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I received a great email from a college student this week asking for advice in what items to study in order to have a career in our field of Online Marketing. I loved the approach and took the time to write some notes, which I thought others may want to hear.  Most of this is a quick email ramble and need refinement, but here’s the start:


Now that marketing is going more toward the web, we look for a unique mix of marketing savvy and technical capability.  It’s a hard mix to find.

Of importance to us are:

Certifications.  These are relatively simple to get and in most cases they are free.  Getting these shows you’re willing to invest in learning some in-depth topics and have some experience working with systems you would use in marketing on an almost daily basis.  Google Anatlyics, Google Adwords, Facebook Blueprint, DistilledU.

Personality fit.  If we’re going to spend 40+ hours a week with a new hire, we want to enjoy being around them.  I don’t care what they’re capable of, if they don’t get along they can’t succeed.  Being confident yet without ego.

Ability to listen to a potential client talk in depth about their business, then concisely break down their competitive advantage, value proposition, estimate the target market and identity areas of opportunity in online marketing.

HTML/CSS proficiency.  You don’t have to know how to build a website from scratch, but you do need to know how to make minor edits to a website.

WordPress experience.  Just about every website we deal with is WordPress based, along with 20% of the internet.  You will almost certainly run into this and everyone should know how to use it.

Familiarity with Reporting.  Google analytics, Facebook insights, Google AdWords reports.  These are the top 3, but being able to read reports and pull the more important info for a client is something we look for.

Photoshop experience.  Experience level depends on the position we are hiring for, but everyone should know how to manipulate an image when needed.

Be comfortable with Mac’s.  The only PC we have is used for testing websites and is always at risk of being thrown out a window by our developers.

Social Media experience.  Show past campaigns you have run as well as measured results from the campaigns.  Anyone can post stuff to social sites, we want to see that people had an objective and found a way to meet it.


At the end of the day, our clients want to know that we help generate more revenue than people spend on us.  Our job is to do marketing tasks that achieve this ultimate goal.  The more an employee can have a wide mix of skills and execute a project on his/her own, the more valuable they are to us.

Portfolio Pieces: Here I like to see that people took a problem and saw it all the way through to executing a solution.

I want to know that if I hire a person, they can see a project from beginning to end with very little oversight so that I can focus on the multitude of other things/projects I have to do.  Keep in mind that we are a small company and are looking for a wider skill set than larger agencies may look for…they may want a specialist in one specific area.

Most importantly: Be a great self-learner.

Neither me, nor 10 years of school can teach you everything you need to know to make clients happy. Being able to learn on the job is more important than anything. Google will be your best friend at just about any job.  We appreciate portfolio pieces where you broke out what skills you knew going into it and what skills you had to learn during the project, the ability to learn and adapt is of huge interest to me in new employees.