In Part One of our Digital Careers Special Report, we explored the ways that digital marketing can offer a rewarding, energising and flexible career for women. Part Two takes a closer look at what you can do as you start out, to improve your chances of getting the marketing job of your dreams. Super fast!
Digital Careers 〰️
A digital career is an opportunity to embrace a really exciting industry that offers lots of opportunities for development and progression. If you’re new to your career, there are lots of opportunities for training and up-skilling digitally, but digital marketing particularly is also a career that attracts freelancers and solo-preneurs with skills that the digital sector needs, such as data analysis, project management, graphic design, or copywriting.
Whatever the situation as you start out, it can feel like the whole world is giving advice, and not all of it makes sense or is even relevant right now (hello global pandemic and national shut-down!).
So, to save you the time figuring out what will work for you, what you need to pay attention to and what you need to ignore, one of our Digital Women careers experts has come up with five brilliant things you can do to get started in a digital career and find the job of your dreams. And the really good news is some of them you will probably be doing already.
1 EMBRACE WRITING
Original content is not just for founders and experts with decades of experience. Freelancers in digital marketing benefit hugely from consistent visibility and one of the easiest ways to do this is by writing regular blog updates.
Blogs are also great at reminding you to post to social media, and the visibility you get from writing regularly on both platforms, really helps you build strong relationships, which will also help you to be more discoverable online.
Writing is also a really good way to build confidence in your skills. So even if you’re not sure of your specialism, or you’re still figuring out your own brand of secret sauce – just go for it! Choose your topics, write your words and over time, people will recognise your name or the topics you’re writing about and you will build up your reputation.
The human side of a story is often what resonates most with readers, so wherever you are in your career think about what you would like to share. Career transitions and transformation, starting out, working through a study programme are all really interesting blogs to read. Writing is also a great way to develop the confidence to share your expertise and insights.
Our Digital Women Top Tip: DON’T PANIC! You won’t suddenly be out there in the limelight just because you write a blog. (Sorry!) Your words won’t immediately get read by thousands or even hundreds of people. New blogs rarely get discovered overnight to become viral sensations. But they are a great way to practice and to test the water.
2 SPEEDY SEARCHING
Seriously. Get on top of Search. To find your dream job in digital marketing, first you need to understand how to look for it and what the landscape looks like. In really simple terms, the quicker you can find the types of jobs that are being advertised in the area that you want to be – think skills and location here – the faster you will arrive!
Don’t be shy to ask friends (or search in Google again!) if you come across something that you’re not familiar with.
You might want to consider if you prefer an Agency (Digital or Marketing business working directly with clients) or if you want to be client-side and work for the marketing department of a business.
If you’re really not sure, make this your first search as there are pros and cons to both –.and you really don’t have to work for an Agency to get started in Digital Marketing.
Learn how to use Google (other search engines are available but there are a lot of good reasons to use Google), and play around with keywords and location criteria. As you search, pay attention to the results you are served and start to ‘notice’ what jobs come back to you.
Pay attention to the first story, is it an article or a link to a company? Scroll down and you will notice ‘jobs’ sitting under the ‘Related Search’ sub-heading. And right at the bottom of this first page the related content gets a whole lot more interesting with up to eight grey-shaded lozenges. These are always worth checking out as they identify the other searches that people made while in this topic area.
If this is all daunting and you’re not sure where to start, you’re already in a good place to help you. The Digital Women Community is full of brilliant, bright, collaborative women who are at every stage of the career and employment / employer journey.
Jobs and opportunities do get posted on the forum and Facebook group, and many women within the community are free with advice and feedback – especially to our members who are just starting out.
There are a huge variety of roles. So, consider, what are your strengths, what do you like to do and what kind of digital marketing work are you a natural fit for? Think about whether you prefer more variety, or juggling fewer products or tasks. Do you thrive on discussion and collaboration? And if you prefer to work under your own steam, do you like open-ended projects or access to creative freedom, or do you prefer clear tasks, data and deliverables?
There are jobs for everyone in Digital Marketing, and while your first job is unlikely to truly be the job of your dreams, it will be a starting block that could help shape your future career.
Our Digital Women Top Tip: EMPTY YOUR CACHE! Google likes to be super helpful and remember what you have previously searched for and the pages you’ve previously clicked on. But this isn’t so great for job searching because you need to be viewing content that is as fresh and as relevant as possible, or you risk wasting a lot of time.
