A recent job post for a social content specialist at my company drew more than 110 applicants in less than a month, underscoring the interest in the field of digital marketing. With odds like these, it’s tough for even the best résumé to get through, and even if it does, how does an applicant set themselves apart from the pack?
The answer is easier than you think and right under your nose. The key to landing, then nailing, an interview at a fast-paced digital marketing agency is following the trail of breadcrumbs left for you in the ad itself, in addition to doing some homework on the industry.
Speak The Digital Marketing Lingo
Let me show you how.
In perusing the ad, pay close attention to the specific details and duties of the job. Read it as if it was perfectly executed, SEO-optimized copy, with the most important elements placed closer to the top and sprinkled with important keywords throughout.
In the example below, which was pulled from the Linkedin ad for the social content specialist position, the highlighted text tells the tale:
Look closely at the language used in the ad. It’s not by accident that you see the phrases “Create and execute social content optimization strategy” or “Create content for clients, including blog posts, ebooks, web pages, etc.” Keep these key points in mind:
- These are certainly tasks the person hired will be charged with, but, more than that, they highlight the types of activities you should be prepared to speak in-depth about. For example, expect to explain how you would go about deciding what content types would work best for individuals clients.
- You should be able to talk about specific outcomes achieved through working with social media clients in the past. If you really want to set yourself apart from the pack, walk me through how you were involved in the content strategy for a clients, assigning KPIs and such, before executing the social component that yielded positive results.
- When looking at an ad like the one above, highlight the keywords that jump out at you, then cross-check those keywords against similar jobs in the space.
- Develop a list of at least a dozen keywords and 5 to 6 keyword phrases. Use both to inform the text of your résumé. Make it obvious that you can own these elements of the job by highlighting successes in those areas. (Please don’t be one of those people who blindly casts out keywords without understanding clearly what they mean or how they are best used during the interview. Do yourself a favor and take the time to avail yourself of content—e.g., blogs, white papers, webinars—on the topic to enhance your understanding and ability to speak to them.) During the interview, pepper these keywords and keyword phrases throughout your speech, but do so without seeming like a know-it-all.
- Maybe it’s the former business and political reporter in me, but I believe strongly in soundbites, or memorable nuggets that stick to those who hear them. Even to those of us who don’t follow the news remember former president George H.W. Bush’s words “Read my lips: No new taxes.” Or Neil Armstrong’s “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Have at least three relevant “soundbites” ready during the interview.
- Worry less about being original and more about being on top of the parlance while remaining authentic. Don’t be afraid to borrow a quote from a popular book in the space or to piggyback off a social media post the interviewer might have recently made. A couple of my favorites from interviewing over 15 applicants for the digital marketing job listed above: “Content is the glue that binds search and social,” and, “User experience is the bastard child of web design.”
- If you apply the tactics listed above, you’re well ahead of the crowd, having placed yourself in the top 3% of applicants. Now is not the time, however, to get overzealous and oversell yourself.
- Make it your goal for the interviewer to see you as a part of his team, even if that means you’re hired for a different position. Many times, during the interview, it becomes apparent that the person sitting across from you is a great fit for the company, even if that means in a different role than the one they are being interviewed for. If you oversell yourself for a specific role, you could easily take yourself out of contention. (This might sound farfetched, but this very thing happened during the interviews for this social content specialist job.)
Make your desire to be part of the team clear – but don’t close the door on other in-house opportunities should they present themselves.