How to become a digital marketer by landing a great job

Hi, I’m Polina! Formerly, I worked as a senior digital marketing manager and now I am the marketing mentor at Pathrise. I help job-seekers prepare for their future in digital marketing. Check out my article where I explain how to become a digital marketer.

Whether you are graduating or transitioning careers, mapping out your job search can seem like an impossible task. There are so many unknowns that it can feel like you are setting off into uncharted territory.

Luckily, we have worked with many job-seekers to optimize their search and land great digital marketing jobs. We put together this step-by-step guide to help shed light on the road ahead. Then, you can find out how to become a digital marketer and get a job that you love.

Step 1: Optimize your resume, LinkedIn, and portfolio

Before you embark on your job search, you need to update your resume, online profiles, and portfolio so they are as strong as possible. These are the tools with which you tell your story. They are also the recruiter’s first sign that you are a good candidate who should move forward in the process. 

We see a lot of very talented marketers who struggle to get noticed by recruiters. This is often because they are not showing their skills accurately in their online profiles. Usually, the statements on their resume don’t explain the impact of the work they did through context and quantification. 

For example, this is a statement that only shows grunt work:

  • Wrote copy for social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Instead, this statement can be updated to show the impact and quantify the results:

  • Determined social media strategy and wrote 5 posts per week for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, resulting in 65% increase in post engagement and 45% increase in conversions.

The formatting for your resume should also be clean, professional, and tech-centered. Use sans serif fonts (fonts without feet) to make your resume feel modern. Make sure you only use a maximum of 1 cool color (blue, green, purple) to keep your resume professional. We recommend a designated skills section that highlights the tools you sue, but do not include proficiency for each. Try to match the keywords in the job description as closely as possible (while remaining honest). Both recruiters and applicant tracking systems will be looking for exactly those words.

For even more tips on how to make sure you have a strong marketing resume, check out our guide and template.

You also need to optimize your LinkedIn. Most job applications require a link to your profile along with your resume. Upload a professional photo of yourself and include your contact information. Write a short bio about your experience and the types of roles you are interested in. Add all of the experience from your resume, but feel free to elaborate a little more on your responsibilities. You do not have a space limit to worry about on LinkedIn so tell your full story.

Finally, we always recommend that marketing candidates build a portfolio to showcase their work and provide context. Your portfolio should be easy to read and understand with an inviting homepage and informative interior pages for each project. 

The site you use to build your portfolio should depend on the type of work you are planning to showcase. If you are a content writer, a WordPress blog or Medium page should be a good place for you to house your posts. For a more robust marketing portfolio, look to Squarespace, Weebly, or Wix to build your own website. Review our checklists to ensure your marketing portfolio has everything you need to tell your story and impress recruiters and hiring managers.

Checklist: Outline of strong marketing portfolio

  1. Who you are
  2. Your skills
  3. Projects / experiences where you show how you demonstrated those skills
  4. Resume or link to resume

Checklist: Outline of a marketing portfolio page

  1. Setup & context
  2. The challenge & problem
    1. High level goals
  3. Your role
    1. The team
  4. Process
    1. How did you work on this campaign, task, problem?
  5. Launch, impact, results
    1. Final outputs
    2. Results
    3. Next steps
Photo of a strong marketing portfolio

For more information on how to optimize your marketing portfolio, check out our guide.

Step 2: Save time by focusing on the right opportunities for you

Now that your resume, LinkedIn, and portfolio showcase the best of your past experiences, it is time to find positions and companies that match your background and goals. What type of work do you prefer doing? What type of company culture works best for you? For additional help, try asking yourself some of these questions:

  • Do you want to work at a small startup or a big, established company?
  • Do you like when you have to “wear many hats” or would you prefer a more niche position?
  • Are you better on your own or in collaboration with others?

The way you respond to these questions can help you decide if you want to work at a large company or a new startup or maybe even on a remote team. When you get a sense of the types of companies that are best for you, you can narrow down the job boards that you use.

We rated the best marketing job boards so you can find the perfect place for you.

Step 3. Send cold emails to increase your application response rate

A lot of people think that there is nothing else that can be done after applying through the online portal. But, that is not the case at all!

We always recommend reaching out to the recruiter or someone else on the team (ideally the hiring manager) right after you send in your application. Your email should explain that you have applied for the open role. Then, tell them a little bit about yourself and why you are interested. According to our data, sending an email along with your applications will increase the likelihood of a response by an average of 3x.

The first step is to source a recruiter, hiring manager, or senior team member on LinkedIn. Then, find their email address through a free service like Clearbit. If they don’t come up on there, you can try to guess their email addresses using these likely combinations:

You can test your guesses using email address verification services like Hunter and Email Checker

Once you have their email address, write a compelling and concise cold email. Your email should include the role you have applied for and why you would be a good fit. End the email by telling them you would love to learn more about the company and the role by jumping on a quick call. Make sure that you give them specific times to choose from. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to say yes.

