Looking to break into the world of inbound marketing? You picked the right time. As companies are learning how to navigate their way through an online world, businesses are eager to hire employees who can help them maximize their online potential. In fact, between 2009 and 2015, the number of Indeed.com job listings that mention “digital marketing” or “inbound marketing” grew by about 867%, with results for “content marketing” or “content strategy” also growing by nearly 350% between 2011 and 2015.
Luckily, for most young professionals, figuring out the Internet tends to be one of our specialties, which makes inbound marketing a very enticing choice for those looking for an entry-level position.
That being said, there’s a big difference between using it for fun and using it as a business, and in order to prove that you deserve a job in inbound marketing, you’ll have to demonstrate that there’s more to your skillset than simply being a tech-savvy digital native with some marketing knowledge. If you really want to land a job in inbound marketing, make sure you’re doing the 8 things below before applying:
1. Research the Company Website
While it’s always important to do some research about the company you plan on interviewing for—regardless of job type or industry—it’s even more important when you’re interviewing for a marketing position. Marketers need to understand what they’re selling, who their audience is, and what voice and tone to use; and your interviewers will want to see how much you already know (as well as test your diligence and online research abilities). You can find pretty much all of this information on a company’s website, so start there. Likewise, check out some of the other companies’ websites in the same industry to see what they look like and see what strategies they’re using. Your interviewer will be impressed to know you have a good understanding of how things work in that particular industry.
2. Prepare Your Social Media Profiles
According to the job postings data referenced above, nearly half of all inbound marketing job postings on Indeed.com contained the words “social media marketing” or “social media management” in their job listing. Since your interviewers will likely do some background research on you to see how active you are on social media, make sure you go through your social media profiles and remove anything that would portray you in a negative way. Businesses want employees who are a good representation of the company, not ones who post unprofessional things online that could also tarnish their reputation for hiring you. A good place to start is by having a well-filled-out LinkedIn profile and professional profile picture, but don’t forget to take down any embarrassing public Facebook photos or delete any obscene Tweets you might have made in the past.
3. Improve Your Social Media Skills
Does anyone remember this Snickers commercial from the Super Bowl this year? It’s actually pretty accurate for what some people think “proficient in social media” means when listed in a job posting.
In reality, businesses want people who have experience managing company pages (not just personal profiles), as well as people who are knowledge about the latest social media updates, best practices, and paid advertising. Make sure you understand the difference between social media marketing and regular social media use before you apply. You should also follow or like the company’s various social media profiles beforehand to show them that you’re familiar with their social activity.
4. Prepare a Writing Sample
Because many businesses will be looking for someone who can help both create and manage new inbound marketing content (e.g., blog articles, tip sheets, eBooks, etc.), bringing a sample of your writing to the interview can help you stand out amongst the other applicants. If the company doesn't ask you to provide one, you should still get a sample prepared.
When we say writing sample in inbound marketing, it doesn't mean turn in your most recent college essay. Instead, think digital: write a blog, publish a Medium article, or at the very least, publish an insightful piece on LinkedIn. These days, there are so many ways to publish your work to a visible, online article, it doesn't take much. Just make sure you remember to proofread for errors before hitting the publish button.
5. Take a Free Online Course
If you know a lot about traditional marketing, but are still trying to learn more about inbound, there are several free courses you can take that will teach you all about the fundamentals of inbound marketing. HubSpot’s Inbound Certification, for example, is free to take, easy to understand, available to everyone, and can be completed in about 4.5 hours. It’s a requirement for Weidert Group employees to get certified, and we would recommend it to any eager applicant looking to prove they’re knowledgeable about inbound—especially those without any prior inbound experience.
6. Familiarize Yourself with Commonly Used Technologies
There are many online tools that inbound marketers use everyday to help them with their jobs. And while some of these tools and programs run on software that’s only accessible to anyone with a paid license; others can be simply accessed by anyone with an internet-connected device and free account. For example, HootSuite is a common social media management site that allows users to monitor activity and schedule social media posts for several different social networks. Before you go in for an interview, create an account of your own and play around a bit to get a feel for how things work and what it does.
7. Brush Up on Your Sales Knowledge
Though marketing and sales are quite different when it comes to job responsibilities, both ultimately share the same goal: help convince customers to buy. That being said, even when working as two separate departments, companies with a proper inbound strategy have both their sales and marketing aligned with each other, so they can provide the best possible feedback and information for securing sales. Even if you’re applying for what seems to be a marketing position, make sure you brush up on your sales terminology and knowledge, and try learn to more about the typical buying/selling process for the industry.
8. Think Analytically
One of the great things about working with computers is their ability to quickly process complex information and store tons of data. This is particularly helpful when working on a website, as every page view, click, scroll, and search can be monitored and analyzed to see how people are using it. That being said, before you apply for a job as an inbound marketer, it’s important that you put yourself in an analytical mindset, as many problems can be solved by simply looking at the numbers. Whether you have experience analyzing website metrics or not, at least make it clear to the interviewer that you understand the importance of things like A/B testing.
Looking the part and being confident and outgoing will only get you so far in a job interview. Show potential employers that you really know what you’re talking about, and that you’re eager to start working for them by following the 8 tips above. Likewise, if you live in northeast Wisconsin and are looking for a career in inbound marketing, check out our Careers Page to see our open positions.
Posted by Alex Sobal Alex has exceptional writing skills and the ability to learn new industries and their complex processes. While at Weidert Group, he was also an avid social media marketer and wrote frequently on online community engagement and content creation strategies for our blog.