11 Apr How to Start out as a digital marketing apprenticeship – what to expect and top tips
You’ve left college or sixth form and are unsure of your first career move. That is where I was a couple of years ago.
Or perhaps you’ve started your career, but it isn’t right for you and you need a fresh start.
If you want to be in an industry that:
- Is growing by the second
- Allows you to use your creativity
- Involves a huge variety of tasks and skills
- Will develop your technological skills
- Allows you to be flexible and choose your own path
And much more… then digital marketing could be the perfect career for you.
But, how do I even start a career in digital marketing?
Apprenticeships are a great way to get your foot in the digital door and get stuck in to this industry.
In this article we will compare university vs apprenticeships, tell you the best places to look for jobs, expert tips for your CV and interview and exactly what to expect from an apprenticeship in digital marketing. It’s based on when I started out my apprenticeship in food digital marketing
University or apprenticeship – which is best for digital marketing?
The debate between university and apprenticeships has become a real talking point over the past few years as apprenticeships become more popular and accessible.
Which is better for digital marketing?
The best way to approach this is a good old-fashioned pros vs cons.
Benefits of university:
- Graduates typically earn more than those without a degree.
- There are some jobs require a degree… anyone fancy a go at nuclear engineering?
- Students usually have more free space in their timetable and it can be more flexible = more wonderful daytime TV and lie ins.
- Student discount. You shouldn’t really consider this when deciding whether to go to university but… that 10% off is a treat.
- Sweet independence. If you move to halls of residence or to a student house it is great to gain independence and take on some responsibility.
Disadvantages of university:
- This has to be top of the list. With student debt rising to over £50,000 on average, this is a pretty hefty price tag.
- Although degrees can vary, it will be at least a few years before they hand over that scroll.
- The time and money can put a lot of pressure on students, especially if you change your mind on your degree.
- Yes, this can be a disadvantage for some. It can be difficult to manage your money, home life and work load all by yourself.
Benefits of an apprenticeship:
- Earn straight away and get paid to learn about something you’re passionate about.
- Gain experience whilst obtaining your qualification, it’s a win-win!
- The industries that offer apprenticeship schemes are growing every day so there is a huge selection to choose from.
- It is a fantastic opportunity to earn a qualification for free.
- Apply for apprenticeships any time of the year, there are no application windows or deadlines like there is for university.
- You’ll learn really useful skills other than those required for your job, such as communication and how to work in a team.
Disadvantages of an apprenticeship:
- Some fear of missing out on the ‘university experience’. A full-time job may not allow you to socialise as much as if you were at university down to the fact you will have less free time.
- Managing a full-time job and your coursework is a lot of responsibility and can be challenging.
- Although you will work your way up as an apprentice, you will probably start off on a lower wage than if you were to get a normal job.
Conclusion – should I apply for a digital marketing apprenticeship?
The best way to learn the complex world of digital marketing is by doing it and getting stuck in.
Learn how to develop websites, create blogs, manage social media pages, optimise websites… all by actually doing it!
There is no set way to succeed in digital marketing and the best way to grow is through trial and error. This is why apprenticeships are such a great option for this industry and are one of the best ways to make your mark in the beginning of your career.
Gain real experience and build a portfolio of work, all while gaining a qualification.
How to create/structure your CV even if you don’t have much experience
So, you’ve decided on an apprenticeship in digital marketing.
Where do you start?
Your CV is probably a good place.
A CV is the perfect way to express your creativity, excellent writing skills and brilliant work experience.
Are you lacking in digital marketing work experience? Keep reading to find easy ways to gain some.
But first, structuring your CV. Here are some key tips and guidelines to creating the perfect digital marketing CV.
Layout – clear, clean and simple.
This doesn’t mean boring, just not cluttered and confusing.
- Choose an appropriate font in a readable size and keep it consistent
- Keep text organised and in-line
- Avoid long paragraphs and split information up into bullet points or key points
- Keep headings clear and bold
- Make sure the whole document flows and is in order e.g your introduction should be at the top.