Here is an example of a template you can use for this cold email:

Hi [name],

I hope you’re doing well! My name is [your name] and I’m reaching out because I recently applied for the [position] position I saw on [platform] and noticed you are a [role] at [company]. 

While I am not sure if you are the right person to contact, I wanted to reach out to you specifically because I was interested in the work you are doing, specifically [something from their LinkedIn or something the company is working on]. I am a skilled digital marketer with strong writing chops and I believe I would hit the ground running and be a great fit for your team.

I would appreciate the opportunity to learn more about you and the company. Would you be free for a 15-minute call, either at [timeframe 1] or [timeframe 2]? In advance, I have attached my resume for your review. I really appreciate your consideration and look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,

[Your name]

Step 4: Practice for your technical interviews

The best advice we can give for digital marketers is to practice the type of questions you will see in the technical sessions. We compiled a list of 73 marketing interview questions from real tech companies, which is a good place to start.

Some of the questions you are asked will be deliberately vague, leaving room for you to make assumptions. Don’t jump too quickly into responding – think before you answer and don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions first. Back up your decisions and always fall back on metrics, data, and quantification to show impact.

Step 5: Research the company to prepare for your behavioral interviews

Behavioral interviews are just as important as your technical interviews. The goal of these sessions is to determine how you would react in certain situations. They are also looking to see whether or not you are a good fit for the company culture and team. When it comes down to a final decision, these are major factors.

The first step to behavioral interview preparation is research. Look at the company About page to see their mission and history. This knowledge will help you explain why you want to work there. On the Culture page, you can learn about their values. These often comes up in interviews at big tech companies like Amazon and Netflix. Companies also include good information on what they are looking for in a candidate and new teammate on the Jobs or Careers page, so spend time there as well. Finally, take a look at their Products page to ensure you are able to speak knowledgeably about what you could be working on if you are hired.

Now that you have this information, you can adapt your responses to these behavioral interview questions from top tech companies to fit the company. Your responses should be specific and succinct. In order to curb yourself, write down your answers and say them in front of a mirror or to a friend. Instead of rambling on, offer to “go into more detail” if the interviewer wants. This gives them the opportunity to make a decision if they want to learn more or move on.

You know you will be asked to introduce yourself, so prepare your elevator pitch in advance. The structure should look something like this:

  1. Education: Introduce yourself, your major, and your class or year of graduation. This lets the recruiter know right off the bat what type of position is good for you.
  2. Experience: What have you done in internships, school projects, student groups, or activities (as it relates to marketing)? Show that you put your skills to work.
  3. Projects (optional): If you don’t have much experience, or if you have very impressive projects, supplement your elevator pitch by mentioning 1-2.
  4. Conclusion: Don’t just trail off when describing yourself. End strong with a preview of your response to “why this company” by adding how you fit with their mission.

Prepare the questions you will ask at the end of the interview, as well. These questions show you are passionate and motivated to learn about the company. We’ve compiled the 10 best questions to ask in a marketing interview, which you can use as a jumping off point.

Step 6: Negotiate while maintaining a good impression

Negotiation begins with the first interaction you have – whether that is an application or talking to the recruiter on a phone screen. If they ask for a salary or range, tell them you want to do more research or write “Negotiable, within reason” on the application. Moving forward, everything you say and do during your interviews and email correspondence is part of your negotiation, so make sure you are careful.

After receiving your offer, thank the recruiter, tell them you are excited, and then get off the phone. Do not give them a yes or no when you receive your offer. Instead, wait until you hang up so that you can take a moment and do some research.

According to Glassdoor, average compensation for a Digital Marketing Manager is around $70k and a Digital Marketing Coordinator is $57k. On AngelList, the average salary for Marketing is $73k. This is likely a more well-rounded salary average because it includes startups. 

You can figure out where to focus your negotiations based on the type of company extending an offer. For example, if it is a tech company like Facebook, Google, or Amazon, they are likely already offering you a good salary, so you might want to focus on asking for additional equity, higher signing bonuses, location reimbursements, and other benefits. 

With smaller startups, your salary might be lower at first, so you should try to negotiate that higher (unless they already told you that they cannot do that). If that is the case, look at bonuses, equity, and benefits to increase your total compensation. Use this annotated negotiation email template to make sure you hit the right points and highlight your value to the company.

Step 7: Celebrate!

You started this article wondering how to become a digital marketer and now after using these tips and templates, you can celebrate! Hopefully hey have helped you gain confidence, speed up your job search, and help you land your dream digital marketing job. 

If you are looking for more help, Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. With these tips and guidance, we’ve seen 3x as many responses to applications, interview performance scores that double, and a 10-20% increase in salary.

If you want to work with our industry mentors and career coaches 1-on-1 to get help with any aspect of your marketing job search, join Pathrise.

Apply today.

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