Proven tips to stand out as a Digital Marketer in this fast-growing field

Demand for digital marketers has nearly doubled since 2012. Companies of all sizes need people with social media, SEO, or email marketing skills to attract and retain new customers.

So how do you become a digital marketer? Whether you like conducting research, developing creative campaigns, writing copy, or investigating analytics, there’s likely a digital marketer role for you. Here are a few key steps you can take to make yourself a competitive applicant.

Table of Contents

Hone and highlight your Digital Marketing skills

Build a Digital Marketing portfolio

Explore Digital Marketing freelance work

Find a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship

Submit your resume to a creative agency

Set up job alerts

Prep for your interview

Get ready for trial tasks

Negotiate your salary

Hone and highlight your Digital Marketing skills

Today’s digital marketers need to be well-versed in both the foundations and strategy of marketing and the latest technologies and platforms. Once you’ve taken the Facebook Digital Marketing Certificate, brush up on tools like Google Analytics, Hubspot, Google Ads, and Facebook Ads. Then, consider passing their certification exams so you can add them to your LinkedIn profile.

It also helps to stay up to date with trends in the marketing field by reading publications like AdWeek, The Next Web, Digiday,  and PR Week.

However, don’t worry if you haven’t mastered every new tool and trend. Part of being effective in digital marketing is showing that you can learn quickly on the job. Even if you master Facebook Ads Manager today, the product will likely have evolved by next year. Demonstrating that you know how to keep pace with trends, teach yourself, and master new technologies can sometimes be even more important than demonstrating you have 100% mastery of all current platforms.

Build your Digital Marketing portfolio.

Prospective employers are often eager to see evidence of the marketing campaigns you have successfully executed in past roles. They particularly like portfolios that tell an “end-to-end” story of the projects you launched. Use tools like Squarespace, Wix, Crevado, CarbonMade, or PortfolioBox to create an online gallery of your work.

In addition to putting together a visually compelling portfolio, you should include short descriptions that highlight things like:

  • What were the goals of your campaign?
  • What marketing assets did you develop? Include a short rationale for why you chose to use things like video, certain visuals, or specific banner images.
  • What channels did you use? Why?
  • What results did you achieve? What was the overall business impact?

Reviewing your portfolio can also be a great way to prepare for interviews. It will give you a stockpile of relevant projects and examples you can draw upon when answering questions. Looking for some inspiration? Here are strong examples of portfolios from Pathstream students and digital marketers Dorian Block and Xena Nguyen. We also like this portfolio from copywriter Gari Cruze and designer Adhemas Batista.

You can find 11 more compelling sample portfolios here.

Explore Digital Marketing freelance work.

While you look for a full-time job, consider pursuing freelance marketing work to gain experience and build your portfolio. You might even realize you can build your own client base and start your own independent marketing business! To begin, check out Fiverr’s free course on Online Freelancing Essentials to gain some tips on establishing your profile.

Then, consider looking for marketing gigs on sites including UpWork, Fiverr, Toptal, Behance, and 99Designs. Micro-internships or short-term projects specifically geared towards students on Parker Dewey can be found. Once you complete these projects, add them to your portfolio, LinkedIn profile, and resume to highlight the relevant skills you’ve gained.

You can also find more advice on starting your freelancing career in our guide: How to build a Digital Marketing Freelance Career. 

Find a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship.

Are you looking for additional mentorship in the marketing field? An apprenticeship is a structured on-the-job learning program that can help you do real work as a digital marketer while continuing to learn. Acadium offers fully online apprenticeships. While these are not paid opportunities, you get paired with a small business and gain 1:1 mentorship from a more experienced marketer or entrepreneur. At the same time, you execute digital marketing projects you can add to your portfolio.

Digital Creative Institute in Texas offers a Department of Labor-registered apprenticeship in digital marketing. You’ll join a cohort of 10 other apprentices for structured learning and placement with a local business. Learn more and apply here.

digital marketing apprencticeship

Submit your resume to a creative agency.

Staffing and creative agencies often source candidates for contract marketing work and permanent digital marketer positions. Create a profile with these agencies so they can refer you if they have a client searching for your skillset. Remember that many agencies will often take a percentage of your salary in exchange for making the match, but this can often be worthwhile if it helps you get in the door. Agencies specializing in digital marketing positions include Artisan Talent, Mondo, Marketpro, Sparks Group, iCreatives, and The Creative Group.

Set up alerts for entry-level Digital Marketing roles and perfect your resume.

