If you're a recent grad, read this

Over the last year, I've had conversations with people who are interested in entering the digital marketing world, or heading out on their own. So I decided to put together a list of recommendations. Whether you're a recent marketing grad looking for your first marketing job, or you're a marketing strategist hoping to leave the full-time world, here are 5 pieces of advice I'd give you to become more marketable. 

1. Study and get a certification in Digital Advertising

  • Google Adwords: Study for the exam and get the certification. Google makes this easy with Google Academy, and the wealth of courses and resources it offers. 
  • Facebook advertising — Facebook recently launched Facebook Blueprint, which has courses and education on how to advertise and leverage Facebook. Facebook is a tremendous driver of activity for companies, and few have specialists running their programs. This is a wide open opportunity for you to be the expert.

2. Study and get a certification in Digital Analytics

  • Google Analytics IQ Exam: There are several analytics providers, but I have yet to come in contact with a company that does not use Google Analytics. They may use additional analytics solutions, but almost always in tandem with GA. 
  • Follow leading analytics authorities. Some good ones to help you get started: Google Analytics Academy, TableauMeasureSchool.com.

3. Learn a few Excel basics. Most critically:

  • How to create a pivot table
  • How to filter/sort data
  • How to get sums, averages, counts

In day-to-day work, you frequently have to export .csv or .xls files from the platforms you're using. It helps to be able to wrangle data yourself— at least at a high-level. 

4. Learn how to create or edit simple design assets

  • Create a free Canva account. Canva is an online design program that allows you to quickly create ads, templates, email images, etc without needing to understand how to use more complicated graphic design software (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc) 
  • Search for one-off answers on YouTube ("how do I create an Instagram ad in Illustrator")
  • If you're ambitious, you can take an online Adobe Illustrator or Intro to Graphic Design course. (I took this Intro to Graphic Design class, and loved it).

5. Take Lynda's "Become a Digital Marketer" course for a holistic digital marketing primer

This will give you coverage of the broad spectrum of digital marketing activities, and it may expose you to the area that you find you are most fascinated by, and want to specialize in (i.e. paid media, content marketing, SEO, mobile, etc).

That's it! If you dabble in at least a handful of the above, you'll be in a great position to make a contribution to any current digital marketing team.