As every digital marketing professional knows, first impressions are everything. Whether you want to sell goods, services, or yourself, you must hook people’s attention with snappy words and attractive visuals.
If you’re a seasoned marketer on the hunt for your next role or a total newcomer to the field, it is vital that you spend time crafting a killer CV. As well as preparing something clear and easy to read, you must effectively highlight your best assets and qualifications.
Remember that employers tend to receive scores of applications for every vacancy they advertise, with many spending mere seconds looking at a candidate’s CV. As such, it is vital that you capture their attention and convince them that you are worthy of an interview.
If all of this sounds a little overwhelming, don’t worry. While it’s certainly true that preparing an effective CV takes time and effort, your digital marketing dreams may well come true if you stick to the following advice:
1. Start by highlighting your specialisms and experience level
As the world of digital marketing becomes increasingly complex, companies across the world are starting to expand their marketing teams. This means that the available roles within these teams are becoming increasingly granular and specialised. If you are hoping to build a successful and long-lasting career in this competitive field, therefore, you will need to specialise in one or two areas such as search engine optimisation (SEO), data analytics, content writing, UX/website design, social media, email marketing, or search engine marketing (SEM).
Don’t worry if you are totally new to the field. A few brief sentences about your aspirations and career plans, coupled with evidence of your knowledge and education in your chosen area of expertise, should demonstrate to employers that you are perfect for entry-level roles.
2. Place relevant experience at the top of your CV
Many people place their academic and professional qualifications at the very top of their CVs in the misguided belief that these are the most important assets for securing a job. In some fields and sectors, this may well be the case. If you want to work in web design and have a degree in computer sciences, for example, it is a good idea to make this qualification very visible on the page. However, selling yourself in the digital marketing world is also about building up experience and contacts.
Digital marketers often have degrees in subjects not related to their chosen career paths such as the humanities or social sciences. While these qualifications are undoubtedly important, it is fine to place them half-way down your CV. At the very top of the page, feel free to give information about projects you have organised or past roles that have prepared you for the vacancy in question.
3. Be specific about your successes
In the work experience section of your CV, remember to highlight your successes by explaining your methods and results. Providing a brief list of responsibilities is likely to alientate a recruiter / HR Manager as they will have difficulty gauging how effective you were in your role.
If you played an important part in driving traffic to a company website or securing a valuable contract, for example, feel free to write about it. CVs aren’t meant for modesty!
4. No experience in a paid position? A portfolio is key
Everyone has to start somewhere in the competitive world of digital marketing, so don’t be deterred if you’re fresh out of university or changing your career path. To get your foot on the ladder, however, you will need to prove that you have some of the skills necessary for your chosen position.
If you’re applying for web development roles, for example, you should include links to websites you have built and are proud of. If copywriting is more your thing, provide links to blogs that demonstrate your superior grasp of the English language.
Jobseekers who are unable to provide some sort of portfolio are likely to find it difficult to secure interviews in today’s tough hiring landscape. If this applies to you, it is a good idea to spend some time honing your digital marketing skills in your own time before applying for vacancies.
5. Make sure that your CV is digital-friendly
This may sound obvious, but it is very unlikely that your prospective employers will read a hard copy of your CV. Make sure that the layout remains clear and legible across a range of document formats and feel free to experiment with alternative platforms that go beyond the standard Word document.
You could, for example, create your own special website-based CV if you’re so inclined. As well as helping you to stand out from other candidates, it will advertise your strong handle on digital technology. It should be noted, however, that website CVs are trickier to tailor for specific vacancies as they are publicly accessible.
6. Think of your CV as a piece of copy
Strong copywriting skills are a must for every digital marketer, regardless of which specialism they decide to invest their efforts into. In this way, it is helpful to think of your CV as a piece of copy. Get it right, and recruiters will be very excited to interview you. Get it wrong, and they are likely to toss your CV onto their rejection pile.
The key aspects of killer copy are impeccable spelling and grammar, digestible sentences, relevance, and an appropriate tone of voice. To make your CV digestible, you may wish to add bullet points or very short paragraphs. This will make it very easy to read.
You should also ensure you use professional language and avoid typos and errors at all costs. It can be difficult to spot errors in your own work, so remember to ask a friend with a strong grasp of the English language to proofread your CV.
7. Keep it short and snappy
Finally, it is vital that you keep your CV between 1 and 2 sides of A4 (or equivalent if using a different format). Anything longer suggests that you have included too much information that recruiters are unlikely to read. Don’t worry if you have to cut out any information – a decent CV is an advertisement of your skills as a marketer, not a biography!
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