Everyone who’s anyone in online marketing was once nobody. It’s a rite of passage to spend months after graduation wondering if you’ll ever get a job, period. There are always plenty of jobs out there hiring folks with “1+ years of experience,” but that’s cold comfort during your first year on the job market!
Knowing what I know now, here are the 10 things I’d do if I were a newcomer to online marketing and wanted to land an awesome marketing gig:
Go Beyond a Resume
1. Write a blog. This is always my #1 piece of advice to marketing newbies. Resumes are passé, and it’s too easy to feign interest or experience. Writing a blog is an awesome way to truly demonstrate that you know and care about online marketing. Heck, if you want to work for a specific company, start writing a blog analyzing that company’s marketing, then send it to the hiring manager.
2. Manage your online reputation. That picture of you at spring break that you posted to Facebook – you might want to remove it. If you think non-techy employers have gotten smart at checking out your social media presence, imagine what tech employers do!
3. Do something (anything) to show interest. As much as it is often resume fluff, joining college groups focused on marketing, technology, or entrepreneurship at least shows that you’ve thought about online marketing as a career. Internships, online certifications, and anything else you can do to show interest can help differentiate you from the masses.
4. Start your own marketing campaign. Setting up your own AdWords, LinkedIn, or Facebook campaign is a great way to show a potential hire that you know your stuff. On LinkedIn, for example, you could target HR folks in San Francisco at Google and Facebook with an ad and (allegedly) get over 1100 people to target:
Get the Inside Scoop
5. Read a blog. The online world offers tons of free information about online marketing. From beginning “how to” guides like the AdWords Learning Center to the advanced musings of PPC gurus like Brad Geddes, you could spend your whole day reading up on online marketing if you wanted to. In other words, even if you’ve never spent a day in a marketing department, there’s no reason you shouldn’t walk into an interview with a really good foundation of knowledge about the business!
6. Network. This isn’t unique to getting online marketing jobs, but because online marketers tend to be more networked than your average person, networking is especially helpful here. Go to local meet-ups, join groups on LinkedIn, write your favorite blogger, or attend tech conferences. If you do get an interview at a company, find out who you know on the inside and take him/her out to coffee to understand company culture, hiring procedures, and so on.
7. Research extensively. Twenty years ago it might have been possible to attend a job interview and have little idea what the hiring company did. Today, every company has a Web site, and most will show up in at least a few articles on Google News or just in search results. Your questions in the job interview (and you should always ask some questions) should show that you’ve done your homework prior to coming into the interview (e.g. “How will the do-not-track legislation in Europe impact your international expansion” instead of “Who are your competitors”).
8. Move to San Francisco. Lots of companies these days hire remote employees, but few hire remote entry-level employees. And resumes that say “I’m planning to move to San Francisco in the fall” are usually discarded too (I’m planning on buying a Maserati; I just need the money first). I use San Francisco here as an example – any city that has a large tech community will suffice (others that come to mind: LA, Seattle, Austin, Boston, NY, Chicago).
9. Put learning before earning. Early in your career, you should choose jobs that help you learn as fast as possible (as someone once told me: in your twenties you should learn; in your thirties you should earn). Don’t eschew a job offer because you think the salary is beneath you, especially if that job will teach you a ton. Internships – though low- or no-paying and unglamorous – are a great way to convince a company to bring you on full-time eventually.
10. Follow up. I know I am going to invoke the ire of many an HR manager, but this must be said: until you get a definitive “no” from a company, there’s nothing wrong with continuously following up with the hiring manager to inquire about possible opportunities. This is particularly important in online marketing, where company hiring needs can change drastically in just a few weeks. And unfortunately, despite the fact that HR managers tell you “we’ll keep your resume on file,” in most cases this means “we’ll recycle your resume or just assume that by the time we need to hire again, you’ll have found another gig somewhere else.”
So there you have it: 10 essential tips. Want to test these out? Here’s a good way to start – apply to PPC Associates today!
– David Rodnitzky, CEO