An apprentices guide on how to start a career in digital marketing from experience.

After losing myself in the chaos that has been 2020, I was looking to start over. I wanted to find a career that would take advantage of my skills and challenge me. 

I’ve worked in customer service, production, management; and none of them exactly fit what I was looking for. While stuck inside with the rest of the world I thought about what I’m good at and marketing came to mind. It incorporated so much of what I enjoy doing: writing, creating content, appealing to people’s wants and desires. Now I just needed to figure out how to DO IT with minimal experience under my belt. 

That’s how I found Acadium and after a summer full of learning, I’m here to let you in on everything I wish I knew when I got started.

1. Acadium free courses are on par with Hubspot for all of the value and knowledge they have.

If you’re a novice in marketing, completing a few of the courses will set you up for success. Starting, I knew the basics of social media and had worked as a social media manager with limited know-how, but the Acadium courses gave me the background I was missing and introduced me to the true language of marketing.

There are courses for everything you can do in the industry, allowing you to expand your knowledge or look into a new skill without any risk. But the courses alone won’t help you start a career in digital marketing. Matching with an actual business mentor to complete an apprenticeship is where you will find the maximum value. 

2. There are all types of businesses that you can work with as an apprentice to start your career in digital marketing.

Agencies, small-businesses, solopreneurs- whatever kind of experience you want, you can find it. While most internships are highly competitive and through large agencies, Acadium makes getting hands-on experience accessible for anyone who wants more practice in marketing.

The best thing is, mentors are there to help you learn whatever it is you want to get more skill in. Whether you want to grow your own business on social media or add to your portfolio to show to potential employees, you can find someone who’ll help you gain the tools you need to succeed.

3. You have control over your experience and who you work with.

The apprenticeship is about creating a mutually beneficial working relationship – so don’t be afraid to interview potential mentors to make sure they’re a good fit. Before Acadium, I felt like I should take every opportunity because I didn’t feel qualified. I let my lack of confidence lead me into situations where I didn’t feel supported. Acadium is different from any other apprenticeship program because you have the opportunity to interview potential mentors just as much as they’re interviewing you. Thie way you can determine if the mentor is actually going to help you to start a career in digital marketing.

“Acadium is different from any other apprenticeship program because you have the opportunity to interview potential mentors just as much as they’re interviewing you”

4. Be a little picky and trust your gut about people.

The best gifts you can give yourself when looking to start an apprenticeship are patience and a critical eye. If you don’t think you’ll work well together after an interview, don’t feel pressured to sign the contract. Ask the tough questions and treat it like any interview you would be going through for a paid position.

In a lot of ways, the three months you’ll be working with this person are like a trial period to test out a career in digital marketing. Many apprenticeships turn into paid full-time positions, or freelance opportunities after the apprenticeships are completed. Remember that you’re committing your time to this person and you should feel confident that it’s well invested.

5. Apprenticeships are built to test your soft skills just as much as your technical abilities.

Throughout my time using Acadium I’ve been floored by the attitude that everyone in the community has when it comes to technical experience. It boils down to this: it isn’t everything. Sure, you need to understand how to develop skills like building personas and campaigns to do the work, but it’s equally important that you know the things that are harder to teach.

Where most traditional internships and apprenticeships rely on how you can show what you do, Acadium flips the script and urges businesses to see you as a person first. After all, everything we do is about working with and knowing people and that doesn’t live in a resume or portfolio.

“Acadium flips the script and urges businesses to see you as a person first.”

6. You will go through an adjustment period.

Working remotely is the new normal and accountability and organization will become your best friends and worst enemies. Make a plan, stay organized, and treat it like a paid gig. With that in mind, schedule your apprenticeship time every week (Acadium has a scheduling tool within apprenticeships) so that you have a structure for your days.

For those of us who are career transitioning, this can be overwhelming, so make sure that you lay the groundwork that will help you succeed in apprenticeships and if you have to continue to work remotely.

7. The other biggest tools you’ll use have nothing to do with scheduling posts or making content.

To be successful, you need to be a great communicator and know your limits so that you can set clear boundaries which are key to not only a career in digital marketing but any career. It’s easy to lose track of time and work past the 10 required hours each week. Working within that time frame will teach you what you’re capable of without burning out. There will be weeks where the workload is over that time limit. When you have the boundary in place, you’ll be able to figure out the moments when it’s a necessary increase versus when someone is taking advantage of your tenacity.

I also can’t stress this enough, rate your mentor every week. It isn’t just for them to get better, it’s practice for you communicating your needs and a way for the Acadium team to make sure that everything is going okay.

8. Acadium Plus is so much more than another marketing training program.

For someone trying to start a career in digital marketing, Acadium Plus is an important foot in the door to contacts that will be in your corner throughout your career. I came into Acadium Plus after doing courses on the platform for about a month and still felt like I didn’t know what I was doing even though I’ve been managing the social media accounts of businesses for over two years.

Sure, Acadium Plus introduced me to tools and helped me gain confidence in my abilities, but what has stuck with me the most is the people. I’ve made business contacts and friends in that community that will invaluable to me in the future of starting a career in digital marketing. It was the community that made me choose Acadium Plus over other career training programs out there right now, and there’s a reason that your professor will constantly encourage you to engage, it’s the piece that can make all the difference in networking and finding a job.

“It was the community that made me choose Acadium Plus over other career training programs out there right now”

9. The community that Acadium has built will be your greatest asset on your job search.

I know I just sang the praises of the Acadium Plus community, but there is so much more that has been built to support apprentices outside of the paid program. The Facebook Apprentice Community is full of knowledgeable apprentices who are always there to listen and offer advice.

Every week the channel posts mentor spotlights that can point you in the direction of an apprenticeship opportunity. Additionally, the members come from all walks of life. Just like the Acadium Plus community, everyone there is working hard and wants you to succeed, so going there and reaching out is a great first step in your journey.

10. The most important thing I have learned is that we are all our own best advocates.

I know this can be easier said than done, especially when you’re going through a career transition. You’re not sure that you know what you’re doing. I’ve learned that it’s okay to be new in this industry. Having a history of changing career paths isn’t a negative, it just makes you unique. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or fight for what you need. And above all else, don’t shy away from being proud of your accomplishments and what makes you different. Digital marketing is the people’s business, so remember that having a unique experience and being a passionate person is an asset, not a liability.

“Digital marketing is the people’s business, so remember that having a unique experience and being a passionate person is an asset, not a liability.”

When I started on this journey of pursuing a career in digital marketing, I didn’t feel like I would ever get hired at an agency or be a professional social media manager. Now, I’m finishing up my second apprenticeship and applying for more jobs every week. The most shocking thing is, I am confident and qualified for all of them. 

All of these points contributed to getting me where I am now, and I just gave them to you for free, so take them with you. I hope they give you the same strength I’ve gained over the last 6 months.

Tasha Erdmann headshotNatasha Erdmann is nearly 30 and still finding herself (which is totally okay). She’s working every day on being a more dynamic writer and digital marketer. Natasha eventually hopes to find her place in the industry working on campaigns for brands that inspire people.

She currently lives and works remotely in the West Virginian woods with her cat and is anxiously waiting for the pandemic to take a chill pill so she can move back to civilization.