How do you get your first job in digital marketing?
Last week I had the privilege of giving a guest lecture to digital marketing students and staff at Liverpool John Moores University.
At the end of a great discussion about ‘marketing in a digital world’ (to borrow a phrase from Keith Weed, CMO of Unilever), there was the inevitable question about getting a job after graduation. Here’s what I told them.
You Never Stop Being a Student of Digital Marketing
Digital, online, the Internet — whatever you want to call it — isn’t just about marketing or business. It is fundamentally changing how the world works, in ways that seemed like science fiction just 10 or 20 years ago. In another 10 or 20 years, it will have changed again.
Your learning and education must never stop. Autodidacticism is the new black. The Internet is continually changing the world around us and with it people’s hopes, fears, expectations and demands. Marketers must observe and empathise with these changes if they hope to create relevant and compelling brands and campaigns.
I spend around an hour a day learning: reading news and analysis, listening to podcasts, discussing ideas on social networks. I’ve provided a selection of my favourite resources at the bottom of the post as a starting point.
If I interview you for a graduate role, having a good understanding of Google Analytics or Promoted Tweets is great. But I’d much rather hear your bigger ideas on where the puck’s going to be, than where it is now. Trust me, if you’re smart and curious, we can teach you how to run an AdWords campaign.
Be Visibly Engaged
It’s true. If I have a CV for a role, I will absolutely look you up on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. I’ll check if we have connections in common. I’ll see if you rank for your name on a Google or Bing search.
But I don’t just want to see that you’re present. I want to see that you’re engaged. Listening, reading, sharing, debating. I want to see your opinions, even if I think you’re wrong (in fact, especially if I think you’re wrong, because you might be right and I’m wrong, and I always want to know about that).
Blend Art and Science
Marketing in a digital world requires a blend of skills. Creativity must meet technical and mathematical chops. You’ll have a leaning to one, no doubt, but always have a foot in both camps.
The creative marketer who can’t digest and parse an Excel report and at least appreciate the technical components of app creation or database design isn’t much use. Equally, you might be a wiz with R and statistics, but if you can’t tell people what it all means in non-technical language, you’ll struggle. Whichever side of the fence you prefer, try to learn and appreciate as much as you can about the other.
Getting that first graduate job might seem harder than ever, which is why it’s so important to differentiate yourself from everyone else. I hope my advice helps you with that.
- Benedict Evans: blog, Twitter, email
- a16z: podcast
- Ben Thompson: blog, Twitter, podcast
- Imperica: email
- The Exponential View: email
- The Overspill: email
- The Monday Note: blog
- Recode/decode: podcast
- The Growth Show: podcast
- Twitter list: industry news
This post was first published on the Croud blog.