How to Land your Dream Job in Digital Marketing

Keep up with the very latest developments in the digital marketing world

By Phil Norris
on 8/4/16

A few weeks ago, I was in the pub with my girlfriend, having a quick beer before a gig (Wolf Alice at Manchester Academy, if you’re interested). We got talking to a younger, trendier, less world-weary couple who’d just moved to Manchester, and I asked what they do. “We’re at university,” they chimed in harmonious unison, with all the exuberance of youth. “But we really want to work in digital marketing.”

Now, not that I didn’t believe this previously, but that brief exchange really got me thinking how great it is to work in digital. You get to express your creative flair, work with exciting brands, and be part of a vibrant, growing industry.

But don’t just take my word for it – read this great blog by Return’s very own apprentice-turned-Junior Account Executive Jade Hark on why you should definitely follow your digital dreams.

Of course, it’s not enough to simply want a career in digital marketing – you’ve got to go out there, grab your dream job with both hands and scream “I AM A DIGITAL GOD” directly into its face (metaphorically). With that in mind, here are our top tips for bagging the digital job you’ve been chasing.


Your degree (or lack of) isn’t everything… Zajdowicz Any one of these graduates could be a digital marketer

Worried your degree in fine art history or golf course management doesn’t stand you in great stead for a job at the cutting edge of digital marketing? Or maybe you don’t have a degree?

Either way, it’s certainly not the end of the world – not least because of the amount of on-the-job training involved.

Different agencies and brands rely on different tools and techniques to achieve digital marketing success, and the pace of change across the industry is rapid, so even people with years of digital experience still find themselves learning new things on an almost daily basis.

Essentially, qualifications aren’t the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to landing your dream digital job. It’s really more about your attitude, knowledge, and eagerness to pick up new skills.


…but you really need to know your stuff


Some people assume that because marketing is creative and trendy, you can just bluff your way to endless promotions, company cars and “Employee of the Century” awards.

The reality is a little different. If you’re not prepared to put the work in to remain at the cutting edge of industry developments, you simply won’t be doing the job right (or well). You’ll be surrounded by people with a genuine passion for what they do (whether that’s tech, strategy, content, PPC, social or anything else, for that matter), and it’s this passion that drives them to constantly improve.

No one expects you to know everything about digital marketing immediately, but if you’re not prepared to put the time in to your own development and skills, you’ll be found out.


Work on those people skills gjenero This is not good people skills

Not to say that your people skills are bad, but they’ll need to be top notch if you’re going to make it in digital.

Not only will you need to communicate effectively with clients (some of whom may not have much understanding of digital marketing, and others who’ll have lived and breathed every aspect of digital for years and years), but you’ll need to be a strong collaborator too.

One of the fastest things you’ll learn if you land that dream job is that digital marketers simply can’t operate in siloes. Content doesn’t work without outreach and social; without content, there’s nothing to outreach; and they all need strategy to bring them together in a coherent way.


Give your personal branding some thought


If you’re going for a job in marketing, you should really be able to market yourself. And given that we’re specifically talking about digital marketing here, your online presence needs to be totally ship-shape and Bristol fashion (as I believe the kids say).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you can’t show a bit of personality on your social media profiles (quite the opposite, in fact), but if your online activity is exclusively made up of cat gifs and rants about the current price of Freddo bars, you won’t be doing yourself any favours.

Take the time to show how much you want to work in digital. Tweet interesting articles you’ve written; reach out to influencers within the industry; talk about any personal projects (like a blog or training course) that you’re involved in. Not only will it show your engagement with the world of digital, you might even learn a thing or two in the process.


Think like a client


Maybe the reason you want to get into digital is to immerse yourself in beautiful, innovative creative campaigns, but that’s almost certainly not the underlying reason that brands plough their hard-earned money into digital marketing.

The fact is, clients are ultimately interested in one thing: results. You might have written the best blog of all time (or at least the second best, behind this one) or crafted some razor-sharp personas, but it won’t count for much if your client’s seeing a decline in traffic or plummeting conversion rate.

To be a good marketer, you need to understand how what you’re doing is actually going to help your client achieve their marketing objectives. So swot up on what works and why, in terms of Google’s ever-changing algorithms and the impact it’ll have on a client’s bottom line.


Final word


So there you have it: a few points designed to help you on your way to landing that dream digital marketing job. If you only take one thing away from this article, it’s that enthusiasm really is key – you won’t be a good marketer if you don’t genuinely care and enjoy what you’re doing.

If you’re ready to take the next step toward a digital marketing career, send your CV to