If you want to become a doctor, an attorney, a CEO, or an architect, there are clear pathways to success. You may even have someone in your family or a family friend who can give you pointers. Digital marketing is entirely different; it's a field that scarcely existed 20 or so years ago, and in its early days, it was folded into the larger profession of marketing. While that's still true today at many companies, you can have a career that is specifically only focused on the digital side of things. But how do you break into something so new that some business owners still may not fully understand its worth and for which few colleges and universities offer a degree? The tips below can help you get started.
Do you have to have a college degree to succeed in digital marketing? Not necessarily, particularly if you are going to work independently. A bachelo's degree can be a requirement for an entry-level job in some companies, so this really depends on the course that you see your
career taking. If you do want to get a bachelor's degree, only a few schools offer degrees in digital marketing. Even if one of those schools is convenient for you to attend, you may want to consider a different type of degree to give you a broader education, such as one in marketing, communications, business, or computer science.
An alternative to a traditional education is putting together a course of study for yourself based on what interests you. There are free online courses as well as paid ones you can take online or offline that can teach you specific skills. Some paid courses may offer a certification as well. If you go this route, do your research carefully and make sure that the institution or individual offering the course is reputable. One way to pay for some of these courses is with a personal loan. You may be able to research online and find lenders who offer favorable interest rates and a repayment plan that suits you. Because this is a fast-moving field, cultivating an attitude that is always open to learning new things, whether you have a formal education, will serve you well.
You don't need to have a professional position to start building a portfolio as a digital marketer. There are organizations that would love to have a digital marketer volunteer their skills. There are many more that may not even be aware of the value you can bring to their organization. Look for opportunities like this and not only will you build a portfolio, but you'll also have the opportunity to do some important networking.
This is a field where having a personal brand can be critical as well. What qualities do you want people to think of when they think about using your services? Are you quirky, fun, and creative? Maybe you want to attract only high-end clients, or maybe your interest is non-profits or politics. Think about your values and the kind of work that you do or hope to do and how you can get that across in both your online presence and in how you present yourself in face-to-face interactions with others.
Making connections with others is an important part of landing both your first paid job and subsequent ones, and while volunteering as you build your portfolio is one strategy, you'll need others. One is to look for local and national professional organizations and whether they have conferences or other events. If you can attend a national conference, you can meet a lot of people and learn a great deal. However, if these types of events are too far away and out of your budget, don't despair.
First, there are plenty of opportunities to network online. Second, you can also look to forming a group locally of like-minded individuals. Be open to meeting other people in general, not just in situations related to work. If you think about networking as relationship building at its core,
you may find yourself chatting to a neighbor or to a relative's friend at a wedding who is in digital marketing as well.
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