3 Tips For Career Changers To Kick-Start a Successful Digital Marketing Career

Congrats on making the choice to change your professional direction and start a digital marketing career. You're one of the lucky ones. According to a recent Media Post survey, 38% of companies say that they'll hire new digital marketing staff within the next year, and this number is on the rise. [bctt tweet="38% of companies say they'll hire #marketers within the next year, says @digitalshalonda" username="StartupInst"]

Why? There is no industry left untouched by digital technology. Organizations everywhere are seeking new ways to engage their audiences and learn about users. Digital marketing is, in itself, an industry with techniques that aspiring professionals need to master, execute, and evolve.

Day to day, I work with clients who understand that they need to be online. Most of them are, but they need the right team members to execute their vision—strategists who understand where to apply the right techniques to result in maximum profitability and impact. Firms aren't looking for digital marketing “brainstorming” sessions or “for the next big idea." They're looking to hire. In doing so, they're narrowing the candidate pool by asking the necessary questions: Where do you shine? What additional skills do you have that can help other teams? Can you understand the full scope of a project and fit well into teams? How much responsibility can you handle? And of course, can you help me with what I don’t know?

Often, I find that early-career marketing professionals understand more about the products of companies they would like to work for than the actual day-to-day business of those companies. For example, an early adopter could understand Uber as an on-demand car service, but not as a multi-platform customer service organization that requires a strong, integrated marketing team to successfully execute its online brand. Uber, like many companies whose products are used by millions every day, can seem like a simple tool, but is really a complex organization. Within their marketing department alone there are content management, social media, digital media, paid search, SEO, analytics and various other teams that make the seamless experience come to life every time a user opens up the smartphone app. Finding where your skill set fits into the scenario is key.[bctt tweet="Aspiring #marketers often understand more abt the product than the business— @digitalshalonda" username="StartupInst"]

To effectively kick-start your career in digital marketing, early practitioners need do the following.

3 Tips to Kick-Start Your Digital Marketing Career:

[bctt tweet="3 Tips For Career Changers to Kick-Start a #DigitalMarketing Career, by @digitalsholanda" username="StartupInst"]

1. Know Thyself

Understand what skills you bring to the table or what skills you want to bring. If you have a strong accounting or analytical background and you want to bring it into the digital marketing world, do some research online on transferable skills to learn how to effectively apply this skill to the field. What does a role like this look like? What companies need this?

If you want to move from an accounting background to social media or digital advertising, find out what skills are necessary to make that transfer and brush up on what is happening in that space so you can speak the language of those communities. Digital marketing blogs and websites such as Marketing Profs, Clickz and Digital Marketing Trends offer great insights on trends and conversations in the space. Another good resource are social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Simply search #digitalmarketing or #contentmarketing and review what conversations are happening in real-time and which organizations are saying the most. Be bold, engage in these conversations, and insert yourself in the industry.[bctt tweet="#Careerchangers— Understand what skills you bring to a #marketing team, says @digitalsholanda" username="StartupInst"]

2. Get Your Story Straight

It’s brave to change your story and life path. I spent a decade in policy and government before I began my career in the digital space and I haven’t regretted a single day since. But companies will want to understand how your old and new worlds connect and you will have to get experience. Don’t rule out any levels of the positions available—even something small can help you begin your new journey toward success. Look into personal branding consultants (I recommend Belinda Johnson Bernhard) that help mid and transitioning career professionals focus on how they construct their LinkedIn profiles, résumés, and job searches for their new career. Again, it won't be easy, but there is support out there for you and the world is really yours to make it happen. [bctt tweet="Companies want to know how your old + new #careerpaths relate, says @digitalsholanda" username="StartupInst"]

3. Keep Your Finger On the Pulse

The digital buffet isn’t getting any smaller. New channels are emerging everyday, new technologies, systems, and challenges. If you want to keep up in the industry, you have to keep your ears open to what is happening and stay updated on the latest influencers. Outside of looking at trend reports, you may want to attend industry events and local meetups, and join groups on LinkedIn to better understand the conversations and connect with people in the field. Go beyond simply finding employment—link up with these professionals to learn more about their companies and unlock their networks.[bctt tweet="To keep up w/ the #marketing industry, you have to stay open to new trends, says @digitalsholanda" username="StartupInst"]

Regardless of the agency or business, every organization that wants to be relevant knows that they need digital marketing to make that happen. They're looking for great talent. As companies continue to struggle to keep up with the technological advances of today’s digital world and as talent retention continues to fall, companies need to hire faster, smarter, and more strategically. Why not be ready for the open door?