I’m back to mentoring three new aspiring digital marketeers and it’s been great fun so far. My last post on “How to kickstart your career in digital marketing Part 1” focused on building your own brand through social media and blogging and attending industry specific events to get to know some potential employers in person. My post today will outline some specific skills and possible qualifications that will give you a better foundation for a career in digital marketing.
Free and low cost Qualifications for everyone
There are a number of Google qualifications that you can obtain. You can get Google Adwords certified. The online study materials are free, only the cost of the exam is $50. There are also plenty of Google Analytics training materials, you can study for free for the Google Analytics Individual qualification or register for free courses that range from Mobile app to ecommerce analytics at the Google Analytics Academy. If you are looking to get into social media, why not try the Hootsuite University, which is only around $21 per month until you completed the course. Moz have tons of free resources on SEO and link building. Distilled University costs $40 per month but they have some free resources and you can try out some free modules.
Official paid for qualifications are not a must
Some employers will wildly disagree with me but I don’t think that you have to have a Masters in Digital marketing in order to get your foot in the door. You will have ended up paying thousands of pounds in order to get the qualification, just to be getting an entry level job that will not enable you to pay your debt back quickly. In this recent article on by Ben Rowland on the Digital Apprenticeship revolution, Rowland states that graduates often leave agencies just as they become useful and there is now a trend that companies move towards getting school and college leavers into digital apprenticeships in order to mould them according to their specific needs. I personally have two issues with digital marketing qualifications or with degrees that teach some digital marketing:
- They are generally very expensive and cause people to get into huge debt.
- Often the material taught, is already outdated, as our industry moves so fast, the curricula can’t keep up.
If you are set on getting an official qualification, you can find out more on the Digital Marketing Institute website. Econsultancy also offer a wide range of training courses in digtal marketing. Squared Online is the latest addition to the digital marketing qualifications, which was developed together with Google. I was told that this course is very basic and only for people who have no knowledge of digital marketing at all.
Stay on Top of Industry News
The digital marketing sector is one of the fastest moving and ever changing. It’s important to stay on top of recent changes. Follow the Google Webmaster blog, Search Engine Land, Mashable, Search Engine Roundtable, Econsultancy and follow the blogs of any prospective employers you’re interested in working for.
Get hands-on experience
Don’t just expect the experience come to you. Start a personal project i.e. create a blog and write what you’re passionate about and try to promote your blog. Get in touch with some agencies or other companies and apply for digital marketing internships. Unfortunately they are often unpaid but the experience you can gain working on real life campaigns is invaluable. If you are at university, try and get a part-time job at an agency. I’m always amazed by how little work experience graduates obtain whilst at university. Apart from digital marketing knowledge, you will learn so many more skills, such as team working, attention to detail and organisational and time management skills, which in turn can be more than useful for your studies.
Get some technical understanding
It’s important to have some technical understanding. If you are going to specialise in Search engine optimisation, you will have to have a pretty good grasp of the technical ins and outs of a website for certain. But even for other types of digital marketing roles, you will still need to be able to intelligently explain website related items to either clients or you need to be working alongside designers and developers. Here is a great article on how to communicate with your web designer. I would therefore suggest that you get a basic understanding of HTML and CSS. Check out the W3CSchools or Code academy for free. There are also some other online training courses, such as Lynda.com or Webdesign Tuts.
Additional helpful skills
Make sure you are able to use Powerpoint, Word and Excel to a very high standard. Particularly advanced Excel skills could come in handy for analysing large data sets and being able to simplify work for you in the long run. Keyboard short cuts are always real useful to know, as well as 10 finger typing. Any skills that will enable you to speed up or simplify your work will always proof beneficial to you in a fast paced work environment.
Do you need any help moving your digital career forward? Why not get in touch?
Photo credit Lee Scott