By Derek Nelson
When you enter the technology market, you’re not thinking about titles — at least you shouldn’t be. The first stage of shifting your career revolves around gaining experience, exploring roles, and taking advantage of opportunities.
When you start looking for the perfect job in this industry, agencies are attractive because they offer access to diverse markets and disciplines. This variance allows you to be less dependent on a single account, industry, or manager, while giving you the opportunity to determine where your passions really lie. Plus, the nature of a digital agency is fast-paced, which makes it ideal for someone who is transitioning out of one career and into a new one — and someone who is eager to level up.
To move to a digital agency, you need agility and a dedication to learning and relearning your job. Your new career depends on it. With 90 percent of marketers citing themselves as not having digital marketing skills — and technology constantly evolving — training on the job is becoming more and more important.
As businesses continue to shift their focus and budgets to technology, agencies offer more exciting career opportunities than ever. But competition is fierce for these jobs. As you consider a new job, here’s how you can land one of those positions:
1. Search for openings on relevant forums.
Tap into your professional network for job recommendations, but be sure to check industry forums as well. Crains, AdAge’s Agency A-List, this Econsultancy report, and LinkedIn can be great resources for finding openings with digital agencies.
Before you respond to listings, however, think about the type of company that suits you. Agencies range in size from a handful of people to tens of thousands of employees. The smaller the organization, the more hats you’ll wear — your days will be less structured, for better or worse. At a big agency, you’ll likely be working on one account and one implementation for an extended period of time.
2. Be specific about why you want to work with a particular agency.
Let agencies know why you want to work for them. What makes this the right place for you? Why are you a good fit for this specific team? A good trick can be to reference old blog posts and case studies of theirs that taught you something or helped you in a past position.
The clients my company works with are very important to us, so we appreciate when candidates are familiar with the work we’ve done in the past. Someone who says, “Hey, I saw that campaign you did for X and was really impressed by it. Even if I don’t get to work on that account, I’d love to be placed on similar projects” immediately stands out. It indicates that the specific opportunity means something to the person, and it also demonstrates a sense of due diligence.
3. Take out the trash.
When hiring, we search for people with entrepreneurial backgrounds who make their environments their own, as well as those who take pride in executing in uncertain situations. There are days when we will have hazy requirements or we find ourselves doing something we haven’t done before. We don’t say, “That’s not our job.”
We relish in those moments and do the hard work that gets things done. Great digital products don’t just get built through high-level thinking and development talent; they get built by people humble enough to realize that hard, unglamorous work should be done, too. That takes team-focused, committed players. It takes somebody who is willing to take out the trash when it’s full — literally and figuratively.
4. Demonstrate a passion for learning.
An enthusiasm for learning assures agencies that you will perform under any circumstances. It also tells them that they can count on you to stay at the top of your game. When it comes to digital, you should be relearning your job every six months to avoid falling behind.
Agencies seek candidates who possess entrepreneurial mindsets. Insatiable curiosity, positive energy, good judgment, and a bias toward action are the hallmarks of a good digital marketer. Apply these characteristics to your job search, and you will find yourself at a fun and forward-thinking agency in no time.