Ready to start applying for entry-level marketing jobs? Set up alerts on job boards, including Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Wayup, Handshake, and Mathison, so you get an email when new opportunities that meet your criteria are posted. Additionally, identify a shortlist of 5–10 companies in your target market that you would love to work for. Regularly monitor their job boards to see when they post new marketing roles. Ideally, set up informational interviews or coffee chats proactively with people who currently work there so you can build relationships before applying. You can find these individuals on LinkedIn (make sure to set up a profile if you haven’t already!) and identify relevant contacts using these tips. Don’t be afraid to reach out to members of your extended network and ask them for introductions.

When you see opportunities that align with what you’re looking for, read the digital marketer job posting carefully and then build a resume highlighting relevant experience aligned with the job requirements. Use sites like JobScan to see how closely your resume matches the job description. Don’t forget to include a “skills” section on your resume that highlights your specific digital marketing competencies and the tools/technologies you have mastered. These will likely be filtered for by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), so it can be helpful to make sure you have highlighted relevant keywords. Get a headstart on this process by using tools like the Emsi Skills Extractor, which allows you to copy and paste the text from your resume and then extract relevant skills keywords to highlight.

Finally, have someone proofread and provide feedback on your resume and cover letter! Digital marketing requires attention to detail, so make sure your application materials embody the care and attention needed to do the job well.

Prepare for your Digital Marketing interview.

You’ve applied for the job and are lucky enough to be called back for an interview. Congratulations! If you’ve made it to this phase, your application and skills stood out, and the company is interested in learning more about you.

The first step is frequently a phone screen, which is usually a 30–40 minute preliminary conversation with the recruiter or hiring manager to get a sense of your background and potential fit for the role. Research the company to understand key facts about their business and who works there. Particularly for marketing roles, you should check out the company’s existing social media and marketing campaigns. Subscribe to their newsletter, blog, or podcast if you can.

It can also be helpful to search the “news” tab on Google to find any recent press mentions about the company so you can see what might be top-of-mind for people that work there. It also often helps to search for the company’s or CEO’s name on Google, YouTube, and in a podcast app to find any recent interviews that company leaders have conducted. Listening to these can give you the more insight into how the business thinks and what they are currently working on.

Finally, make sure you have re-read the job description. Think about how you could highlight your past experience and tell the story of why you want this job in around 2–3 minutes. Think through your recent professional experience and develop specific stories and examples of when you have performed similar responsibilities. You can find some sample digital marketing interview questions here. Don’t be afraid to have a friend or relative practice running you through some of them so that you practice answering in succinct but detailed ways. You can also use a tool like Talk Hiring to record your answers and get instant feedback. Practice makes perfect!

digital marketing interview

Get ready for trial tasks.

Many companies will require applicants to complete a “trial task” when they apply for a digital marketing role. These are usually take-home assignments that you will have anywhere from 24 hours to 1 week to complete to show how you would approach tasks similar to ones you would have to do on the job. In some cases, companies will pay you a small amount to complete these projects; in other cases, compensation might not be offered but they should impose a clear time limit and make it clear that your work will not be reused. You can read more about these trial projects here, here and here to gain more background on how to approach these.

For digital marketers specifically, a trial task will often consist of asking the candidate to (a) propose how they would approach the development of a campaign for a specific purpose or (b) examine the current campaign/social media/email marketing of a company and propose ways to make them better.

To get ready for these, it can be helpful to always take a look at the current marketing efforts of the company you are interviewing — and take a look at their competitors. Additionally, you can b begin to stockpile examples of marketing campaigns you admire from other companies. Building a repository of sample marketing assets can give you a rich source of material to draw from when you are trying to complete these tasks and come up with ideas. Finally, although you should complete the task independently, it can often be helpful to ask someone else to proofread your work before you submit just to make sure you caught any grammatical errors or other small things that might detract from your submission.

Negotiate your salary.

Congratulations! You’ve received an offer (or at least reached the point in the interview where they ask you about salary expectations). How should you respond?

Nationally, entry-level digital marketing jobs pay about $45k, but that can jump to $75k or higher once you have five years of relevant experience. Use tools like Burning Glass and GlassDoor to find salary information for your local market so you gain a sense of the potential range. You can also use this helpful article to find projections for specific types of marketing roles. Generally, the more technical skills you have and the more management responsibility you take, your salary can grow. Approach an interview process armed with a sense of your target salary, based on your own budget and needs, but be willing to be flexible if this is your first job in the marketing field. Sometimes you may need to temporarily take a pay cut if you are switching into a totally new career area, but, in the long run, digital marketing is a growing field and you should be able to keep progressively earning more as you master new skills and stick with it. Review this article from the Harvard Business Review for some helpful tips on how to negotiate your final offer.

Ready to start your career as a Digital Marketer?

Sign up for The Facebook Digital Marketing Program offered through Pathstream.

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