Over the past few months I’ve been helping a few construction and non-construction clients find their next Digital Marketing person. I’ve been helping them vet CV’s and conduct interviews, advised on questions they should be asking and what tasks they could and should be giving applicants.
I’ve been a little bit disappointed to be honest (finding balance between academics and real life experience) and so I’ve decided to write some tips to help those looking for a role in digital marketing get that job and what employers will be looking for.
1. No experience? Build something – anything!
It costs zilch to set up a blog. And a few quid for a website. Just a few minutes of your time, that’s all.
Go to wordpress.com and sign up and build something. Make something. Write something. Anything. Anything you’re passionate about.
Just by setting up a blog it will automatically put you miles ahead of those who haven’t – and trust me, it will put you way ahead of those who have all the academics without experience.
Want experience? Start a blog. Write 5 blog posts.
I received half a dozen CV’s a few weeks back for a construction client asking me for opinions.
Only one applicant had a blog. It was bad.
She shown initiative by setting something up. Building something. Going through the process and learning about URL’s, permalinks, widgets and plugins.
This put her in the front seat. Automatically.
Seriously, there are some marketers out there who have no idea what a WordPress plugin is and yet they carry the job title “Digital Marketing Manager”.
She had a degree, no work experience but she’s been through the process of setting up something up herself. Massively valuable.
Another scenario? No degree, dropped out of college but built two websites. One of which failed. Again, massively ahead.
If you can build something then have a go at marketing it. Tweet your posts, put them into your LinkedIn profile, post the images onto Pinterest.
If you can show you can also market it then expect a job offer very quickly.
2. Read Things
“So what blogs do you read?” is a question one employer asked a candidate.
The candidate hesitated. “Erm…..”
If you’re serious about getting into digital marketing then be pro-active and find out where other digital marketing people go to learn about stuff.
Go read 5 digital marketing blogs. I could give you 5 right here but you know what? Go find them yourself.
Or find 5 blogs in an area which interests you and remember them and tell the interviewee why you like reading those blogs. The company you end up working for will want to do the same thing – keep their readers coming back for more.
One candidate mentioned “I read Mobile Money Matters because I think mobile money is the future”.
BOSH! “When can you start?”.
Read some books. Any books. Preferably marketing books though. If you’re applying for an SEO role or Content role then pick a book closest to your specialism.
3. Buy Something on the Internet and Note the Experience
Employers will ask “Tell me about the website you last bought something from”.
Be ready to tell a story or provide the interviewee with your experience of surfing the web and buying something.
Examples might be:
“It took me 2 or 3 searches before I found what I wanted”
“The website didn’t inspire”
“The website looks amateurish”
“It was easy to buy”
“It didn’t take long at all”
“It took too long to find and buy something”
“Some of the pages kept taking too long to load”
“The images were too small”
“I loved the live chat service”
Whatever you do…don’t say or mention Amazon.
Everybody says Amazon.
And you know what happens when everybody says Amazon? You become a “me-too” and employers will find it difficult remembering you.
There was one candidate who gave a superb answer which made me go home and check it out for myself. This is what you need to do at your next interview. Give the interviewer something to check out after your interview.
4. Have an Online footprint – a Professional One
If you’re applying for a role as an Online Content person then have a blog or an article published somewhere – doesn’t matter where.
If you’re applying for a Social Media role then have a professional Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook page and mention it in your CV. Employers needs to see that you can use these platforms.
You want to show employers what you’ve done and do and love – kinda ties in with point number 1.
One candidate applied for a social media role and put her twitter handle on her CV so I went and checked it out.
5 tweets dating back 9 months and following 5 accounts. How does this give employers any confidence in you managing the company social media profiles when you can’t manage your own?
Remember, you are the product when you go for an interview. You.
Be passionate about the internet.
5. Ask Your Recruitment Consultant to see Your CV Before It’s Sent
You spend ages formatting your CV and personalising it. This is great!
You then send it to a Recruitment Consultant.
The Recruitment Consultant then takes away all the formatting (basically takes away your personality and turns you into a faceless robot).
The Recruitment Consultant then send the employer your CV with another 5 or 6 CV’s.
They all look the frickin same.
They are all structured in the same frickin way!!
My advice to you is to ensure your formatting is kept before the Consultant sends the CV. Ask the Consultant to see the CV before he or she sends it.
If you’re applying for an Online Content Marketing role then how you format your own CV is very very important. Employers want to see what your idea of ‘well presented information’ looks like.
Don’t let someone else take that away from you and make you into a “me-too” product.
Summarising these tips
Nobody studied Digital Marketing at University. Even if you did a diploma in Digital Marketing then by the time you finished it and got your certificate, the rules changed. It’s constantly changing.
Having gone through the process of building something, creating something and then marketing it is priceless.
Even if it failed – you have that advantage over others in knowing what failure looks like.
It’s also nice to have a degree.
But it’s nicer to have a degree, no work experience and a personal blog with 20 posts.
It’s even nicer to have a degree, no work experience, a personal blog/website and be on page 1 of Google for whatever your subject/topic of interest.
So before you apply for your next job, go build something. A simple blog will do for now and write 2 or 3 posts which interest you.
Then add the link to your CV.
And then buy something off the internet (not Amazon) and note the experience. Heck, blog about it on the blog you just created.
Hope these tips were useful and help you work your way into Digital Marketing.
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