Since it's graduation season and the job market is... not great, we're throwing in some extra advice this mornth.
How can I advance my search marketing career?
Just like many other career paths, the digital marketing field is always changing and evolving. It is important to keep up and put yourself ahead of the competition. Here are a few ways you can make progress with professional growth and gain the confidence to reach for bigger and better things. Be better than the rest!
- Keep up-to-date on trends - Strategies are always changing, new insights are always being discovered, and best practices are improving. It is important to stay up-to-date on all these discoveries. Here are a few of my favorite information spots:
- Continue training - Just like I mentioned above, that strategies, features, and best practices are always changing, it is important to keep fueling your mind with this knowledge. Refresh your skills with free resources that not only teach you the basics, but also teach you how to use these skills, definitions and strategies in real life scenarios. Here are just a few of our favorites:
- Show your stuff - Do you have a digital presence? Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date along with your resume and portfolio of work. Made a website you are really proud of? Future bosses want to see that! Show off your skills while also gaining some practical experience.
- Understand data - It is one thing to understand the definitions and the concepts of basic SEO and PPC topics. But can you put that to use? Basic problem solving is super important. Your client is losing traffic, ranks are dropping, bounce rate is getting higher, so what are you going to do? Playing out scenarios and solving these problems makes you use many parts of your brain, strategies and larger concepts. Maybe do some freelance or pro-bono work to get some exposure.
- Always be evolving - Just like the industry, you should always be growing and evolving with your knowledge, skills and professional path.
- Take risks - You will only get out as much as you put in. Got a crazy idea that might not work? You can only find out if it will work if you try. Be a trailblazer!
- Learn to adapt - Algorithm updates come out, clients change business strategies, change is always inevitable. Go with the flow, learn to think and move quickly.
- Seek advice, maybe even a mentor - Is there someone you look up to in the industry? A professor? A former boss? Maybe even someone you met at a networking event. Whoever it is, talking SEO over coffee is a great idea to expand your knowledge and your experience. Also, make sure you are following the experts on social media. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Know what you want - What are you looking for when it comes to your digital marketing career? Are you goal driven? Is flexibility important to you? You will never grow in your career or get ahead of the game if you are constantly evaluating if you are where you want to be.
- Network - Finally, get out there! Join a club, go to a networking event, discuss, make connections and put yourself out there. You can’t succeed if you are hiding in the corner.
Bonus - The Transistor team gives advice for people graduating college right now.
Don't be afraid of odd jobs. When I was fresh out of school, I really struggled finding my first marketing job. There were plenty of entry level positions, but they were actually places looking for experienced people at entry level wages. This hasn't changed. Most of what was actually attainable was "brand ambassador" positions. Which is code for being thrown out in a crowd trying to push free samples on people. No thanks. My first real, full-time job was a marketing analyst role at a startup. Was not what I was looking for, but because it was a startup I ended up doing a lot of different things, including learning how to set up google shopping, managing media buys and running paid search campaigns. That set me up for everything that came next.
One way to think about it is, what job do you hopefully want long term? Say it's a marketing director at a larger company. What is more likely to be a useful experience to get you there? A job not perfectly in your field? Or handing out coupons at a mall?
Don’t be afraid to say no to a job opportunity that isn’t the right fit. Look at the culture of a company, talk to your potential coworkers and boss, ask about responsibilities and goals – you’re going to spend a lot of time working, so you should find a job/workplace that fits you. No job is perfect but you should have a couple things that are absolutes. If goal achievement is important for you, make sure your boss is someone that likes setting and achieving goals. If you work best in a team environment, make sure the company is not solely focused on individual achievement. Job interviews go both ways, you are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. Don’t ever be afraid to ask questions about the things that are important to you.
If you are comfortable or bored, then make a change. You are never going get better, be mentally stimulated or happy if you are constantly doing what feels “safe”. It is going to feel scary, trust me I’ve been there, but putting yourself out of your comfort zone is only going to give you more experience, skills and knowledge. Also, your mental health is going to thank you.
Don’t be scared to change what you want. I was fortunate enough that in my very first position out of college I was essentially a marketing department. I thought I loved customer interaction and traveling to trade shows and graphic design. Turns out, I don’t. Over the years and over the jobs I’ve had I’ve slowly transitioned in what I like to do and transitioned out what I don’t care for. You aren’t going to get it on the first try, but try, try again!
Although my experience may be less than my other colleagues, I am the one who most recently has gone through the transition from college to career. My biggest piece of advice I can give you is to create a standard daily routine that is sustainable rather than optimal. The transition from college to work is very different with how your days are spent and your allocation of freetime. With this, you want to create a schedule that is possible to follow day-in and day-out that allows for room for error.
Talking to recent graduate friends and looking at my own schedule, I realized that a lot of them were overly excited at first. Trying to wake up late while still making a full breakfast, lunch, dinner, working out for hours, doing laundry and trying to find free time which inevitably ended up with them burning out and skipping meals and falling behind. Finding a balance of priorities will allow you to constantly be in a productive state. You will only be truly successful at work if the rest of your life is put together.