“Thanks for applying, but we’re looking for a candidate to have previous experience in this field.”

This statement is all too familiar for recent graduates and those who’ve decided to make a career change to marketing.

Don’t you wish there was a way to change it into, “We love your experience, welcome to the team!”

By the end of this article, you’ll not only be equipped to move forward but also confident enough to launch your digital marketing career into the stratosphere…or maybe even whatever is above that layer of space.

Let’s begin!

analytics on computer

What is digital marketing?

Well since you asked, or even if you didn’t, it’s important to first address the meaning behind this term.  Also known as “conversational” marketing, it encompasses online strategies used by brands and companies to reach a target audience and convert them into customers.  

Some of the techniques are:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Social Media
  • Blogs
  • Paid Ads
  • Website creation

This list is far from complete as the industry changes just about as fast as new technology hits the market.  For example, artificial intelligence, which is relatively new to businesses, is adding to the capabilities of digital marketers and the customers they serve.

When it comes to the digital marketing career outlook, it’s worth noting that by the year 2023 it’s predicted Chief Marketing Officers will devote almost $150 billion of their marketing budget to this particular niche.

Next let’s look at the skills needed to get your foot in the door. 

Women looking at computers

How to Start a Career in Digital Marketing

One unique characteristic of this industry is the varied skill sets that are held by its employees.  It’s a marketplace where mathematicians, creatives, and analysts work alongside each other on a daily basis.  

Are you still mulling over whether you can be successful in this realm?  It’s wise to identify any gaps in your “toolbox” before making a major switch to uncharted territory.  

Some skills employers look for:

  • Engaging writing style;
  • Ability to interpret data;
  • Familiarity with social media;
  • Ability to understand consumer behavior;
  • Comfortable with learning new technology.

guy on laptop smiling


The skill I would put at the top of my list if I was looking to hire a digital marketer would be “teachable.” 

This soft skill can quickly separate those who are looking to collect a paycheck from those who are hungry to become an expert.  

Understanding the specific tools marketers use is important, but being an expert isn’t necessary. Each company has their own onboarding to familiarize you with their platforms.  Even if you end up working remotely with an agency, videos demonstrating how to navigate each tool are most likely available to you on Youtube.

Don’t let stress creep in just because you haven’t already mastered 100 marketing tools. 

Now that you’ve determined where you stack up with your current skill set, let’s look at some concrete ways to stand out from the pack.  

analytics on computer

Preempting Your Digital Marketing Career Growth

How can I get a marketing job when employers want experience and I can’t get experience without a job?  

  1. Make yourself more marketable to prospective employers by creating a LinkedIn profile.  This will serve as your “digital resume” and is the first place many recruiters will look to learn more about you. 
  2. Next, adopt the mindset of a lifelong learner.  Speaking from experience, I was feeling pretty good about my degree until I realized I had very little actionable digital marketing knowledge. Rather than seeing it as a barrier, I quickly readjusted my expectations and reminded myself the real learning was about to begin!

Now that we’ve laid a foundation, it’s good to compare the benefits when deciding on what size company you want to work for.

Is It Better to Make My Career Change With a Large or Small to Midsize Company?

Ultimately this decision will depend on your valuation of the pros and cons for each, but I’d like to share my reasoning behind starting small.

A few selling points for small to midsize:

  • Mentorship from business owners or other leaders
  • Ability to make an impact and a name for yourself early
  • Given more responsibility and wide-ranging experience
  • Exposure to all the pillars of digital marketing
  • Work with clients across varied industries
  • My personal journey has benefited tremendously from having a direct line to the owners of the current digital marketing agency I work with.  

Besides the hands-on training that quickly caught me up to speed with the specialized areas to add to my repertoire, a more valuable feature of this hybrid agency style is learning how to successfully run a business and avoid pitfalls.  

Wearing many hats also adds to your value, and allows you to grow into a management position sooner than you would in a large organization. 

Final Thoughts on Digital Marketing

It’s been my pleasure to walk you through a basic introduction to the industry that I’ve truly come to love.  My digital marketing career path will look different from yours, but it’s my genuine hope that overall this guide has given you at least one or two solid takeaways.

I want to leave you with a couple of additional reasons for joining me in this exciting arena:  

  1. Find an outlet for your creativity
  2. Work with people from different disciplines 
  3. Kickstart your career in a cutting-edge industry
  4. Leverage the demand in negotiating your salary
  5. Discover your specialized area of marketing

Here I am trying to sell you in pulling the trigger on a career in marketing when you’re already interested.  Or else you wouldn’t be reading this, would you?

I guess marketing habits die hard 😉 

If you’re looking for a solid platform to not only increase your industry terminology but also jumpstart your career, I can think of no better place to do that than Acadium.  

They are a big part of the reason I’m continuing to develop into a marketing expert through the company they introduced me to via an apprenticeship.

Now it’s your time to make a name for yourself!  I won’t say good luck because I personally believe you can accomplish anything when you put forth enough effort.  So I’ll just say go get em!

Elijah Shoesmith

Elijah Shoesmith, Digital marketing specialist, Musselwhite Marketing

As a digital marketing specialist and client account manager, I continue to grow in my career with Musselwhite Marketing.  Connecting with a company who believed in my potential, despite a lack of previous marketing experience, gave me the confidence to put my all into digital marketing.  Because of Acadium’s orchestration in putting us together, I continue to spread the word on this wonderful platform.