4 tips for landing that marketing agency job

Posted by Ryan Jones on Dec 18, 2019. Reading time: 10 mins
person sitting down taking notes in a notebook

Our team grew substantially in 2019, and a byproduct of that is reading a lot of job applications. I've seen some great applications. I've seen some awful applications too, people who are great people, but they've put together poor applications or don't meet the criteria.

When there are so few digital marketing agency jobs available, how do you stand out in the crowd?

I wanted to provide some tips for how to land your dream marketing agency job, stand out from the crowd, and be an employers dream. We want to help our candidates succeed!

Some of these tips are simple but often get missed. We want to give candidates a path to apply for jobs with us, but also a path for those that don't fit our criteria but could do very easily in the future.

There's a good reason for a lot of these tips - they work. In some cases, before I started Refuel, these are the steps I took, and they landed me the job. They are also what I now look for in candidates as we offer marketing jobs in Adelaide and marketing specialist roles.

Here are my top 4 tips for getting that dream digital marketing agency job, and they could be valuable to any position at any employer.


1. Read the job ad

This sounds simple, but make sure you read the job ad. To the end. The very end, not that imaginary end halfway through, or right before that last heading.


The employer has spent time putting that information together for a good reason (hopefully). They want to get the right candidates, and they want the right people to stand out.

That information at the bottom could be key criteria you will be assessed on. It could also be the preferred way for you to submit your application. Don't skip it, show the employer you read and understood the ad.


2. Don’t apply if you don’t meet the criteria

If you know you don't meet the requirements, don't apply. If you followed my first point above, you would know if you don't meet the criteria.

I know this sounds harsh, but I'd rather you didn't waste your time or mine. We won't be considering your application if you don't meet our criteria, so time spent applying is wasted.

So what do you do if you want that dream search marketing or social media job, but you don't meet the criteria yet, or you don't have the experience?


Get the certifications

If we ask for a particular certification and you don't have it, it's often a free certification you can take online. It might only take you a few hours to take the course and pass the exam. We even wrote a blog about free online certifications you can take. These certifications are genuinely useful even if you don't get the job, so I recommend you dive in, as they will 100% help you stand out from the crowd.


Get the experience

Have you seen us advertise your dream job, but you don't have the experience for it? Consider applying via our Work at Refuel page, so you're in our database for the next position that comes up. Or go out and get that experience.

I rate candidates that go out and get what they want very highly.

If you have just finished uni, you have to do something to separate yourself from every other graduate. If you have done no additional courses, work experience, certifications, or anything else, you're unlikely to get a look in.

Initiative is a highly valued skill at Refuel Creative. Seeking experience through certifications and volunteering is a great way to demonstrate it.

Andrea wrote a blog earlier this year on how to go out and get experience when employers tell you that you need it. I urge anyone in that position to go out and follow her instructions. She did just that, and it was a significant reason why we hired her.


3. Follow the application process

This one is one of my favourites.

If the job ad says apply using this link, apply using that link, and follow the process. If you don't, what it tells me, rightly or wrongly, is you can't follow a brief. And that is critical in our world.

Our application process, in part, assesses whether you can follow instruction and a brief.

Behind the scenes, often multiple people are assessing your application. If you don't follow the designated application process, the right people won't see it. You'll get lost, and your application won't be considered simply because it wasn't included in our screening process.

For us, both Melissa and I check each application. Melissa tracks the applicants in our Applicant Tracking sheet and conducts the first round phone screening. So the applicants need to go in via the correct application form so we can both track every applicant and make sure everyone gets a fair go.

So don't apply via Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn message, friend requests or any other one to one methods unless the employer asks for it. Submit your application using the designated process first. If you want to reach out in support of your application via another communication method, do it after you've applied using the requested approach.

The exception to this is if you want to ask questions about the role before applying. Feel free to send some kind of message, email, phone call, carrier pigeon, etc. to set up a private call to confidentially discuss. Any employer worth working for will be open to that, including us.

You can book a confidential call to discuss job opportunities with me here.


4. Write a great cover letter

Many, many people will tell you there's an art to a great cover letter. It has to be the Mona Lisa. If you don't spend 30 hours on it, you're never going to get the job!


I don't have time to read a 7 page, War and Peace style magnum opus. What I want in a great cover letter are 3 things.

A signal you've researched our company.

If you write "Dear Hiring Manager", I know you sent the same cover letter to 400 other potential employers. If you write "Dear Sir/Madam", you'll give me an existential crisis. If you write "Dear Mr Jones", that's a great start.

This takes 2 minutes of research since unlike some agencies we have all our team on our website, and you can see everyone's name. LinkedIn is also handy for working out who you should address this to.

Bonus points: if you write "G' day Ryan", I'll know you read this.


A sign you read the criteria.

If one of our criteria is experience in Google Ads, tell me about your experience! Brag about your successes. Give us case studies. If you don't tell me about your experience, I have to assume you don't have any.

Don't write long-winded garbage. Give me a brief demonstration of your skills and experience against our criteria.


Address our values and culture.

Values and cultural fit are important to us. We talk about these when promoting our jobs, but you can find out more about them on our Values page.

I have received dozens of applications this year where I get a resume and no cover letter. So I have no extra context. Often, I get twenty or thirty very similar resumes. Without your comments on your experience that I would get in a cover letter, you won't separate yourself from the other candidates.

Also, there is a trend of applicants submitting their resume as their cover letter if it's a compulsory form field. Don't do that. It tells me you're too lazy to write a cover letter, so I'm too lazy to read your application.

That said, our new application process does away with the need for a cover letter. We ask the questions we need you to answer, but we still included the option to add a cover letter if you want. This is great for those candidates looking to stand out from the crowd.


Get that exciting opportunity

I know I've been blunt with some of these tips, but there's a good reason for that. Securing that marketing coordinator or account management role isn't rocket science.

I've talked to so many people this year who concern themselves with the wrong things and become despondent. They're convinced they'll never land that exciting opportunity they've been looking for.

Don't get defeated. Get active. Get that experience, get the certifications, and do something to help you get that job.

And if you want to apply for any positions we don't currently have available, and go on our database, here's the link...

Work at Refuel

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