5 Tips to Help You Land That Marketing Gig

This guest post was submitted by Maleah Hanken, a Claims Analyst with Principal Financial Group, who holds a Communications degree from the University of Iowa and is an impending graduate of the DMACC Digital Marketing Certificate program.

Digital Marketing ConceptsFor those of you looking to dive head first into a marketing career, be aware that you are jumping into a sea of competitiveness that is growing by the second. These days, it is not easy to walk into a marketing career with merely a bachelor’s degree in hand. It is imperative, in this ever-changing industry, that you are open to constant growth and are consistently finding ways to build career capital. With a majority of marketing strategies taking place online and utilizing new technologies, you can help demonstrate your competence within the new wave of marketing by adding a Digital Marketing Certificate distinction to your resume. As a student of Des Moines Area Community College’s Digital Marketing Certificate Program, I can attest that the experience you will gain is going to boost that resume of yours. With that, I’d like to give you a little bit of what I’ve learned by taking the courses offered through this program.

1. The More Niche the Better

Have you perused any job postings for marketing careers lately? You may have noticed that many companies have ramped up their qualifications for even an entry-level marketing position. Gone are the days where you can walk in with a 4-year degree and a “good work ethic”, you need to have experience utilizing the various facets of digital marketing strategies, software and tools. The niche distinctions within the marketing industry that can help set you apart are having experience with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Social Media, Google Analytics, HTML/CSS, Adobe Photoshop, Content Management Systems and Data Analysis, to name a few. Luckily, DMACC’s Digital Marketing program offers you the opportunity to learn and apply all of these various tools.

2. Build a Portfolio

Digital Marketing ToolsStart your own blog. Write content for an existing blog. Take pictures and post them online. Learn how to design graphics. Become certified in Google AdWords. Code a website from scratch. This is what you can do to help set you apart from all the other applicants going for the same position as you. Have something to show outside of your educational experience. You need to be willing to showcase your abilities so that you can speak on the level of the marketing gurus that have been doing this for 10+ years that will likely be reviewing the resume you sent in for their job posting. And if you’re really good, you’ll be able to speak beyond the level of professional marketers by demonstrating your knowledge of the newest tools/resources being introduced to the digital marketing industry every day. LinkedIn now offers the ability for you to add media and links to any blog, portfolios, or written content that you’ve posted online. Also, there are many sites that allow you to build a digital portfolio where you can have your writing samples, web graphics, photography, and anything else you’ve created all in one place. The earlier you start building your portfolio the better.

3. Bold is Good

Organizations are looking for people who are willing to transcend the boundaries of traditional marketing. The industry is changing so fast and new technologies are gaining traction that require marketers to step outside the norm on occasion and be bold. When you’re searching for your dream marketing career, you can gain a hiring manager’s attention with a bold resume. I don’t mean you need to send in a 3D printed model of your career work, but in the marketing industry, we’re allowed to be a little more creative than the norm. Do yourself a favor and get rid of that standard black and white, bullet point resume template you found in Microsoft Word. There are many sites available that allow you to create a unique resume that is more eye-catching, aesthetically-pleasing and adds a flair of your personality. Personally, I have used a template from the site Canva.com that has a bit of color, a nice heading and is organized so hiring managers and recruiters are pointed directly to the experience I bring to the table. Although some of these templates cost money, there are a quite a few that are free and are sure to stand out from the other candidates who stuck with the standard black and white.

4. Cover Letters are Key

If you want a hiring manager to get a glimpse of your personality and how you might be as an employee, a cover letter is key. Cover letters, despite the burden of writing them, are still a standard in the hiring industry. They offer the opportunity for you to describe what you will bring to the table and why you should be hired. In many hiring interviews, a common question is “Why should we hire you?” You will want to speak to your direct and applicable experience in your cover letter and why your knowledge would make you a good fit for the job. This is additional opportunity for you to be bold. Describe how you developed a social media campaign and brought awareness to a brand, a cause, or even your personal blog. Discuss your ability to utilize keywords and meta tags to increase SEO. If you can show how you use various digital marketing tools, it will help you to not be glossed over by hiring managers. If you have niche experience, bold the relevant words on your cover letter. It will help catch the eye of those reviewing your cover letter and resume.

5. Use The Tools

You can say you have knowledge of various digital marketing tools and software programs, but hiring managers want to know that you can use them. If you are not in a job that allows you introduction to these programs, seek them out yourself. At the very least, you should have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn page so you can speak to your use of social media technology. Within these applications, there are analytical tools and advertising tools that you should tinker with to get experience as well. Try building a Facebook page to play around with the analytical software offered so you can gain experience with it. That way, when you do land your digital marketing gig, you already have a base of knowledge to work with. Also, I would encourage that you find the most popular software programs companies are using today. Salesforce is a top program for CRM. Again, if you aren’t in a position where you can use the software directly, try reading articles about it and watching videos on how companies use it to grow their sales. Knowledge is good, but experience is crucial.


I hope these tips helps you land the marketing gig you’ve been searching for. I encourage you to be intentional and proactive in building your career capital. If you’re looking to get niche experience in this evolving industry, please look into the Digital Marketing Program at DMACC. You will gain invaluable experience in many facets of the industry that will help set you above the rest of your competition. Happy career hunting!

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1 Response

  1. DMACCLeaders says:

    Great post, Maleah! Just a note that students in the Des Moines area looking for a physical/digital portfolio review can contact Two Rivers Marketing. They work with students on critiques.

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