3 UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORGANIC AND PAID
You don’t need to pay to share content, but you do need an audience. And that’s why in digital marketing there are two types of content that sit side by side in a strategy: organic and paid. And it really pays off to understand this at the start of a new digital marketing career because the types of work are very different in each area.
Knowing the difference between organic and paid, and being clear about why the benefits, purpose, ROIs (return on investment) and measure are hard to compare is key. Being clear about the differences will also help you decide the type of work you want to do and which area of the business you want to work in.
The marketing careers landscape has shifted in recent years and Facebook is a really good example. It is no longer enough to call yourself a Facebook Marketer for example, because of the rate at which Facebook has experienced change. So, if this is the space you want to be in, you need to drill deeper and define your role or career aspirations in more detail. Are you a content marketer that specialises in organic Facebook campaigns? Or are you a Paid Media specialist or Facebook Ads specialist in the making?
Both are part of the customer journey: you can send customers to specific pages via paid ads but you’ll need organic content to help them progress through the funnel. And the careers within Paid and Organic content are very different – just look at the difference between the social media of Aggie Meroni, Facebook Ads ninja, and Rachel Hammond, storytelling and (organic) content specialist.
4 DOING IT BEATS THINKING IT – EVERY TIME!
What have you put off doing today? Seriously! Are you even sitting here reading this article when you know, deep down, that you should be spending more time on a job search, writing your blog or heading out to a networking event?
Procrastination and how to manage it is a whole new blog post…but we need to fill your cup with some #JFDI energy here, don’t we! There are many productivity tools and hacks to help you, and I’m a fan of Agile tools like Trello, Miro, and the Pomodoro Technique. Pomodoro is a great tool to just get started because a whole day working on one task can make us feel daunted before we even start. So very often we don’t. But just setting out to spend 20 minutes on one thing is often a positive way to start the day. And if you find you want to continue after 20 minutes – that’s cool. Stay in flow until you’re ready to break, and then when you’ve taken your short break set the timer for 20 minutes on another task.
Perfect is the enemy of good and so often prevents us from starting something. But unless we start…we can’t write a draft, polish it, refine it and get it as close to damn near perfect as we want. Just get something out there into Draft One – even if it is a CV or a cover letter. Everything can all be improved and even if you take eight hours on your CV and think it’s perfect, when you look at it the next day you will find something you want to change.
Nothing is perfect from the get-go, it’s why newspapers and magazines have editors and proofreaders, because even the most gifted writers need a spellcheck. So, let’s get started and set out to complete a draft, not the perfect version of our CV or letter of introduction.
Trello and Miro are great tools for sorting through brain clutter, task lists or office admin. If you work better with a mind map, try Miro, and if you’re a list person – start with Miro. But whatever you do – make a start and make it your mission to #JFDI and start something every day.
5 YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING TO GET THE JOB
Yes, you heard that right! Of course you need to know something and meet the basic requirements when you respond to a lead or an ad. But please, don’t think that because you miss one or two things on a list that you can’t apply for the job that caught your eye.
Recruiters rarely expect candidates to have 100% of the skillset, qualifications and experience that is listed in a job spec. The specs are written to act like a drag net, to take a broad pool of candidates and then once the applications are in the refinement begins. Remember also your soft skills, jobs don’t always call for empathy, agility, active listening or a growth mindset. But these are all soft skills that are incredibly valuable to anyone pursuing a digital career.
You probably have attributes that the recruiter never considered. And if you are at the start of your career or actively looking for personal development, taking a job that you don’t meet 100% of the requirements for meets your personal criteria perfectly. The job will enable you to learn new skills and competencies that you’ve not used before and learning a new technology is a great way to stay on top of best practice so your employer will benefit from your training, too.
Many people have successful careers in digital marketing and find the job of their dreams simply by getting started. You can learn things to get you close to a new career and there are many ways you can do this. There are tools, resources and courses out there. And if you’re a Digital Women member you will have access to many events and opportunities to extend your skills.
There are many ways you can get started and only a few of them are the traditional study-then-work route to employment. But the most important thing when you are starting out is your ambition. If you have passion for the career you want to have, you will make it your mission to get searching, and find the job you love.