No Degree Needed: Do These Things to Get a Job in Digital Marketing.
There are over 840,000 people on LinkedIn with the word “marketer” or “marketing” in their job title––and that’s in the U.S. alone.
It’s clearly an expansive career with a lot of opportunity for growth, but, it can be tricky to get your foot in the door––especially if you don’t have any qualifications or experience to back it up.
We’ll talk about the common problems you might be finding, such as:
- Whether you need qualifications to be a successful marketer
- How to get a job in digital marketing without a degree or experience
- How to find a marketing job
Do I need qualifications for a career in marketing?
…That’s a question you’re probably considering before starting your marketing career.
Universities cost $99,417 for three years of study. Is it really worth it?
“A marketing degree is not required but is extremely helpful,” says Dai Baker of Dai Baker Creative Group. “Integrated marketing communications would be the best choice for a digital marketing career as it is comprehensive.”
Amberlea Henriques of #AdSocial adds: “By no means do you need a degree (or even a high school certificate) but you do need to have studied the subject if you want to grow a business in digital marketing.”
“Don’t rely solely on formal education. Marketing has become a very busy, popular branch, which makes it highly competitive. Thus, I strongly recommend exploring informal education opportunities.
“In other words, work on your skills on top of your university education and find out which area of marketing interests you the most. After you find the one that suits you best, invest your resources to gain knowledge and experience in that scope.”
“Try and understand the meanings of terms like search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and so on. You can check out websites such as Moz, HubSpot, Social Media Examiner, and Search Engine Land to get yourself familiarized with the basics of digital marketing.”
“A college degree may have prepared you with the general concepts of digital marketing, such as SEM or SEO. But it’s kind of like learning about a country from its Wikipedia page. You’ll learn the details and statistics, but you won’t truly get a sense of the country, understand the culture, until you’ve visited for yourself.”
How to get a job in digital marketing without a degree or experience
Are you ready to become a well-paid marketer? There’s only one problem: Recruiters want to see that you know what you’re doing. That’s tough to prove without experience or digital.
…But it’s not impossible.
We asked 46 experts to share the story behind their marketing industry breakthrough. And, we’ll share about the techniques you can use to get a job in digital marketing without experience or a degree, including:
- Finding your specialty
- Building your soft skills
- Starting a personal brand
- Running A/B tests
- Building your marketing portfolio
- Surrounding yourself with people in the industry
- Dedicating time to learning
1. Find your specialty
“Most people would say to be the best digital marketer, you should be able to “do it all”. I disagree,”
“You should focus and specialize in a cluster of like-minded topics, but do them all on a master level, as opposed to knowing a bit about everything but not being able to master any of them.”
Angela of Sharp Growth Digital Marketing says : “Focus on one area that you think gels with you the most. Are you are a more creative person, into data, or really like more technical aspects of the job?”
“If they’re more creative, I would encourage them to specialise in social media or content marketing depending on what they’re more interested in. Even then you can niche down to focusing more on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or any other ‘new’ social media platforms out there.”
These days, companies are hiring for niche jobs–and recruiting people who are specialists in a specific area. “Depth of knowledge in one field will typically grant you better results than a jack of all trades when you are in the early stages of your digital marketing career (or even if you are looking for freelance opportunities).”
In fact, content marketing is the area our experts think will increase in demand over the next 10 years:
2. Build your soft skills
“Digital marketing is a great field to break into because it’s so diverse. Use the skills you already have to break into the field through freelancing and then grow as you work,” says G2‘s Lauren Pope.
“I started my career in social media because I’d run several social accounts for my University clubs and programs. Once I got into the job, I learned more about analytics, certifications, and best-practices. My initial skill got me in the door and then I consumed as much information as I could. I taught myself to be an expert on the job.”
Pope continues: “You can teach technical skills on the job. You cannot teach soft skills like writing, communication, tech-savvy, etc. These transferrable skills will help you stand out amongst other applicants and help you bring something unique to the job.”
(It’s true; soft skills are credited for 85% of job successes.)
Best Company‘s Alice Stevens adds: “Writing is the biggest transferrable skill you can take with you from college or other professions. Be aware that writing for the internet is different from writing for your professor. Figure out a few ways to get practice in a variety of writing styles.”
3. Start building your personal brand
Many of them are marketing graduates who do not have the confidence or skills to focus on digital,”
“I always recommend that they get experience working with digital, and if they don’t have the confidence or opportunity to work with small clients, then focus on establishing and working on their own online presence.”
There are many platforms available these days that make it easy to create your own website, establish your own professional social media channels, learn the basics of SEO, social media marketing and online advertising, write and publish your own blog posts and content and more.