Tailor your CV.
Don’t make the mistake of applying with the exact same CV for every job application.
There are lots of different sectors in digital marketing and a ‘one size fits all’ approach simply won’t cut it.
Read the job specification and tailor your CV to suit their needs. Make the skills they are looking clear and stand out in the document. The same goes for your cover letter.
This isn’t a problem for some employers, it can even be a benefit to some as it means your skills can be moulded into what they require.
For your CV, think about all the skills you have gained from previous jobs. Are these transferrable skills that can be applied to digital marketing?
Do you have writing experience? Did you take photos for a businesses social media pages? Did you have a job that required great attention to detail?
Include these skills and explain how you would apply them to the job.
Are you creative?
- Create a unique design or layout for your CV and present the information in an interesting way.
- Include your creative work on the document, such as some of your photography or graphic design.
- Link to your online portfolio, blog or social media pages that showcases your creativity.
Although you may spend hours writing your CV, employers may take seconds to scan over it.
Make sure the vital information is at the top and leave less important information at the bottom.
Have you read over your CV a few times for errors?
This is not enough.
Continually proof read your CV not just for spelling errors, but to make sure it flows and reads well. Also, don’t just check it yourself, try get other people to proof read it as well.
How to gain experience for your digital marketing CV
First things first, research the basics.
Before you even attempt to gain experience in digital marketing, it is a good idea to learn some of the basics.
This simple step-by-step guide to digital marketing is a great place to start.
Blogs are also a great way to gain some knowledge, here are 3 that are perfect for beginners:
- Buffer Blog: Thoughts on Social Media and Online Marketing
- Search Engine Land: Must Read News About SEO, SEM & Search Engines
- Social Media Examiner: Social media marketing, research, news and more.
Once you’ve got the knowledge, you’re half way there.
Gaining real experience can be easier than you might think.
Create your public profile
This could be starting a blog, social media page or any other type of online profile.
Choose an appropriate topic that you’re passionate about and start creating content. Experiment with different media such as video, photography, podcasts, step by step guides etc.
This is a great way to gain experience in content creation and find ways to gain the most online attention.
It is also very impressive to employers to show your passion and dedication through creating content in your spare time.
Get in touch with local companies and show your willingness to gain experience in social media.
Most places will be more than happy to offer a week of free work experience and this is a great way to get a taste for digital marketing.
Be the user
If you are like the 4,156,932,140 people in the world who use the internet, you probably come across a lot of frustrations and confusion when surfing the web.
Start making notes of issues you come across when using your various devices.
Are there certain features of websites you find difficult to use? Have you come across an advert that you found to be problematic?
Similarly, also write down any positive experiences you have with a brand or website.
This will train your mind to think like a digital marketer and how you can give users the best possible experience.
Applying for a digital marketing apprenticeship – where to look and how to do it
Now let’s put that impressive CV and experience to good use.
The amount of job hunting websites is overwhelming. So, where is the best place to look for a digital marketing apprenticeship?
Here are the top ones:
This website specialises in apprenticeships and IT. They have a wide selection of digital marketing vacancies across the UK.
Indeed is a huge website that probably has the largest selection of digital marketing apprenticeships. It also allows you to leave reviews for employers, so you can see what other people have rated them, which is a very useful feature.
This is a company that also specialises in apprenticeships and has a very large selection to browse.
Total jobs is another huge website that has a wide selection. It has lots of in depth filters you can apply to only view apprenticeships that would work for you. You can also save jobs to view them later.
Similar to Total jobs, it has lots to choose from when it comes to digital marketing apprenticeships and useful filters, so you can view the best jobs for you.
The GOV.UK website is a reliable place to apply for apprenticeships. They have the second largest selection of digital marketing apprenticeships on this list.
