Geoff Scott is the current SEO Content Manager at ResumeGenius.com. He has 5.5+ years of experience in the Digital Marketing industry, and has written, edited, and mapped out content for all types of websites during that span (payment processing, wedding dresses, legal documents, and policy generator websites to name a few). Geoff is particularly adept at creating SEO-forward written content and optimizing webpages to drive more traffic and convert users into customers, but he’s also knowledgable in other facets of SEO — having successfully executed full website audits, ideated and run effective link-building campaigns, developed URL architectures for new websites, and implemented comprehensive keyword mapping solutions. During his free time, Geoff freelances for websites like GoDaddy.com and Movavi.com, and also finds opportunities to enjoy IPAs, dance to deep house with his friends, and destroy said friends in Smash Bros Ultimate.
As someone who stumbled into digital marketing with no experience in 2016, I can tell you personally that marketing experience isn’t necessary to land work in this burgeoning industry. However, almost six years later (including three years as a hiring manager), and it’s apparent that having specific skills (like writing, HTML, and Excel), as well as being able to interview well will help your chances.
Ready to get your foot in the proverbial digital marketing door? I’ll show you how to apply for a digital marketing job without work experience so that you can earn more interviews and eventually land some job offers. From putting together your application to preparing for the interview, here’s how to make your way into a digital marketing career:
- Strengthen your resume by including skills related to digital marketing
To apply for any job (regardless of the industry), you’re going to need a resume. And to get a digital marketing job, your resume needs to be built in a way that makes you seem prepared to learn quickly. Why? Because you almost certainly haven’t developed all the skills necessary to thrive in the role yet.
First, you should focus on highlighting the skills and experience you do have that are relevant to digital marketing. And it’s certainly possible you’ve already accumulated some of these skills and experiences at this point, even without actual “digital marketing” experience.
For example, are you a digital native comfortable using trending apps like TikTok and Instagram Reels? If you’re proficient with these platforms (even if they seem just like fun things you play around with in your spare time), you’d be surprised to know a lot of marketing managers aren’t good at using them. Like myself. Listing these apps in your skills section can help fill out that part of your resume.
Even your typing speed is something that could potentially impress a digital marketing hiring manager. For instance, the most effective members of my team all type over 100 words per minute (WPM). So if you can score over that on Live Chat’s free typing test and then list your WPM in your skills section, hiring managers like myself will notice.
- Include experiences that showcase transferable skills and competencies on your resume
Let’s clear something up quickly — the “experience” hiring managers are looking for isn’t necessarily “work experience.” For instance, have you ever made your own website, completed school projects related in some way to digital marketing, or designed materials for a school club or organization? These experiences show that you’ve already been honing skills applicable to digital marketing.
Even work experiences that might not seem related to digital marketing can help you make the case you’re cut out for such work. Here are some experiences that reflect well on aspiring digital marketing applicants:
- managing money as a cashier (attention to detail, math skills)
- helping customers as a teller (organization, people skills)
- military experience (discipline)
The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Manager I work with regularly doesn’t even look for digital marketing experience in candidates applying to work with him. Instead, the thing he values most is motivation. However, the best play to highlight your motivation isn’t actually your resume. It’s your cover letter.
- Don’t write a generic cover letter
Cover letters might not be necessary in every industry, but they’ll help you land work in digital marketing.
Note that it’s definitely okay to look at good cover letter examples online and get ideas about how you should roughly write and format your own. However, if you end up following a premade template too closely, you’ll hurt your chances of connecting with a digital marketing hiring manager.
For instance, I’ve seen countless cover letters start with this general structure:
Dear Hiring Manager,
My name is [NAME], and I would like to express my interest in the open position at your company. Based on the job requirements, I’m certain I have the skills and experience required for the role.
Although I appreciate everyone who takes the time to apply for a digital marketing position at my company, I appreciate candidates more who clearly put a bit more time into their application. For example, they could include my actual name (it’s on the job description). Plus they could tell me what open position they’re applying for, and explain what skills and experience they have and how it qualifies them for that specific role (because there are several roles open at any given time).
If I read a cover letter and immediately can tell the writer isn’t addressing me with their own words, my interest in their application immediately drops. I don’t expect everyone to use my name (although I notice when they do and like it). But I do expect candidates to write to me and not some vague concept of a hiring manager.
- Showcase your writing skills and sincere interest in the role
Writing a digital marketing cover letter with no experience is fine. But your letter should be even better than one written by an experienced applicant.
In the best cover letters I’ve encountered, the candidates always seem to fully understand the responsibilities listed in the job description, and are then able to illustrate how they’re equipped to handle those responsibilities. If you familiarize yourself closely with a job description, you’re immediately in better shape to write an effective cover letter.
Once you begin writing, focus on why you’re interested in digital marketing and what skills you have that would make you successful in the role. Even if you learned those skills in school, volunteering, interning, or elsewhere, if they’re tied to digital marketing they’re worth bringing up.
Applicants who write clear paragraphs that convincingly explain their desire to work with me and my team are already a huge step ahead of most other applicants. But if they’re also able to touch on a few related skills they’re ready to leverage immediately if hired, they’ll almost certainly make it to the interview stage — regardless of experience level.
- Prepare for your interviews by studying common interview questions
If you’ve made it to the interview stage, the hiring manager has already determined that you seem capable of handling digital marketing work. What they now want to see is what kind of person you’d be like to work with, and how you’d react in different situations.
A digital marketing interview usually entails many of those commonly asked interview questions you read about on the internet. Addressing these comfortably (by preparing for them in advance) will immediately make you seem more confident.
You should also spend a bit of time rereading the job description before the interview. Check out the company’s website so you can better understand what they do and what they’re known for. When an interviewer inevitably asks “Do you know much about what we do here?” you’ll be prepared to answer with confidence, and your interest will come off as points in your favor.
Lastly, there’s a good chance you’ll be thrown a curveball question at some point during your interview. When you’re asked something truly unexpected (like what state would you remove from the US if you could choose), request a minute to think about it. Take some deep breaths, and gather your thoughts. There’s no rush to answer immediately (within reason), so avoid blurting out something that makes you look bad on accident by taking your time before answering.
Equipped with a resume that reflects your transferable skills, a cover letter targeting the specific job you want, and a bit of interview prep, you’ll land your first job in digital marketing before you know it. Good luck on the job hunt!