Year after year university graduates are released into the big
wide world determined to conquer the Digital Marketing Industry,
only to be met with the realisation that they are a very small fish
in a very, very big digital sea.
Having studied a Public Relations and Digital
Communications degree for two years now, I should be
just one short year away from having the knowledge and skillset to
enter the world of working adults. Well… although I do feel ready
to do so, can I really attribute that PURELY to my
degree? The answer would be no, unfortunately not. Through personal
experiences and stories from my peers I can with 100% enthusiasm
stress the importance of experience, experience, experience
(and a little more experience).
Now, before it would seem I'm completely against the idea of
university and Further Education (which is not the case)
it would probably be beneficial for me to explain a little about
Statistically, a fifth of first year students will drop out of
uni due to choosing the wrong course to study. I was very nearly
part of that statistic. Having done very well in Graphics and
Design at A level I began applying for design courses at
universities. Shortly before handing in my final choices I found a
Graphic and Web Design Agency to volunteer at to see what I
The Positives: I learnt a few acronyms from the
web side (PPC, SEO, GA), learnt a few new Photoshop skills
and I got a lift home at the end of each day.
The Negatives: I decided design was most
certainly not what I wanted to do as a career.
Experience 1 Education 0.
Deciding not to go to university at that point, I did a Business
Admin internship in a marketing department which quickly progressed
to me landing a full time paid Marketing Recruitment position.
Hallelujah! I had found an industry I could wake up for every
Now here's the stinger, there was no room for progression as it
then became 'essential' job criteria to have a degree. Awesome.
Experience 1 Education 1.
As a result, I started at Manchester Metropolitan University doing the
fore mentioned degree and last year had the opportunity to partake
Life. Agency Life is a fantastic opportunity for students to
find a placement one day a week at a relevant digital, media,
marketing etc. agency which then contributes to their course grades
for that year. Due to my previous experiences and interests
Marketing Recruitment Agency 'The Candidate', an award
winning Digital, Media, Marketing and eCommerce recruitment Agency
in Manchester, was the perfect placement for me.
I gained so much valuable experience looking at PPC recruitment
and SEO recruitment, not to mention the digital terminology I
picked up along the way. Plus, I am now lucky enough to be in a
paid position at the agency this summer where I will continue
marketing and advertising agency jobs on the web and building up my
(I think that deserves a point both ways)
Experience 2 Education 2.
So, it would seem the two go hand in hand.
Conquering the Digital Jobs or Marketing jobs industry is no
easy feat. There are new acronyms joining the circulation every
day, products, brands and even people are becoming more demanding
and difficult to market for, not to mention there seems to be a new
social media platform to maintain every few months.
From my experiences, these are the 5 top tips I would highlight
for students wanting to successfully work their way into Digital
surprise) GET EXPERIENCE!
There are so many opportunities available to volunteer at
agencies. Even if the agency you approach isn't specifically where
you see yourself ending up, it's a start. Any experience is better
than no experience.
2) Stay up to date with
all things digital.
I once sat in a meeting and was asked how effective I thought
Instagram was for targeting specific TA's. At the time I had never
even been on Instagram. FAIL.
3) Learn the
There are certain things that come with experience. It's all
very well and good being told what a Digital Marketing Manager does
one time in a lecture but until you have studied the job spec and
learnt the terminology used to describe the roles and
responsibilities required, you don't really know what they do at
4) Network, Network,
If you're ever in the position to add a contact on Linkedin,
follow links on Twitter or even just have a simple conversation and
exchange names with somebody who works in the industry then do it!
They're doing no harm by being there for now and their connection
may prove useful one day.
5) Keep busy.
Write a blog, follow some agencies on Twitter, re-tweet or
comment on some digital articles… the list is ongoing. By
increasing your digital presence now, you are saving yourself time
and effort in the future and to prospective employers an active
digital presence shows passion for the industry. Always a
So what now? Come August I shall be off to the USA for what
promises (so I've been told) to be the best year of my
life. I will be off on my travels to the State of New York as part
of an exchange programme with university and will spend a year
learning the Marketing and PR ways of the USA. Sounds pretty good
right? Well, there's still that third year of uni to come back for…
but I'll think about that later!
Take the first steps to making yourself the ideal Digital
Marketing candidate by checking out our CV tips or, if
you're a graduate looking for inspiration- we can help with that
too with our graduate recruitment page.