What to remember when applying for a digital marketing apprenticeship
Before you apply, there are a few things you can do to make an excellent first impression.
Update your Linked In profile, or if you don’t have one, create one.
This is like Facebook for professionals and is one of the best ways for employers to view your profile. Make sure you have a professional, up to date photo and showcase skills and achievements that will grab their attention.
Make sure your social media is appropriate or private. If you like to keep your social media silly or full of party photos, make sure you change the settings so only friends can view your profile. You could even create a second profile that you keep professional and public for potential employers to view.
Make your cover letter original and attention grabbing.
Employers may have 100s of cover letters on their desk to scan through. Make your cover letter is perfectly tailored to the specific job you’re applying for and use it to grab their attention.
Review all the information you have written before submitting.
This is extremely important to spot any embarrassing errors or anything you’ve missed.
Top tips for a digital marketing apprenticeship interview
If you’ve scored an interview for a digital marketing apprenticeship, well done!
You’re so close! Make a great impression in your interview and the job is yours.
However, this is a lot easier said than done.
How do you show your enthusiasm and passion in a professional and concise way?
I know, it’s a challenge.
Research. The. Business.
This is incredibly impressive in an interview when you can show off your extensive knowledge of the business. It shows your passion and how much you care.
On the other hand, if it is evident that you haven’t done any research, this can be quite embarrassing and off putting.
Learn your CV off by heart. Be prepared to be thoroughly questioned on it and don’t allow yourself to be tripped up.
Practice some interview roleplay. Ask a friend to practice an interview with you and ask you some challenging questions.
This will highlight any weak areas you need to work on and plan for. It will also help you practice explaining your stories and work experience in a shorter, more concise way.
Don’t forget the classic job interview rules.
- Be polite
- Be on time (or preferably 10 or 15 minutes early)
- Dress smart and appropriately
- Maintain good communication skills such as good eye contact and listening skills
- Avoid bad habits such as chewing gum, going on your phone, bad language, slouching or other bad body language.
Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before your interview and make time for breakfast. Lay everything out ready that you need to take, which should only be your CV, portfolio, notepad and pen.
It’s interview day! Be confident and self-assured, and don’t forget to shake the interviewers hand and introduce yourself.
Tips for when you’ve started a digital marketing apprenticeship
If you have been offered the job, congratulations!
You’re at the first step of your amazing digital marketing journey. You have a long way ahead of you, but it is time to focus on your first few moves.
How do I make a good impression? What is it going to be like? What if I can’t do the work?
Starting a new job in any industry can be a little stressful and nerve wracking, so try to stay calm and channel nerves into excitement and enthusiasm.
Here are a few helpful tips to get you through your first few steps as a digital marketing apprentice:
It might have been a few weeks or even months since you applied for the job, so read over the job specification again and remind yourself of your responsibilities and tasks.
Also make sure you’ve got all the right equipment, such as a notepad, pens, laptop, phone or whatever else may be required.
Improve on your organisation and productivity
Make a not of how long tasks take you and how you are spending your time. By doing this you can work to improve on your productivity and see how you can better spend your time.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is being afraid to ask questions. If you’re stuck with something, ask.
Don’t turn down help or advice
Even if you think you’ve got everything under control and figured out, never turn down help from your boss or fellow employee.
As an apprentice you are new to this industry and they will be able to provide valuable insight that you might not have thought of.
On your first week you will be flooded with tons of new information. Don’t put pressure on yourself by trying to remember it all. It is a great idea to note useful things down, whether this is where the nearest post office is or how to add a page on WordPress.
Plan your workload
As an apprentice you will need to balance your coursework with your job. If you haven’t already been given one, create your own study calendar.
Plan out how much work you have to do so you know how much time needs spending on it out of your working day.
Introduce yourself to other people in the business and find out what they’re all about. This gives you a great network of professionals that can help you with a wide variety of tasks.
On another note, if you’re keen to start your own business read our blog post called How to start a business – the MEGA guide