How to Get Hired as a Digital Marketer

💡📝How to Get Hired as a Digital Marketer

Table of Contents

We see a lot of applications as a performance marketing agency who’s sole resource is its people. During hiring cycles we sit at the other end of the table where hopes are either realized, partially put into question or slightly channeled elsewhere. In 6 years we’ve learned some truths about the pool of digital marketers in Egypt and we’d love to impart that knowledge to improve the culture. There are pieces of advice for all walks of digital marketers but the majority is directed towards entry levels, juniors, (maybe seniors even?)

Before we get into the nitty gritty I’d like to present the below as heartfelt advice to the industry because we want nothing but everyone’s success. It’s all a positive sum game and that entails being real with each other. Empathy is the opposite of sympathy; empathy is honest, sympathy is infantilizing.

1- Don't call yourself a digital marketing specialist or expert, EVER.

From experience, people who call themselves “digital marketing specialists” or “experts” on their profile or CV suffer symptoms of the popular Dunning Kruger effect and are mostly very new to the field. They basically don’t know how much they don’t know and they greatly overestimate their confidence in interviews. Sounds harsh but it’s true, what is a digital marketing specialist? What are you fully in control of? We humbly think there’s no such thing as a digital marketing specialist, remove it from your CV it makes you look like you don’t know what you’re doing.

Anyone who professes to be a ‘digital expert’ in this current age of bleeding edge technology is likely to be treated with a large dose of skepticism by both employers and recruiters. Those with a thorough, advanced understanding of digital know that there’s surely no such thing as a ‘digital expert’. It’s simply too vast a field to become a complete authority in; a field upon which the goal posts are always moving.

2- Certifications and experience always WIN

If you say you’re good at a channel or dashboard (SEO, Google Analytics, etc.) you should have at least practiced that channel with your bare hands for a good 1- 3 years and hopefully have certifications to buttress your experience.

Whilst certifications aren’t everything (really they are not), they are good on a CV coupled with experience. The corollary to the latter is that sometimes we see people who are certified in Google Ads for example but they lack the confidence conferred to a professional from repeated trial and error as well as range of experience.

3- Having growth hacker on your Linkedin bio is not doing you any good.

So you're a growth hacker you say?

If we’re going to get technical let’s just say that there is no such thing as a growth hacker it’s growth lead and ONLY if you have a certain level of experience and not in your first 5 years as an apprentice. Also, growth hacking doesn’t really exist per se, or the way we imply the meaning behind the phrase is often misplaced; just ask Andrew Chen.

Furthermore, we should not put “growth…” anything in our bios unless we’ve successfully worked in or with companies (i.e. startups mostly) where rapid experimentation was the norm. It takes a village to do real growth and the typical growth team consists of 4-5 different specializations that collectively bring about growth, not one person calling her/himself a growth hacker. Personally I have yet to meet one person skilled in all areas of growth and can do them fully on their own with no help whatsoever. Even people who work in startups in the marketing team overplay their hand by saying they know growth. During my thesis work I sat with countless startup founders and all have unequivocally mentioned that there’s so much talk and no action within the pool of digital marketers in Egypt who call themselves growth experts and I can’t agree more. To dispel any reader misconstruing the latter for arrogance on my part, I’m nowhere near being a growth marketer and I specialize as a channel expert in SEO, Facebook Ads and analytics, finished the entire DMI academic track record, certified by Growth Tribe and worked on countless clients in 7 years and I still can’t say I know growth. Be that as it may, this article is not a deep dive into how to do growth but it is important to mention that it takes so much time and exposure to be a real growth marketer and we need to be aware of our true powers when being interviewed so that there’s sincere alignment in our organizations.

Much to Learn

If you want to signal that you’re learning growth, say it! “Growth Lead in training” or “Learning Data analysis” or ‘product management’ or the fluffy but still professional “learning growth as a skill and mindset.” We sit with many candidates who have “growth” on their profiles and their track record on paper always seems questionable, after a thorough meet we realize that we were right in our hunch and advise for more learning and less posturing.

4- The digital marketing field is huge; there's nothing wrong with not knowing

There is nothing more beautiful than an entry level candidate saying that they are good at something and are willing to continuously learn to keep up with the environment. “I haven’t installed pixel codes through Google Tag Manager but as a Facebook media buyer I want to learn it,” is a great example of raw honesty. There’s an overwhelming body of knowledge on overconfidence in the workplace being mistaken for competence, especially among men. This overconfidence starts off during the interview process and continues well after the person has been hired only to the detriment of the organization. In short, try to toe the line between sincere confidence and gritty eagerness and there is nothing wrong with not knowing, only with pretending to know.

5- Media buyers need to go 'full funnel jacket'

Nowadays media buyers can’t call themselves senior media buyers or even media buyers without having done rigorous conversion tracking and analytical work across the funnel of a client with a specific conversion objective. Until you learn ‘conversion tracking media buying’ you can’t be a full on media buyer. When we hire junior media buyers our criteria of selection is based on whether or not they can create and analyze media buying from the click to the purchase, lead or install. It is very important that media buyers gain tracking skills very early on in their career. Lastly, becoming a senior means knowing more than one acquisition channel, working with DMPs, automating reporting, installing javascript without a developer, among other things.

6- Just because you work in social media doesn't mean you don't touch numbers.

We can’t say this enough but social media work is useless without measurement. We interview a lot for social media positions and meet people who have a small (1-3 years) degree of previous experience that can’t answer very simple analytical questions. There’s not much to say about this point but maybe our take on this is that all professionals working in digital have to be well versed and T Shaped. The most sought after marketers in the future are data driven jacks of all trades who are masters of some.

We created the below T shaped skillset for our senior managers who focus on social as part of their depth of knowledge and who need to be brought into the data driven marketing multiverse when hired at ripplemark. Some of the squares don’t apply to juniors but for the most part they do.

I only ask that you mention ripplemark if you’ll use it for your own work etc. 😊

T Shaped Skillset

These are all we could think of, however our teams and department heads keep feeding interesting first interview moments and we’ll keep adding to the list when one makes the cut.