Internet Marketing. While it’s a really interesting industry to be in and is one that offers a vast amount of growth potential, it’s not exactly the easiest to break into.
Most areas of Internet Marketing are quite specific and require a very tailored skillset in order for you to execute properly. There’s quite a lot you need to know before you can get your career off the ground and even more, you need to learn as you go.
But that raises a pretty big question: Where do you start?
A lot of careers stem from skills that we learn from a very young age. You want to be a curator at an art gallery? Well, good thing you’ve taken all those art classes throughout your elementary and high school years to give you a good background on Van Gogh, Monet, and Dali. Thinking about being a doctor? Luckily you have a good understanding of basic scientific and health concepts to get you going.
Unfortunately, the same can’t exactly be said for Internet Marketing. Within the average education that most people receive in public school, there really isn’t any ground covered on how to show up organically in search results, how to set targets in a PPC campaign, or even the fundamentals on what the heck a Google Display Network is. This has a little bit to do with the fact that it’s a relatively new field, but mostly is because it’s a really niche market. The knowledge you need to be a great Internet Marketer isn’t really needed by a vast majority of the population.
That’s all the bad news. The good news is that there are a ton of educational resources you can use to get informed on the Internet Marketing basics, grow your knowledge in specific areas, and get your foot in the door to start a new career in a rapidly expanding industry.
Here are nine ways you can get a leg up on your competition and break into the Internet Marketing industry:
University/ College Courses
For a majority of people looking to venture onto a new career path, the most obvious option is to enroll in either a college or university program. Now more so than ever, there is a great variety Internet Marketing courses being offered in post-secondary institutions. However, even though this market is growing, it hasn’t necessarily reached every school quite yet.
If the schools in your area don’t offer Internet-specific courses, a general marketing course will teach you any necessary principals you’ll need to apply in your future IM career.
Additionally, if you know what section of Internet Marketing you’re interested in, other standard university courses can help get your foot in the door. For instance, if you’re interested in becoming an SEO, taking a creative or technical writing program will be a huge selling factor when future employers are looking at your resume.
Take Individual Classes
Like I mentioned before, not all universities have full Internet Marketing courses quite yet. And even when they do, if you know you want to specialize in PPC, then the SEO portion of the program could largely end up being a waste of both time and money.
Instead, find a company that offers shorter, more focused programs. A weekend PPC course will give you enough knowledge to understand the basics, while a month-long program could be enough to give you an edge when interviewing for an IM company.
Read Articles, then Read More Articles
Internet Marketing is always changing. Every area of it. Paid search is always changing, organic search is always changing, even the way we track our metrics is always changing. You need to stay up-to-date on the latest changes, what it means for the industry, and how they could potentially help or hinder a website and its performance.
Create a list of your favourite Internet Marketing blogs and make a schedule for visiting them. Are you going to check out TechWyse’s blog every Monday morning? The Moz blog on Wednesday nights? Are you just going to binge on all of your go-to’s on Sunday afternoon? Whatever works for you, make sure you stick with it. Check out this list of Internet Marketing blogs that can get your reading started.
Staying informed on what’s new and what’s changing is easy. Not staying informed and having to catch up on it all is when it gets difficult!
Start a Blog
Getting hired in any industry can turn into a revolving door of frustration. People only want to hire you if you have experience, but how are you supposed to get experience if no one will hire you?!
There’s an easy solution here: Give yourself the experience.
Start a blog writing articles about your opinion on recent IM changes, the history of the industry, or anything else that you’re passionate for. That way when you’re walking into an interview, you’re not only telling them that you have knowledge about the industry, you have something to show them, as well.
Alright, alright. So you started your own blog and you’re showing off your skills. But anyone can do that, can’t they?
Publishing your work is great, but getting someone else to publish your work is even better. Especially if it’s a known name in the Internet Marketing industry!
After you’ve built up a portfolio of blogs on your own website, reach out to IM sites and ask if they accept guest submissions. It may take a little leg work, but once your blog is posted you’ll instantly be a published expert in the field!
Internships are no longer 3-week chores you have to do at the end of your program in order to graduate. Internships today are stepping stones towards building your career.
They’re hands on, experience-building introductions to different career paths. Interns today are integral parts of organizations who are relied upon to carry out tasks, just as any entry level employee would.
Although finding the internship itself isn’t the easiest item on this list, it’s hands down the most beneficial. A majority of companies don’t want to spend time training an intern just to see them walk away when their contract is up; they want to help someone grow so that when their internship is over, they can welcome them on board as a staff member!
And even the worst case scenario with internships is a pretty darn good case scenario: If your contract ends and you don’t get offered a position, you’ll still have all that experience and knowledge to take into your job search, giving you a leg up on the competition.
Unless you’re looking to be a sales rep or account manager, then your future career isn’t going to be in Internet Marketing in general. Find which area peaks your interest the most and start exploring that avenue.
Do you have a niche for display marketing? What about social media branding? Choosing one avenue to concentrate on will allow you to become an expert in that field, and will help you stand out to potential employers.
Your resume isn’t your Tinder profile; people aren’t going to blindly believe what you’ve said about yourself just because you’ve written it down. Potential employers want to see proof that you can do what you say you can do!
One of the best ways to do this is by getting accredited in certain areas. Programs like Google Partners allows you to attend online lectures and take tests, and upon passing, you get an official accreditation. Adding them to your LinkedIn, including them on your resume and mentioning them during your interviews will be the proof you need to show the interviewing company that you actually can talk the talk.
Last but not least is one of the most effective things you can do: Network. Start talking to other people in the industry. Connect with them on social media. Comment on their blog posts and articles. Simply reach out and get your name known! If and when their company is hiring, you’ll have a much better chance at scoring the interview, and even if they’re not, these influencers can likely put you in touch with someone who is.
Right now, Internet Marketing is a career path like none other. The demand is expanding just as fast as the Internet is itself, but the number of people specialized in these fields is still rather limited.
Put these nine tips into play and you’ll be giving yourself the edge you need to break into the Internet Marketing industry.