landing a job in digital marketing

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The Fastest Way to Land an Entry-Level Digital Marketing Job

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You have digital marketing knowledge under your belt and want to break into the field. Smart move. The field of digital marketing is in hyper-growth mode with a 63% increase in jobs in the past 6 months, according to LinkedIn data.

Yet, you’re facing the age-old problem: you need experience to get a job, and no one will hire you without experience. You’ve applied to jobs but you’re getting ghosted. It makes you wonder if you’re even cut out for marketing.

UVM Digital Marketing Instructor Erik Harbison
Erik Harbison Lead Instructor UVM Digital Marketing

“The reality is yes, you are a good fit for a marketing career, you’re just going about it the wrong way,” marketing guru and lead instructor in the University of Vermont’s Digital Marketing Fundamentals Certificate Program Erik Harbison shared recently in the free workshop: How to Start a Career in Digital Marketing.

Harbison helps digital marketing job seekers get hired with proven strategies that get applicants noticed within just a few months.

In addition to leading the UVM Digital Marketing Fundamentals Certificate Program, Harbison has been building teams, strategies, and solutions for 25 years in the advertising and digital marketing industries. He’s worked with leading brands in the retail, consumer packaged goods, finance, travel, and technology sectors. He now focuses on supporting marketing professionals at all levels as an instructor at UVM, career coach and mentor through his company

“You will not hear me talk about applying for jobs as the single source of getting a job,” Harbison said. “If it’s easy to apply, it’s difficult to stand out. You’re not doing a good job differentiating yourself and you reduce your chances of being noticed.”

Erik Harbison, Lead instructor uvm digital marketing Fundamentals

3 Strategies to Get a Digital Marketing Job

If you follow the strategies below, Harbison says you’ll likely have two to three conversations booked with potential employers within a few months. Instead of being one of 250 applicants that gets looked over, you’ll be one of 20 job applicants that gets noticed.

Before you start on the strategies below, be sure that you are specialized in something within the field of digital marketing. Harbison says you don’t have to be good at everything but choose a primary focus like social media or SEO. 

“It doesn’t have to be your only focus, but you should have a major and a minor and that allows you to be very thoughtful in the types of roles and companies you put yourself in the running for,” Harbison said. 

Spring Campus

1. Treat Your Job Search Like a Marketing Plan

Put your marketing knowledge to use for yourself. No one wants to put in countless hours with no return on their investment. 

Make a marketing plan for yourself including most importantly why you’re seeking a job using SMART goals. For example, your ‘why’ might be to get paid for your social media skills by 2021. Then look at the who, how, when, and your metrics for success. 

“Be specific about who you are contacting, not HR but instead the VP of marketing. The ‘how’ is not blasting all the agencies, it’s finding names of people, finding emails, and saying, ‘I’m going to send them a message and ask for a conversation’,” Harbison said. 

Your ‘when’ includes your weekly time commitment. Commit to just 30 minutes a day at a minimum.

“5 hours [a week] would be the minimum if you have a plan and an expected outcome like getting hired within 90 days.”

Your metrics could be how many email replies you get and how many calls you get booked. 

2. Build Your Personal Brand

As a marketing professional you know all brands have a voice and need to be consistent. Your personal brand is the same. There are three places to focus on your personal branding:

  • Your resume: focus on the impact of your accomplishments
  • LinkedIn: the most powerful networking tool 
  • Website: your personal brand story 

“If you think of yourself as a million-dollar brand, ask yourself what is your unique value proposition? What do you bring to a company as a marketer?” Harbison said. “That should be in the profile section of your resume, title of your LinkedIn profile, and one the homepage of your personal website.”

3. Increase Your Visibility and Value

Instead of mass-applying to dozens of companies, create a short list of companies you want to work for first and focus on making yourself visible to them. Start by engaging with their content on their social media platforms. Then, research their marketing staff and reach out to ask for a conversation. Follow-up by giving them something that shows your marketing relevance, like a sample blog post or social media audit. 

“You deliver something that says thank you for the conversation and demonstrates your ability,” Harbison said. 

If you put into place these strategies and tactics over the course of 30 or 60 days, you’re likely going to get two to three conversations, “where someone really likes what you’re bringing to the table… you’re bypassing the waiting and the rejection and the old-fashioned way,” Harbison said. 

For more on Harbison’s process to get a digital marketing job, listen to the 30-minute info: How to Start a Career in Digital Marketing.

UVM Ranked #2 in Top Digital Marketing Certificate Programs

More Resources to Get You Started in a Digital Marketing Job

Check out these workshops for digital marketers and all types of job seekers to help you on your career journey. 

Exploring the Career Path for You

Getting the Job You Want

Stand out to employers with digital marketing credentials from UVM and specialized knowledge. 

Check out the Digital Marketing Certificates from UVM: Choose from three levels of certificates based on your skillset and interests.

Watch a recent Info Session on Digital Marketing Programs at UVM with two additional UVM Digital Marketing instructors Christopher Hill and Nick Mattar.