How to get into digital marketing (with little or no experience)

If you’re wondering how to get into digital marketing with no experience, let’s try point you in the right direction. Marketing jobs are competitive but because of businesses’ switch in focus from traditional to a more digital-focused approach, there are plenty of opportunities out there for the right candidates to get their foot in the door and launch their career in digital.

But how do you get that first digital marketing job if you don’t have any experience? Here are five things you should do to help you get started.

1. Learn the basics

You wouldn’t attempt to get onto any career path without knowing the basics and the same applies to digital marketing.

When it comes to interviews, you need to make sure you can understand and answer any questions thrown your way. So, you need to take some time and understand the difference between SEO and SEM, learn what SERP is and get to grips with the latest social media techniques.

It also helps if you research some of the top campaigns from the digital channel you’re most interested in. That way you can see how digital knowledge is executed in real life through campaigns. It will also impress the hiring company or agency if you can discuss the latest Coca-Cola or Nike campaigns, for example.

2. Build a personal brand (and practice said basics)

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that almost every company out there will seek you out across social media and also Google your name if they see your CV and are interested in giving you an interview. Aside from the general making sure there’s not too many rowdy university pictures you’ve been tagged in on Facebook, you also need to work on your personal brand.

Perhaps move away from the ‘I like gin and cake’ Twitter bio and swap to something a little more professional and aspirational: ‘Digital marketer searching for opportunities’ or ‘Social media enthusiast’ etc.

It also helps to use a more professional image as your profile picture and use that across all your public-facing social profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram) and start sharing some content on these channels that are relevant to social media. This could be retweeting the latest Drum articles from time to time, or passing comment on trending hashtags that are digital marketing related.

You should also look at creating your own blog to share ideas and marketing articles, but also promote this blog too through social media, even email marketing.

3. Work for free

Working for free has a lot of stigma attached to it, especially over the last few years, but if you’re looking to get into a career for which you have no experience then you need to start padding out the CV with something a bit more relevant than the year you spent working behind a bar whilst at college.

Offering your services to smaller companies is a great place to start. If there’s a particular independent cafe or bar you often visit, ask them if they’d like some help managing their social media channels or blogs.

Small charities are also keen for voluntary help too and of course you can approach local digital agencies asking to do a few weeks work experience. Make sure you highlight your current skills and share links to your digital assets to help get you through the door!

4. Get the most out of your work experience

If you manage to get a placement at a digital agency, you need to recognise that it’s not how long you were there that matters, it’s what you actually did. Get involved whenever you can, especially on larger campaigns. Recognise every opportunity you have to enhance your CV. Is your line-manager coming up with copy for a mailer for a national retail chain? Offer to write it instead. You can then legitimately say that as part of your placement you worked on that brand’s email marketing campaigns.

The same can be said for if you’re doing some extra work remotely for that local cafe or charity. Everything you publish, share links to on your Twitter and link to from your blog. Your personal brand starts to develop further as a result.

5. Craft the perfect CV and start applying

You’ve done the hard graft so now all that’s left to do is take that experience and put it on paper. Once your CV is ready and boasting all the great experience you’ve acquired, start applying to jobs. Be realistic – a couple of weeks or a few months experience and work experience won’t likely qualify you for a Marketing Manager’s role, but it’ll certainly help you get call-backs for junior and executive roles.

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Being honest as a recruiter in this space we struggle to help candidates with less than 6 months relevant marketing or digital experience, the same as a lot of companies in our industry. If you follow the above advice though, it will give you the best possible chance of getting that first break. Once you have just the first six months digital marketing experience you are off an running and opportunities will hopefully start opening up to you. By all means, at that point get in contact or come and have a chat and will try our best to point you in the right direction to make your next move.

Good luck and Happy hunting!