the right time. For example our friends at AIMIA, the digital industry association of Australia, are organizing regular events which you can attend and where you can meet and network with other digital marketing professionals.
You will need to get into a habit of surrounding yourself with people more talented than yourself. When attending industry meetups and conferences make sure you connect with other digital marketers, business owners and personal assistants.
Expanding your digital marketing connections is priceless. The people you meet will be your ongoing support network when you run into problems and dilemmas, as well as help to open doors to opportunities you might not have otherwise found. And, once you have landed on your dream job, you will be able to excel in your career with the help of your own network.
“Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.” – Paul Ryan
6. Learn some web dev.
Although content marketing might have been your favorite unit, getting a little more tech savvy will definitely place you ahead of many other starting up marketers.
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” – Richard Branson
A marketer who can communicate with the IT/Dev team, speak the same language and understand limitations is essential. Digital marketing can often be perceived to be quite glamorous, but truth be told it’s often more technical and data driven than many would care to admit.
Although 21st century marketers are highly encouraged to master copywriting, SEO, analytics, social media and other aspects of digital marketing, make sure you can pinpoint your particular talent or specialisation.
Roles like AdWords Manager, PPC lead generator, inbound manager, social media executive and content manager, are all considered digital marketing roles. Although you are encouraged to expand your knowledge across the entire space, make sure you can really narrow down to one.
We encourage you to have a go at everything and test your skills and passion; however, find out what areas of digital you’re best at and that you have a passion for, and focus on that (Check these 7 Skills Which Will Open The Door to Your Career in Digital Marketing)
“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want.” – Paulo Coelho
8. Be unique. Show your initiative.
Alongside your analytical thinking and strategic approach, the digital marketing field requires a good dosage of creativity and you can start to develop it right now and here are few ideas.
How about Valentine’s Day business cards hand delivered to your dream boss? Sound crazy? A starting up digital marketing strategist, Kim Huynh, drew a mini-her for an interactive Flash game, ‘Could Kim Be The One?’ she designed to showcase her skills, leaving many Melbourne professionals speechless. This daring project landed Kim on 5 out of 9 interviews with digital marketing agencies and 7 more meetings with other interested onlookers.
Creating something outside of the ordinary, shows your eagerness as well as an ability to think outside the box. Who doesn’t love that?!
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou
9. Talk the talk.
Digital marketing lingo is crucial to understand and apply appropriately, because marketers are extremely accustomed to using it. Digital marketers need to be comfortable with acronyms such as PPC, SEM and SEO.
Mastering marketing terminology and metrics, and knowing what they mean can take time and practice. The ability to analyse digital marketing campaigns and understand what worked and what didn’t will depend on your ability to understand industry jargon.
Although language can assist you in landing your digital marketing dream job, avoid overdoing it. It’s better to be simple and clear, rather than misunderstood.
A few final words…
As the digital marketing industry matures, recruiters are becoming savvier about what differentiates a candidate that can talk the talk, and a candidate that can be a costly mistake for the company.
Moreover, transparency is important. It is important to be a good person in the real world as it will translate into the digital world. You simple cannot fake being a good person, an excellent expert or an eager learner. However, you can definitely be one, if digital marketing is your cup of tea!
“Never say anything about yourself you do not want to come true.” – Brian Tracy