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There are many reasons to begin your digital marketing career with a ‘paid’ internship. Beyond the obvious, i.e. the chance to put your learning into practice, internships help you learn how to work within a team, delegate, take ownership, meet deadlines… These are invaluable skills to have and will help you grow at every stage of your career.
When you complete the Digital Marketing Specialization you will have a richer understanding of the foundations of the new digital marketing landscape and acquire a new set of stories, concepts, and tools to help you digitally create, distribute, promote and price products and services.
Note, we began by emphasizing on the ‘paid’ aspect of internships. Aside from obvious monetary benefit, landing a paid internship will teach you more about shouldering responsibility and being professional than if the internship were free.
The organization too will be keen to maximize value from the internship so they will assign important tasks, mentor you and generally help you grow into your role. Having invested time and effort in grooming and growing their interns, most organizations absorb the interns as full time employees.
So how do you land the internship of your dreams?
Landing an internship as a digital marketing professional is no different than scoring a job with a desirable organization. The competition is fierce and good employer organizations are picky about who they bring on board. However, there are some things you can do to stand out from other applicants.
Building a blog is a learning in itself. It will help you understand what is involved in buying a domain, hosting space and setting it up.
It will help you identify a niche that you’re passionate about—other than digital marketing—and let you put the focus on any expertise you may have in this area. It could be anything you truly love, stamp collecting, working out, clothes…the list is endless. More to the point, it will show your prospective employers that you’re a real self starter and you have already some knowledge of digital marketing fundamentals like SEO, Social Media Marketing, etc. you will get familiar with Google Analytics and Search Engine Console—all the stuff you’ve probably learned in your School of Digital Marketing, which you can now put into practice. WordPress (wordpress.com—not wordpress.org) is a great resource for your blog site and it is free.
So pick out your passion and set up your blog.
Use your blog’s homepage to put your best foot forward. Show your interviewers that there is more to you than SEO. Use the ‘about’ section to showcase positive attitude and native abilities—problem solving, for instance, or out-of-the-box thinking. These are qualities that employers prize. Remember to include a head shot and stay clear of the wacky stuff, keep it professional.
(for more information on how to get started with creating a blog, read: our post entitled: How to get ready for a career in digital marketing…)
Digital Marketing by its very nature is content-driven—all forms of content, verbal, video, images, et al. Your ability to write well is a great asset to have. Once again, your blog comes to the rescue. So make it a habit to craft well-written pieces that indicate an enquiring, creative and well-read mind.
Your blog will certainly showcase some abilities, but blogs can be built professionally for a fee. And prospective employers do not have a lot of time to spend on sifting through blogs. So they tend to base their employment decisions on hard evidence, such as certifications. If you’ve invested in a formal course from a reputed school of digital marketing, you will get the coaching you need to earn many of the most required certifications. These are mostly offered free by organizations like Google. Some general digital marketing certifications you should put in your portfolio are:
1. Google Ads Certification (search, display, shopping) Bing Ads Certification
2. You can also look at getting a Google Analytics Certification
Other Certifications in Digital Marketing that are sought after by employers include:
1. Hoot suite Social Marketing Certification
2. Facebook Blueprint Certification
3. Hubspot Social Media Marketing & Content Marketing Certification
You can also consider complementing these with design certifications, such as
1. Adobe Design Certifications
As we said earlier, organizations receive a flood of applications for internships, and the interviewers have to choose candidates in a very limited time frame. One hack to stand out is a recommendation from somebody within or associated to the employing organization. And that means networking.
LinkedIn is the logical place to start networking. Start by connecting with your peers and go on to connections related to your targeted organization/s. It might seem a little forward and maybe even weird to connect with strangers. But if stick with it and you’ll find you path. Try to make your connection requests relatable and keep it real.
Making a connection is just the first step. Once that is done, you need to start a conversation. If you’ve managed to land a connection in a place that has invited you to an interview, ask about the job, or what the position involves.
Once the interview is done, ensure you keep the lines of communication open; that means sending a thank you email or message. You might even want to invite the connection to a coffee-meeting to continue the conversation.
Number one on the list is, of course, proficiency in digital marketing, but above and beyond this, your employer will look for other complementary skills. In a rough order of priority these are:
As a digital marketing intern you will have the opportunity to develop several skills, starting with getting comfortable with digital tools. The opportunity to put your learning to work is invaluable. You will learn how to create and curate content, manage social media, SEO skills…in short all the technical skills you need to be an effective online marketing specialist. This is also the perfect place to discover your area of specialization, for instance maybe you have a natural talent and understanding of the elements of SEO, or you excel at community building. This will give you a clear insight on your professional future.
In addition to technical and technology skills you will also learn and improve soft skills like communication, delegation, leadership, time-management, etc. These cross-disciplinary skills will prove invaluable not just professionally to your future career, but in your personal life too.
As an intern in India, you can expect to start out at somewhere between 12k and 13k a month. The actual figure varies by location and employer rather than job description, because, as a digital marketing intern your role will be a bit of a mixed bag.
Locations by Rank
You’ve done the groundwork, networked, received an interview intimation. You’re at the threshold of a rewarding new career. But you still need to ace the interview. What can you expect and what answers are the interviewers looking for? Here’s a list of the five most asked questions and how you can answer them
1. Tell us a little about yourself
Similar questions could be: Why do you want to work here?
or ‘Why should we consider engaging you?
Think of this as a warm-up question. The interviewer/s is trying to relax you and get you talking about a subject you’d be familiar with—you! But be careful not to relax too much. You need to answer in a way that lets you show your personality without showing off or stumbling on answers that don’t sync with the focused, professional persona you want to showcase.
There are three points where you should focus: 1) studies; 2) your career objectives; 3) interests that you’re passionate about.
2. Why did you apply for an internship?
Similar questions could be: What do you want to achieve with this internship? or Tell us about your career goals and how you plan to achieve them through this internship
You might have already answered this question in your application. Now’s the time to expand on it. Tell the interviewer what you really hope to get from the internship. Talk about about how it will inform your career growth; which skills you are keen to learn and other pointsin the role description that struck a chord with you.
Stay away from any talk about pay and perks—even if the organization your interviewing with is reputed for its generosity.
3. Why did you apply here for an internship?
There is a subtle difference between this question and the previous one. The earlier one was about your reasons; this one puts the focus on the employer. Just as you’re one of many applying for the position, the interviewers know they too are probably one of many other organizations you’ve applied to. So they need to gauge how serious you are and how likely you are to accept their offer if they make it.
Your answers should show that you’ve spent real time understanding the organization—not just a quick scan of their About Us page. E.g. What’s their specialization? How does it relate to your career goals? Basically you need to show that you and the organization are a good match.
4. What are your strengths?
Your answers need to show your skills or character traits that will help you fit in with the company’s culture and the existing team/s. Good interns are interested in their colleagues—without being nosy.They are diligent and self-motivated. Other strengths the interviewer/s will be looking for include being a team player, innovative, curious, creative, willing to lend a hand, good project management skills, in general.
5. Can you tell us about a time when you have…
Competency questions like this are common to all interviews. They help draw parallels that can show how your ability can or particular behaviour trait will bring value to the organization.
Your answers should touch on the situation, the objective or desired goal, the action you took and results from your actions. Try to keep the main focus of your answer on the actions you took and the results they brought.
Internships are a great way to begin your digital marketing career, if you go about it the right way.
They’re a win-win for interns and organizations too. So when you find the one that really syncs with who you are, your career objectives and work-ethos, stick with it. You’ll find your career journey a truly pleasant one.