By Kate Whitney
If the prospect of searching for a job, interviewing, and negotiating a salary makes you break out in a cold sweat, you’re not alone. We’re barraged with advice on what makes a successful resume, how to write a cover letter, and the importance of building a network and developing an active—but uncontroversial—social media presence. All that noise can make it difficult to identify opportunities and the figure out exactly what makes you appealing to prospective employers.
We caught up with Alexandra Barlowe, a recent graduate of UVM’s Digital Marketing Fundamentals Professional Certificate program and the optional Career Coaching course available to program participants.
A Richmond, Virginia, native and Gettysburg College graduate, Alex studied English writing as an undergraduate and has spent the last three years working in administrative positions for the state and federal government. She also freelance writes on the side, publishing content for travel, lifestyle, and wellness companies.
She recently decided to focus on building her career in freelancing in the corporate sector, but knew she had to build her experience in digital marketing to enhance her expertise. She decided to take Sue Schlom’s Career Coaching course to help her find—and land—her dream job.
What led you to UVM’s Digital Marketing Fundamentals course and how did you make the decision to apply there?
I wanted to enroll in the UVM Digital Marketing Fundamentals course to gain a more solid background about the field. As I have more experience in content marketing, I wanted to learn more about the technical sides of digital marketing, such as SEO, paid search, and analytics, in order to have a more rounded background and knowledge base. UVM’s program seemed more comprehensive and I liked the way the course was set up—with each week catering to a different digital marketing strategy and finalizing around a capstone project that could or could not be for the company you are currently working for.
What influenced your decision to participate in the Career Coaching course along with the Digital Marketing Fundamentals course?
As a young professional currently job searching, Sue’s Career Coaching course was a great bonus to the course. I am someone who is very hardworking, and I constantly try to set high standards for myself, but I have always had difficulty with job interviews and have been overwhelmed with the job search process as a whole. To be able to work with a recruiter through this program was a great option to take advantage of.
What was the most helpful component of the program? Were you surprised by anything you learned?
Sue’s Career Coaching course was very helpful. Sue helped me totally redo my resume in order to better market myself and helped create a template to then individualize for each job. Before, my resume was so crowded as I tried to cram every little thing I have done onto one page. Instead, Sue taught me that a resume should be like an onion—as just a brief presentation of yourself that a hiring manager can then peel back the layers and learn more about you during the job interview.
Would you recommend this program to other Digital Marketers?
Yes, I would! I think a lot of people decided to take this course because they were looking to advance their career, or switch career paths entirely. I am in the second group and have already seen that this course gives me a little heads up in job interviews.
Any other helpful interview/resume tips you can share?
Targeted resumes are very important and should be individualized for each job you apply for. You should also put some personality into it. For example, I recently applied for a job with a travel agency that offers bike riding tours around the world, and in the last section of my resume I included a “activities and interests” section where I listed my favorite bike rides on the East Coast. After all, interviews are really just a way to see if you connect with the job and the hiring manager and team/employees. I think that’s my best advice, to try and relax and just be yourself—easier said than done.
Do you have any other advice for other young professionals looking to enter the field of digital marketing?
Above all, experience is the number one factor and it is helpful to go into an interview with a portfolio of work you have done in digital marketing. That can include examples of published writing, social posts that were successful, or website work. As I have learned from freelancing, it’s really all about putting yourself out there and looking for work. For me personally, I am still building this portfolio and keeping my fingers crossed that it pays off.
UVM’s Career Coaching is an optional and free course designed to be paired with a Career Certificate track and is not a stand-alone program. Learn about UVM’s Career Coaching Course.
-Kate Whitney is a freelance writer.