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What to look for in an entry-level digital marketing position

It keeps getting harder and harder to find a good job in the digital marketing industry. With countless factors in play, navigating your way onto the right career path takes endless applications, patience, and persistence. Given this sea of openings, some companies have made a habit out of posting intentionally misleading jobs in order to attract a wider group of applicants to their organization. Younger marketing professionals have become especially targeted by these methods, as they are typically more desperate and less knowledgeable on the job-hunting process. Here are some tips to help you sift through the job boards to find the right opportunities that are not only legitimate but will also provide the best fit for you.

Pay attention to the job requirements

An ideal job will balance your skills and talents with your interests and passions. In a perfect world, you’ll get paid to do something you’re good at and something you enjoy. The style of your workplace should also align with what you want and serve as an environment you feel you can fit in well while also being productive and successful. These are key aspects to keep in mind when dissecting a digital marketing job listing. Some jobs list unrealistic requirements for their applicants, which usually indicates a lack of hiring experience on the part of the employer. Generally speaking, if you feel you meet roughly 70 percent of the job’s stated requirements, it’s worth a shot at applying. Some requirements like certifications and education will be deal breakers, but others like relevant experience and availability will have more wiggle room — especially within the marketing landscape where requirements can vary a lot from one position to the next.

Meeting the experience needs

Most entry-level marketing jobs these days ask for at least three years of previous relevant experience, which often poses a rather catch-22 scenario – how can I gain experience if I don’t have any? Despite this requirement, there’s usually some leeway when it comes to experience. You can still get most of these jobs with less than three years of experience, as long as you make up for it in other areas. Freelancing also offers an effective way to gain experience outside the realm of a full-time position and can go a long way towards boosting your resume. Some jobs state that there is “no experience necessary,” which should be a red flag during the application process. This can often indicate low pay and desperation from the employer, as well as high turnover and undesirability of the role listed.

Beware of a wide salary range

A suspiciously wide salary range – think a $20,000 gap or so – typically means the base pay will be at the very bottom of that range. If you encounter such a scenario, you should question the listing and ask the employer outright what the salary for the job looks like. In certain cases, it’s worth taking a pay cut if it means you’ll be able to get on your desired career path with a good company.

Beware of a company that tries too hard

Capital letters, bold text, and exclamation points on a job posting are not a good look. Why does the employer have to try so hard to attract applicants to their organization? GREAT MARKETING SPECIALIST POSITION WITH HIGH PAY AND BENEFITS!!! is rarely just that. Similarly, overly glamorous job titles can often be used to disguise a menial or undesirable role. If you see the title “Corporate Foyer Ambassador” above the job description for a doorman, don’t fall for it. Unless you want to be a doorman.

Don’t assume anything

Given these points, just because something in a job listing is unclear or seems misleading, it doesn’t always mean the employer is trying to deceive you. If you’re unsure about anything on a job listing but are still thinking of applying, make sure you ask the employer to clear up any uncertainties. And of course, never sign anything without looking at a clear and complete description of your position and contract. Make sure you have all the cards before you place your bet.

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