It’s Monday morning. Another shiny rejection letter lies in your inbox ready to make your week suck. You sigh, shake your computer a little and whisper (okay shout), “What are they looking for? What is it I don’t have?”
The ability to sell yourself effectively, perhaps? We know, writing the “perfect” digital marketing CV can be daunting, tricky and let’s face it – downright frustrating. Even worse? Research shows that recruiters only spend 6.25 seconds looking at your CV.
But before you give up and resign yourself to a life of traditional marketing (as if) you might want to take a trick or seven from some of Ireland’s top digital marketing recruiters.
Grab a cup of coffee and open up a fresh Google doc. Because we’re just about to tell you how to craft the digital marketing CV of every recruiters dreams…the one they’re hoping is sitting in their inbox now.
Your New Motto: I’ll market myself like I market a business.
1. Keep it Simple, Clean & Lean
Creating a clear and easy-to-read CV will help you appear like the organised digital professional you are. Your best bet? Ensure that your formatting and font type is clean and consistent. The focus should be on you, your experience and your message – so you need to avoid any messy design elements that can distract your reader (your potential hiring manager or recruiting consultant). Break up your CV with crisp bullet points, stand-out hyperlinks and bold headings.
Jane Creaner-Glen, Head of Recruitment and HR at the Digital Marketing Institute says, “I think the biggest mistake is making them too ‘busy’ looking. Timelines and infographics just put me off when I am reading a CV. I want to be able to see in 30 seconds the key skills of the applicant and the easiest way to do that is in a brief profile. The biggest mistake is making them too Hollywood…”
Cecilia Desmond, Recruitment Consultant from Morgan McKinley echoes this sentiment. She says, “Although it can be tempting to use various formatting tools to enhance your CV, this can often make it difficult for the hiring company to upload your CV on their internal database – we recommend sticking to MS Word and keep formatting to a minimum.”
Top Tip: Keep your formatting fuss-free, simple and scannable.
2. Proofread, Spell Check & Edit
In normal CV land typos are a big no no. In digital marketing land? They are simply unforgivable. In a digital world where communication is key, grammar should be flawless, sentences should be sharp and punchy and your core message should be immediately identifiable.
You wouldn’t dream of updating your website’s copy or sending out a newsletter without getting a colleague to proofread it first as it would reflect badly on your brand. In a similar vein, typos
and inconsistencies on your CV reflect badly on your personal brand. Don’t let them happen.
Anna Wymes, Senior Recruitment Specialist at Rigthfit.ie says, ““I still find it incredible the amount of spelling mistakes, bad formatting and overall messy CVs that come in. I don’t know how anyone can think it’s ok. If they’re really bad, I wouldn’t send onto a client as presentation in marketing is so important. A poorly put together CV is a bad reflection on the work the candidate will do in the job.”
Top Tip: Get an industry friend to proofread your CV and give you an honest appraisal.
3. Know Your Value Proposition & Communicate it Clearly
Your mission statement is one of the most important things you will write on your CV – think of it like your personal tagline. This is the first impression the recruiter will form of you – your one chance to communicate your unique selling point like the digital marketing superstar you know you are.
So how do you showcase your unique selling point in a line or two? By getting a little creative. If you’re a content writer, for example, don’t just say, ‘I’m a great writer.’ Boring. Predictable. Next. Think, instead, of what you can achieve with your words. Can you influence an audience to act or can you make them think of a brand in a new light? Let the hiring manager know the true value you can bring to their brand.
Top Tip: Invest time into crafting a mission statement that sets you apart from other candidates.
4. Tailor Your Content to Your Target Audience
Do your research and take a look at your favourite brand’s content and tone of voice before applying for that dream position (the same way you’d research your target audience). The hiring manager will not only be searching for an experienced candidate who can handle the specifications of the role – they will also be looking for the best fit for their company. How do you prove you’re a good fit?
These days most job specifications will reflect the tone of the company. You should highlight keywords and phrases they use and see where they can fit into your CV’s story. For example, if they’re looking for B2B experience you could highlight your B2B achievements throughout, specifically marking them as B2B. Similarly, if they’re looking for someone fun you should have a little fun with your cover letter (while keeping it professional, of course).
Jane Creaner-Glen, Head of Recruitment and HR at the Digital Marketing Institute says, “Tailor your CV to the specific role you are applying for, mirror the language of the job specification – identify the key words in the job spec and throw them into your CV. The recruiter is likely to have written the job specification so when they see the same language they use in your application they will automatically pay attention.”
Top Tip: Create a CV template and edit the language to fit in with the brand you are applying for.
5. Market Yourself Like You’d Market a Brand
A digital marketing CV is unique in that it gives your hiring manager a glimpse into your ability to do your job. He/she will think, “Well if they can’t market themselves what hope do they have marketing our company?” You can view this as a challenge or you could look at it as a unique opportunity to showcase your talents.
We’d advise taking the second approach. Here’s how: Use hyperlinks to link to work you have done (eg: websites, social media pages, blogs or any quality online work you can showcase). And remember: the screening process will continue well beyond those two perfectly crafted pages of your CV. Now is a good time to tweet about industry news and contribute to relevant LinkedIn discussions. Yes, that recruiter will Google your name so give him/her something positive to find.
Cecilia Desmond, Recruitment Consultant from Morgan McKinley says, “You work in digital marketing – it’s your job to capture the attention of your audience on all platforms and you most likely do this very well for the company you work for – make sure you apply this thought process when writing your CV – if you market yourself well on paper, this could seal the deal to you securing an interview.”
Cecilia continues, “Linkedin & Twitter are an extension of your CV. Make sure pages are current, up-to-date and professional as employers and recruiters will check out your profiles on social media also.”
Top Tip: Think of your CV like the ‘About Us’ page of your website – highlight your unique selling points.
6. Get Specific, Name It & Number It
When writing your digital marketing CV you’ll have to get specific about the successes you’ve achieved for previous brands. Think in terms of percentages, metrics, KPIs, figures and measurable outcomes. This will show potential employers that you have a firm grasp of the knowledge needed to create, run and measure a successful campaign.
For example, if you’ve managed to reduce the cost per lead of a campaign put a name on it, number it (what percentage did you reduce the cost by?), add the time period you achieved it in and add a few words about how you achieved it/why it was important for the company. Do this for all of your achievements keeping each point short, concise, to-the-point and bulleted.
Cecilia Desmond, Recruitment Consultant from Morgan McKinley says, “When applying for digital marketing positions, refer to campaigns you have been responsible for and if you have won an award. In digital, ensure you highlight the packages you have used (eg: Drupal, WordPress, Google Analytics, HooteSuite, BuzzSumo, etc.).”
Jane Creanor Glen, Head of Recruitment and HR at the Digital Marketing Institute, “CVs don’t have to include everything you have ever done but should be relevant edited highlights of your career to date and totally focused on achievements. Think of the CV as a sales tool to get you the interview so make sure everything on your CV is something you would be delighted to talk about in the interview.”
Top Tip: To make your achievements stand out name them, number them and add context.
And One More Thing…
7. Bonus Tip: If You’ve Worked for An Agency
Cecilia Desmond, Recruitment Consultant from Morgan McKinley says, “If you work for a marketing/digital agency, we recommend using a table to highlight some of the companies you have worked with. This will draw the eye to this area while allowing you to convey the size of campaigns/companies & industries you’ve worked in.”
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