What Does It Take To Start A Career In Digital Marketing?

19 July, 2018

A career in digital marketing can be challenging and fulfilling; with no one day ever the same. But what does it take to get started? What can you do at school, college or university to improve employability?

To help answer those questions - and to offer insight into what a career in digital marketing is like - our team at Evoluted have shared their thoughts. Check out our new video below:

How to Get Into Digital Marketing & Become Successful - 11 Career Tips

  1. Start a blog or a website to help hone your skills
  2. Secure at least one work experience placement
  3. Expose yourself to high levels of spend and responsibility
  4. Research how to apply the skills you’ve developed in education and work
  5. Develop knowledge around as many marketing disciplines as possible
  6. Develop your communication skills
  7. If possible, teach yourself some entry-level coding knowledge
  8. Educate yourself around the importance of reporting
  9. Develop your technical knowledge, even if you want a creative role
  10. Read as many blogs as possible
  11. Research the companies you want to apply to
  12. Create a social media profile for use commenting and contributing to the industry

Getting Into Digital Marketing

Neil: I had a keen interest in marketing from a young age, which was sparked by sport sponsorship deals. This led me to study business at GSCE and A-Level - and then a Business and Marketing degree at university.
Sean: I knew from a young age writing was where my best skills were, which ultimately led me to a Journalism degree in Newcastle. Close to graduating, I then spent considerable time researching where I could best put my degree to use.
Tom: My marketing career started at a Sheffield-based fintech start-up, directly after finishing university. I was drawn to marketing by advice from my Dad. He worked as a Marketing Director for many years and helped me understand why my skills were perfectly suited to the industry.

Becoming Employable

Neil: If you want to go down the traditional route, a marketing career is a good way to go; however, I’d strongly recommend starting a blog or a website to start figuring things out for yourself.
Tom: Expose yourself to high levels of spend and responsibility. It’s hard work but it makes a massive difference. Get involved in as many relevant disciplines as you can; as a sound understand of the various areas of digital marketing will help you to stand out.

Skills Developed In Education That Helped Us Excel

Sean: I was able to hone my writing skills during education; whilst developing technical skills such as those I learned during radio production work at university. The latter enabled me to take easily to new technologies, which is a key part of SEO and wider digital work.
Jo: Communication skills - both verbal and written - have been vital. They’ve helped me to write clear yet persuasive and engaging content. Even if your job isn’t solely copywriting-based, it’s often incorporated into a role and English skills have been very useful.

Digital Marketing Career Tips - Common Queries

Query

Advice

Do I need a degree?

No, a degree is not essential to start a career in digital marketing. You just need to showcase other evidence of your skills, such as work experience or time spend running a website. We have staff with and without degrees on the Evoluted marketing team.

Do I need to be a strong communicator?

It will certainly help your cause, both at interviews and once you start your first role. Most marketing positions will require plenty of internal interaction, as well as the building of relationships with stakeholders. If you don’t feel confident in your communication skills, a work placement can really help.

Do I need to love data?

A strong understanding of data and how you can use it to generate results will help you excel in almost any marketing role. Measuring activity is vital and data is at the heart of this. Naturally, some roles will require more creativity and less work with data and vice-versa.

Are there good career prospects?

Absolutely, if you’re prepared to work hard. Whether you select a career in-house or agency-side, there will be opportunities to progress internally or move to an external role. With digital marketing being such a wide-reaching field, the choice you have in terms of specialising are strong, but be prepared to work across multiple disciples, at least initially.

What should I be doing to test and develop my knowledge?

If you want to give yourself a headstart in the industry - and impress potential employers - setting up a website, blog or side business can be a great way to do this. Even if this doesn’t end up being a roaring success, it shows initiative and it will help you develop your knowledge and test your skills.

Will I need to be able to code?

This will really depend on the role you opt for, but in a lot of cases it won’t be a necessity. If you understand basic code it will help you in lots of roles, particularly SEO and PPC, but most companies will have dedicated development staff to implement the necessary work on your behalf.

Do I have to be a great writer?

Again, this will really depend on the role. If you want to work in copywriting, or certain SEO roles, strong writing skills will be a necessity. Whilst it’s true that writing won’t form the bulk of plenty of digital marketing positions, it will still likely be required in some elements of your role; such as for emailing clients. If you aren’t confident, start a blog and improve.

Getting Started

Neil: Creating your own platform to learn and demonstrate what you can do can be priceless. Whether that’s creating a website, blog or social media accounts, the fastest way to learn is by doing.
Jo: Digital content and social media roles vary vastly from a job in PPC or programmatic display. Have a think about your skill set and what you enjoy doing the most; then research which type of role in digital fits this.
Tom: Make sure you love working data as it should influence most decisions in some shape or form. A reasonable understanding of code is also advantageous

Former Roles

Jo: After spending time working for a large student website, I went on to specialise in PPC at a media agency. My next couple of roles following this were in-house fundraising at national charities. These positions were broad marketing roles with some focus on digital.
Neil: My university course featured a placement role working on the retention of an online organisation’s customers, which was primarily email based. Success in this role enabled me to develop other skills including SEO and PPC. I also run a successful football website and accompanying apps.
Sean: Prior to arriving at Evoluted, I spent a couple of years with a startup digital agency in Sheffield. I was largely thrown in at the deep end, which was great for my development. Going back further, I worked for BBC Radio Newcastle during and after the completion of my degree. This was the best part of university. It was also where I developed the most skills.

Expectations vs Reality

Tom: I expected a lot more meetings about meetings - but I’ve not encountered this so far! I’ve also found teams to be a lot more receptive of alternative ideas.
Jo: It was as fun and creative as I’d hoped. I quickly realised quite how vital reports are to understanding and measuring the value of your work. This is priceless information for improving your campaigns.
Sean: Any expectations I did have have been long surpassed. The work is enjoyable and the career prospects are really positive, so it ticks a lot of boxes.

Looking to Start A Career In Digital Marketing?

If you think you've got what it takes to work for Evoluted, we'd love to hear from you. Check out our latest vacancies!

Written by Sean

As chief crafter of copy, Sean’s flair for writing engaging content continues to prove integral to our internal and client marketing activity. With more than 5 years' digital experience, he joined Evoluted back in 2015. He spends his days managing SEO strategy, producing content and assisting Evoluted’s clients.

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