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How to market yourself as a digital specialist
I recently wrote an article about becoming a digital specialist and identifying your strongest digital skills. It’s a great starting point to know what you’re good at and how valuable you are to a prospective employer – but you’ve also got to market yourself so you’re visible.
I recruit a wide variety of digital talent for my clients, and while smaller organisations still have a need for digital generalists, there has definitely been a rise in demand for those with specialist skills. The following is my advice on how to market yourself as a digital specialist, while the demand is still on the rise.
How are your peers selling themselves? Do your research
This might seem like a no-brainer, but as you’re considering your specialism, keep your own job satisfaction top of mind. One study found that “beyond household income of $75,000 a year, money does nothing for happiness, enjoyment, sadness or stress”. Far more important is having a job that you enjoy at a company you like. LinkedIn is a great source of knowledge about the digital landscape. It’s the best way to keep up to date with what employers are searching for, and also what your peers in the industry are up to – providing inspiration and information about where you could take your career next.
Constantly updated, LinkedIn is a great way to monitor trends within your chosen industry – straight from the mouths of people actually working in it. People use Facebook to brag about their social lives, but LinkedIn is where they boast about their professional achievements. LinkedIn provides hundreds of thousands of groups built around niche jobs – track down those most closely aligned with your own interests and ask questions of the other members.
You might find that there are professionals with similar experience to you but whose LinkedIn profiles project a far more specialist overview of their career. Don’t let this discourage you; you’ve already done the hard part of becoming a digital professional, building valuable experience in the process. Now, you just need to present yourself in a way that reflects your true worth.
Take note of how others position themselves and their expertise – the best LinkedIn profiles are succinctly worded to reflect the person’s achievements and value proposition for a potential employer. They also show rather than just telling, by linking to work and demonstrating knowledge.
Start selling yourself – shape your CV
If there’s no room for you to expand your specialist skills at your current role, it may be time to start reviewing your CV and applying for jobs. Here’s where your research into specialist roles will become useful: you’ll be able to tailor your CV to reflect the jobs on offer. In addition, you should tweak your LinkedIn profile to look more like the job you want, rather than the job you have.
Make sure you avoid buzzwords – Marketing Week lists ‘creative’, ‘strategic’ and ‘motivated’ among the most overused buzzwords in marketing professionals’ LinkedIn profiles. Instead of using common adjectives to describe yourself, use LinkedIn’s content-rich tools to showcase your prowess.
Be specific. The Digital Marketing Institute recommends being specific and using names, numbers and verbs to convey your top achievements. For example, instead of listing something like “fluent in social media marketing,” list out the specific platforms you know how to use (like Hootsuite, WordPress or Buffer).
If you lack direct experience in your chosen digital specialism, make sure you highlight transferable skills on your CV. If you can code in Java, for example, cross-training to a highly desirable language like Python or Ruby on Rails should be much easier because you already understand the fundamentals of programming. Always look for ways to make transferable skills.
Boost your online presence
You should also take the opportunity to highlight your abilities whenever you can. LinkedIn (and other similar sites) allow you to build a basic portfolio to showcase your previous work. UX designers should consider adding screenshots of apps they have built for instance, or a content specialist could add ebooks and whitepapers they have written. In an age where people can (and do) research every purchase or hire unaided, showing them what you can do is more valuable than simply telling them.
Keep asking for testimonials from people you have worked with and make sure you publish them on your LinkedIn profile. Endorsements from other experts are a great way to prove your expertise. Push them towards the top of your online profiles so that people see them first. And don’t forget to customise your LinkedIn profile URL to boost visibility.
Now that you’re job search ready – make sure you have signed up to mypage and set up job alerts so that you don’t miss out on any hot digital jobs.
Best of luck with your job search!
Make sure you’re working hard to sell yourself online – you’re digital, remember, so where else would you be!
- Do your research, find other LinkedIn profiles like yours and see how your peers are presenting their job experience and skills
- Get your online CV up to date and avoid buzzwords
- Highlight your transferable skills
- Request testimonials from people you’ve worked with – word of mouth is a powerful tool in a job search