This type of experience is valuable in learning how digital marketing works, and also provides great examples to potential clients or employers.
Brand yourself by creating a personal website or portfolio where you list relevant experience and professional skills/accomplishments. Grab your online domain (example www.YourName.com) and create a brand for yourself – make sure your resume, social media, and application material are consistent with your personal brand, right down to colors and images chosen.”
“Even if you don’t have vast work experience, you can still stand out from other applicants simply with your personal branding. When faced with a well-branded, professional applicant, recruiters will take notice and advance you to the interview stage – they are looking for people who go above and beyond
4. A/B testing
When we asked HubSpot’s team for their best tip to get a marketing job without experience or a degree, Alex Birkett said: “I’d advise them to learn how to properly run and analyze controlled experiments (A/B tests).”
“This isn’t a digital marketing specific function. Rather, it can be applied to almost any area of business, specifically in digital functions like product and user experience. That’s kind of the point – this is a generalizable skill.”
“Aside from the obvious and touted benefits of knowing how to run A/B tests (over the long run, it makes you lots of money!), the simple act of learning about statistics and experimentation shows you’re a rigorous thinker, and one I’d be willing to hire,” Birkett continues.
5. Build your marketing portfolio
A marketing portfolio showcases your best work–and proves to potential employers that you’re skilled at the digital marketing job you’re applying for.
…But how do you build a strong portfolio without any experience?
Try to get some client\’s from these sources : Freelance (Knowledge Work)
Fiverr helps you build your business (and portfolio) in graphic design, digital marketing, writing, translation, programming, and more. Sell your service online and work from home the entire time!
FlexJobs lets you find telecommuting, part-time, freelance, and contract work in more than 50 categories, from project management to sales.
Freelancer lets creatives find jobs in areas like website and app development, brand design, and digital marketing.
Guru is another freelancing platform that helps you find jobs in IT, finance, architecture, legal, admin support, and more.
Hubstaff Talent lets you sign up to find remote work and freelance projects in marketing, design, development, writing, admin, and business consulting.
Moonlighting is a freelance jobs marketplace that covers jobs in all different areas — everything from tech & web to business services and events.
PeoplePerHour connects freelancers (writers, designers, translators, and more) to established businesses, with jobs posted as “hourlies,” design contests, and more.
Toptal hires top freelancer talent in the areas of design, development, and finance. If approved, you can gain access to jobs from companies like Hewlett Packard and Airbnb.
Upwork is an online workplace where you can connect your services to businesses big and small. A popular place for writers, designers, project managers, social media experts, and much more.
HireMyMom caters to stay-at-home mothers looking for flexible freelance work. The site links small businesses with qualified professionals and does not take commissions from either poster or seeker of a job.
Worried about the price investment you’ll need to get started?
You could add a portfolio to your website, as Anthony Mastri of Search Engine Coach summarizes: “You can get a domain name and a year of hosting for the price of a dinner, and some colleges even offer a limited amount of hosting space for their students by default.”
6. Surround yourself with people in the industry
The simple advice for those wanting to launch a career in digital marketing is to place themselves in as many unfamiliar positions as possible.”
By surrounding yourself with knowledge you’ll soak in the lived experiences of people who are tangible and real. Their stories become your stories, and your ability to tell the stories of businesses and brands will grow. Focus on clear communication.
Digital marketing isn’t about the latest data analytics tools or CMS or email automation software. The heart of the industry comes from reaching people with a message. Software will rise and fall, but adept storytelling and impactful communication never goes out of style.”
7. Dedicate time to learning
It’s reported that some of the most successful people are always learning.
Diana Nguyen of Revenue River thinks the same concept applies here: “Continual learning enables you to keep your finger on the pulse of the current market and upcoming trends. I would recommend spending a few hours a week just reading and gathering ideas about various topics.”
When it comes to building your foundation, there are a huge variety of resources, like Moz’s SEO beginner series, Googles own certifications, and countless others, that can show potential employers that you mean business when it comes to digital marketing.”
Try carrying out some audits on sites on your own, there are a bunch of free versions of tools that can help you start to get a real feel for them instead of going into an interview and simply saying you’ve never used any tools.”
“Stay on top of industry news by following major digital marketing sites and influential people on social media. As well as Google, Facebook, and Twitter who regularly tweak their algorithms and platforms.”
“Make time for digital every day, if you don’t, you can quickly fall behind. Never stop learning to guarantee you’re on pace with the ever-changing technology. The wider your skillset and the more knowledgeable you are about each area, the greater your earning potential.