Since 2009, I have been recruiting college graduates and young professionals for Fresh Design. While I think most career centers and HR professionals do a very good job preparing candidates for general interviews, I see a lack of knowledge specific to people who want to break into digital marketing. That’s why I compiled an incomplete list of the top five things you can do to increase your chance of getting an entry-level job in a digital agency.
Know your division
Commonly, digital agencies divide their teams into three different groups. They are client services, technology, and creative. It is important that you understand what each of these departments does, and how they work together. For example, if you are going for an account executive position, this will fall under the client service group. This is a foundation for you to understand how you can fit into the big picture.
Show and Show
A polished and well-written resume will, at most, be an admission ticket to your first interview. If you want to impress your potential employers, you need much more. Depending on your desired position, you should prepare for a study case, design portfolio, or an online demo. You should never go to an interview empty-handed; instead, you should bring a tablet or a folder to showcase your work. Also, you better do more than just showing the work; you should walk them through your thought process and tell them the challenges you had to overcome. In short, you should be selling it.
Research on culture
Each agency has its own company culture. While most HR professionals will tell you it is good to fit in culturally, this is more than important in the agency world. You can read the agency’s blogs, pay attention to how to answer the phone, follow them on Facebook and Twitter, find out the company’s history, and find out what they wear to work. All these little things will add up to a company culture profile. This should shape how you interact with the potential employers.
Speak the language
There are specific terminologies for each industry, and digital marketers love abbreviations. If you are going after an entry-level position, it is good to read up on all the popular industry terms. So you can talk about CTR on the next PPC campaign, while considering A/B testing to reduce the Bounce Rate.
Avoid the obvious answers
Your potential employer, on average, interviews about 10 to 20 candidates per position. That means they get an average of 15 answers per question they ask. If you want to get noticed, your answers need to be different. I have heard way too many candidates talk about how Apple or Nike is a good brand. Yes, indeed, these two are the most recognizable brands in the world. However, candidates should avoid these obvious examples and go with something more exclusive or unique. One candidate educated and impressed us with her answer about Indian chocolate branding. It was about two years ago, and I still remember her interview.