How to get your first job in Digital Marketing

What is digital marketing?

Digital Marketing is essentially all marketing that takes place online. This includes everything from email, to social media, to websites, to digital advertising. One of the huge benefits compared to traditional marketing is that everything is highly trackable. 

Digital marketing has become an extremely important part of most businesses as it’s what creates brand awareness, builds online communities and drives sales with the intention of retaining customers. 

Digital marketers work in many ways, whether in-house for a particular company, at a marketing agency, at a specialist agency such as SEO, freelance or as a consultant.

Once you have a few years experience you can decide where to go.


How do I get into digital marketing?

There are many ways to get into digital marketing, but it can be hard getting that first bit of experience. Here are seven ways you can take that first step:


1. Volunteer

Volunteering is one of the best ways to gain experience and develop your digital skills. Many small businesses, charities and events need volunteers with digital know-how and would be happy to have you help promote their campaigns, events and products as they may be constrained by budgets and staff. You can reach out to people through LinkedIn, email, social media pages or even in person.

2. Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship is training delivered on the job, that is you are paid to learn and apply that knowledge in your job role. Apprenticeships are great for anything that you really need to DO to learn it, and there has been a huge increase in the number of digital apprenticeships for this reason.

Apprenticeships are open to most people:

  • you must be aged 16 and over
  • there is no upper age limit
  • GCSE grade C and above in English and Maths (or equivalent)

Apprenticeships allow you to earn as you learn and get a job in industry even when you have little to no experience. A Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship can be a great starting point as it gives you a strong foundation across a range of digital marketing subjects.

You also have the opportunity to continue building your knowledge and skills by going onto higher level apprenticeships such as Level 4 Marketing Executive and Level 6 Marketing Manager apprenticeship, which is a degree-level apprenticeship. They do not discriminate against age, location or experience.

Find out more about Digital Marketing Apprenticeships

3. Learn practical skills

There are also heaps of FREE courses and exams available to teach yourself the basics and show recruiters that you’re serious about digital marketing as a career. These look great on your CV and give you real world skills. Google Analytics Academy and HubSpot Academy are a great place to start:

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is essentially a web analytics tracking tool used to collect the data of people viewing and interacting with a website. It’s an essential tool for almost every digital marketer so why not get ahead by completing Google’s free qualification?

There is a beginners and advanced course, and you complete an exam to receive a qualification. The course includes a mock business so you can work through practical examples as you go. Having this qualification alone will already put you leaps ahead of the competition as you’ll have the basic knowledge to hit the ground running. 

Find out more about Google Analytics qualification

HubSpot Academy

HubSpot is a major American developer of sales and marketing software, most known for its CRM (customer relationship management) database tool used by thousands of businesses worldwide. They also provide incredibly strong, free marketing courses through HubSpot Academy. 

Hubspot Academy has dozens of really valuable on-demand courses that practising digital marketers use to upskill on topics such as Content Marketing and Social Media. Each course includes an overview of what you will learn and how long the course will take, usually around 6-7 hours. And you receive a certificate on completion. 

Once again, if you have none or very little experience in digital marketing, these will help tremendously. They are perfect for learning remotely in your own time. and increasing your knowledge to nail that interview.

Check out HubSpot Academy courses

4. Blogging

Another great way to both learn and show your interest in digital marketing is blogging. You can create a blog on anything that interests you, even your own life! Adding this to your CV shows your initiative and demonstrates what you’re capable of. It can also help you build skills in copywriting, graphic creation, data tracking and using social media to promote your blog. 

Great blogs know their audience, have a clear tone of voice, use strong imagery and graphics, know how to build and engage an audience, and drive traffic to a webpage - that’s exactly what digital marketers do. 

By blogging, you’ll get to build your skills with popular digital marketing tools such as Canva, WordPress and loads more. 


5. Create social media pages 

Using social media is also another great way to show off your creativity and also to learn the ins and outs of the constantly changing platforms. It also looks great on your CV if you can demonstrate this! 

Making socials such as a YouTube channel, Instagram page, Facebook page or Twitter and learning how to increase your following, likes and views will leave a really good impression on the interviewer. 

You can also offer to run and create social pages for small businesses, events or nonprofits for free, they may be happy to get the extra promotion and it gives you the chance to gain experience. Social media is one of the biggest opportunities in terms of volunteering as many businesses such as nonprofits don’t have the in-house talent or budgets to promote certain campaigns. 

6. Create a CV that stands out 

Access free Canva templates

Using your CV to gain the initial attention of the employer is the first step in getting an interview. But it can be hard to stand out when you don’t have much experience.

This is where you want to show your passion for starting a career in digital marketing and include any digital marketing experience you have whether it was paid, voluntary, for a personal project or simply self-directed learning such as completing a HubSpot Academy course discussed above. Any of these things will add gold to that dreaded blank document.

The job has to suit you as much as you suit it. You’re more likely to get a job if you’re passionate about what the company does. Try to apply for roles at organisations that do something you would be enthusiastic talking about.

Share your hobbies and interests, let them get to know YOU. Everyone applying for an entry-level role will have limited experience, employers will be hiring for fit as much as experience - show them why you’d be a great fit!

If you want to find out more information about what to include and what looks good, then click here to view a digital marketing apprenticeship recruiter’s tips on making your CV stand out.

7. LinkedIn - your digital CV

LinkedIn is also an excellent way to not only improve your social media skills, but to also network and attract the attention of recruiters. Your LinkedIn profile is your digital CV, and recruiters are regularly reaching out to people via LinkedIn.

This is one of the best platforms you can use, so show off work you have been involved with and use it to connect with people in the industry. If you don’t have much experience, include any free courses you’ve done. For example if you’ve done the Google Analytics exam, this counts as a qualification.

Follow accounts such as the Chartered Institute of Marketing, well-regarded digital marketers such as Neil Patel and Donald Miller, and leading digital marketing apprenticeship providers in your area. You can share content about things you find interesting. Write a really good blurb about yourself to show you’re passionate and want to start your career in digital marketing.

What makes a great LinkedIn profile photo


Is an apprenticeship worth it?

As a digital marketing apprenticeship provider, we may be biased thinking apprenticeships are a great way to get your foot in the door and build real, practical skills, but they really are! But they're not for everyone, it's an 18-month commitment and requires a lot of hard work to get the most out of it.

The hardest decision you may have is finding the right apprenticeship provider, as like with anything, there are good and bad. Researching the provider you’re thinking of going with is crucially important: are they going to provide the high-quality training you need? Do they work with companies that want to help you grow and progress in your career? Are you going to be paid a good salary? These are all questions you should have in your mind.

A Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship is 15-18 months long, you want to look for a job that is going to give you the opportunity to develop your skills and offer career progression beyond that.

Salary is also another big decision element. Apprenticeships can be paid at minimum wage, but the entry-level salary for a digital marketer is £20,000 so keep that in mind. A good company will use apprenticeship training to build your skills so you can become a valuable part of the team, not so they can get cheap labour.

Read about how Rebecca used an apprenticeship to become a Digital Marketer

Where could a digital marketing career take me?

Digital marketing offers many different opportunities for career progression. After a couple of years you may want to specialise in a specific field such as SEO or content creation, or move into freelancing. You may want to try agency work which will give you exposure to working for different businesses and campaigns, or you could find a company you’re really keen to focus on and decide to go in-house and move up the ranks.

Good luck!

Want to meet some of our marketing apprentices?

Meet Kim, a media and communications graduate

Meet Will, a popular music production graduate and content specialist

Meet Jasmine, who left A Levels to start her dream job



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