Four key tips to move up the digital marketing career ladder

Four key tips to move up the digital marketing career ladder
Tom Schofield is creative director at digital agency Engage.

For many, a good career involves opportunities to progress however it can be challenging to understand how to get to the top. Although there are different methods of progressing, and people have different suggestions, in my experience it’s often the less traditional routes which yield the best results.

Education isn’t everything

It might come as a surprise but I don’t think it’s crucial to invest in higher education for a successful career in marketing. While there are some jobs which do require a degree, for many, it’s the portfolio and personality which are crucial for securing a career and moving up the ladder.

To really excel in a marketing career, you should invest your time in work experience and internships. These will teach you crucial skills such as understanding different marketing tools, how to work with other people and what you enjoy in such a diverse sector. Work experience will help to define where you fit in the marketing world and the career that you want to pursue. For example, many people whose work experience is at Engage often go on to secure full time employment with us.

Use your initiative

We all know how important initiative is, both at school and in the workplace. Once you’ve started in your career and you’re ready to move up the ladder, initiative is a vital skill to possess.

Understand the role that you want to achieve and do everything you can to get there without being asked. This will show that you take the job seriously and prove that you have the experience and knowledge necessary to achieve a promotion.

Self-initiated projects are also a great tool to use to broaden your awareness of the marketing sector and develop experience. Creatives in particular should take the time to invest in projects where you can develop your own brief and work on something you’re passionate about to show off a skill set. These really show initiative and resourcefulness, and are a great way of boosting a portfolio rather than depending on uni work or freelance projects.

In-house first

It’s often suggested that agency should come before in-house due to the diverse experience you can acquire. However, working in-house first gives you more time to work on your experience and skills, and focus on one project at a time. This gives you the best chance of fully developing yourself and your skillset.

In-house also gives you the opportunity to understand what clients are looking for which can be transferred over to agency life. Ultimately, working in-house first stands you in good stead for moving over to agency and a head start over other people.

Understand how a business works

Specific skills and experience are of course very important in achieving progression up the career ladder. However, the knowledge and understanding of how an agency and clients work is crucial.

Get under the skin of business decisions and why these are made to give you an understanding of where your role fits in and what needs to be done to stand out. The more useful you can be outside of your own role and in the company as a whole, the more integral you’ll become to successfully running the business. This will increase the opportunities available to move up the career ladder.

There are lots of paths that can be taken to achieve success in marketing, however in my experience the development of knowledge and experience through less traditional methods is a great way to stand out and showcase your skills. You mustn’t however forget that the most important factor when aiming for promotions is enjoyment of the job. If you don’t love it, you won’t have the motivation needed to progress.

Photo by Jason Wong on Unsplash

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