This post was written by Alex Bennett, Inbound Marketing Specialist at Firebrand Training
People spend twice as much time online as they used to 12 years ago. As consumers become more active online, businesses must now invest in digital marketing to reach them. Because of this, digital marketing professionals are in high demand: 76% of businesses now suffer from a shortage of digital skills.
To break into the industry after university, a relevant placement can be invaluable. Balancing job hunting and university commitments can be a challenging task – but landing the perfect placement will make it worthwhile.
At Firebrand Training, we regularly interview and recruit digital marketing placement students from universities across the country. These are our tips for getting a job in digital marketing as a placement student.
Understand digital marketing
Before you begin to craft your perfect covering letter and CV, take the time to understand the areas, technologies and skills that make up digital marketing.
While you won’t be expected to have mastered every aspect of digital marketing, an awareness is crucial. Before interviewing, make sure you’re confident that you could provide an overview of the primary digital marketing channels – like paid search, SEO, email and social media.
Digital marketing is massive and without a thorough understanding, you could find yourself blindsided during an interview by unknown terms or concepts. It will be clear to an interviewer when you haven’t researched their industry.
Play to your strengths
Digital marketing is a varied and exciting industry that cover distinct careers, appealing to different people. From an analytical paid search expert to a creative content marketer, you have the opportunity to work across a variety of roles and technologies.
Because of this, it’s critical you consider which areas of digital marketing interest you the most. You’ll probably find that the areas you’re passionate about are those you are the most skilled and knowledgeable in. Once you really understand the distinct areas and skills within the industry, you’ll likely find one that interests you and aligns with your strengths.
If your passion hasn’t yet led you to research and improve your knowledge of these areas, it’s not too late to start researching (read on for a list of our top digital marketing blogs and publications!)
When you’re searching for placements, look for roles which play to your strengths and interests. You’ll find it easy to talk articulately on something that you are passionate about.
Next, make sure your CV and covering letter highlights this. For example, if you’re a competent writer (a skill that lends itself well to most digital marketing roles) emphasise your ability to generate clear, concise and error-free copy for the web.
Decide what you DON’T want to do
Placement opportunities will come from any company of any shape or size. When choosing which applications you want to pursue, you may find it helpful to first think about what you’d rather steer clear of.
Smaller companies may give you more control over your projects, whereas larger companies may support you more with office perks or social benefits. Get employed by an agency and you’ll work for multiple clients, potentially across a number of industries. Alternatively, working for an in-house marketing department will mean focusing on your own company’s products and services.
Deciding what you don’t want to do and working backwards from there will help you more effectively target the roles you really want.
Once you’ve built up your general digital marketing knowledge, it’s crucial to keep it up-to-date. The tech industry evolves fast and digital marketing is no different.
Of course, the internet is the best place to stay current. Read up on the latest trends with these popular digital marketing blogs and publications:
- Search marketing: Moz, Search Engine Land & Backlinko
- General: HubSpot & Kissmetrics
- Email marketing: Marketo & MailChimp
- Social media: Buffer & Hootsuite
Candidates that demonstrate an understanding of current industry trends, innovations and technologies will impress. Whoever interviews you will know that using an outdated digital marketing technique can have catastrophic consequences for their business. Put their mind at ease by proving you’re in the know.
Research before your interview
This advice could be applied to any interview, but it’s particularly crucial when interviewing for a digital marketing role. Figure out how to answer the question: “What do they do?” – if you can’t answer a question like this, you’ll have a hard time marketing the company.
Make sure you also know why you want to work for them. Do you believe in the product? Does it excite you? What do their customers say about them? Who do they compete with?
Answer these questions by scouring their online presence, including their website(s), social media, external publications (like press releases) and email newsletters. Depending on the type of business, you may also want to mystery shop them and get your information directly from the organisation.
During this process, you should get a good idea of the digital marketing channels used by the company and to what extent they are utilised. You might even be able to suggest improvements if asked during the interview.
You’ll also find it useful to look up your interviewer on LinkedIn. By doing this you should be able to get a good idea of their job role and previous experience – valuable context for your interview and a good way to prepare for your face-to-face meeting.