If you’re looking to break into the digital marketing industry, there’s no better time than now. According to the US government, the digital economy is growing 10 times faster than the traditional economy which will result in a skills gap of 900,000 vacancies by 2015.

We’ve compiled our top tips for aspiring digital marketers who wish to kick-start their career today.

​1) Eagerness to learn

The digital marketing industry is both fast growing and incredibly competitive. It’s easy for businesses to differentiate between candidates who have the willingness to learn, and who are along for the ride. This industry requires passion and a desire to succeed.

2) Stay Updated

You need to keep on top of industry news by following major digital marketing sites and influential people on social media. As the major players such as Google, Facebook and Twitter regularly tweak their paid advertising platforms and algorithms, you’re in for a wild ride if you don’t keep on top of the latest changes.

Here’s some recommendations on websites to get started –

SEO – Moz, Distilled, SEOGadget, Search Engine Land

PPCPPC Hero, Search Engine Land

Social MediaSocial Media Examiner, Social Media Today

ContentHubspot

3) Networking

Surround yourself with people more talented than yourself. The people you meet will be your ongoing support network when you run into problems, as well as help to open doors to opportunities you might not have otherwise found.

Attend industry meetups and conferences in your area to nurture relationships with other digital marketers and enhance your skill set through in-depth workshops and presentations.

4) Personal Projects

Try out your own ideas and don’t just treat industry leaders’ opinions as gospel. Everything isn’t always black and white in the digital marketing industry with many grey areas between best practice and what can actually get results for a business.

Every digital marketer should have personal projects to test out theories, try their hand at multiple disciplines (SEO, PPC, Social Media, Content Marketing etc.) and be able to take accountability for the success or failure of a project.

5) Learn the terminology

 Digital marketers needs to be comfortable with acronyms such as PPC, SEM and SEO. They are all very different terms with a misunderstanding of them being a clear sign that you have a beginner’s skill set and need further training. The ability to analyse digital marketing campaigns and understand what elements worked or not is dependent on your ability to understand industry jargon.

6) Build your personal brand

Fancy yourself as a digital marketing hotshot but you have no visible online presence? If you want to show to an employer that you can build their company’s visibility then you need to show that you can firstly build your own personal brand.

A strong online presence could potentially be the deciding factor between two candidates who have applied for the same position.

7) T-Shaped Marketer

As a term commonly used by Rand Fishkin of Moz, it refers to having a basic understanding of multiple marketing disciplines but specialising in one or two particular skills.

It’s not uncommon for companies to find candidates with a broad digital marketing skill set to be a valuable asset as there’s considerable cross over between the different channels. It will also make you better equipped for choosing a more specific path of focus that you can specialie in.

8) Get Nerdy

Digital marketing can often be perceived to be quite glamorous, but truth be told it’s often more technical and data driven then we would care to admit. You won’t be developing websites from scratch but you will be communicating your marketing strategy to a team of developers or designers who have a responsibility for incorporating your recommendations.

A basic knowledge of HTML and graphic design would help to make you stand out among the less technically minded candidates.

9) Metrics are King

Do you know your CPC from your CPA? If you want to set yourself apart in an interview, talk about the return on ad spend for a campaign you’ve run yourself. It’s easy to talk about an exciting creative concept you’ve helped to develop but the fact remains…money talks.

You really need to understand how each marketing channel has performed and what the key learnings have been.

10) Certification

If you really want to stand out from your peers in the industry, completing a certified digital marketing course will help. One of the issues facing the digital marketing industry is that there are no barriers to entry, meaning that anyone with a loose grasp of industry terminology can potentially get a position in a company.

As this industry matures, recruiters are becoming more savvy about what differentiates a candidate that can talk the talk, but maybe will be a costly mistake for the company.

Post appeared on Digital Marketing Institute