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4 tips for landing that marketing agency job

18 December 2019

Tips for landing a marketing agency job

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

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

I wanted to provide some tips for landing 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 and an approach 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.

We now won't even consider an application that doesn't address the points below. If you submit a resume with no further information, it shows me the level of effort you put into finding a job. We put as much effort into assessing your application. Please show us the same level of respect that you want us to show you.

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

It might seem obvious, 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.


We spent time putting that information together for a good reason. They want to get the right candidates, and they want the right people to stand out. They don't want to waste your time!

That information at the bottom is key information we are basing our decision 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 you have wasted your time.

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


Get the certifications

If we ask for a particular certification and you don't have it, get it. It's probably a free certification you can take online. It might only take you a few hours to take the course and pass the exam.

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. It’s information you need to know, and will help with future applications for ad agency jobs.

We even wrote a blog about free online certifications you can take.


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 experience to help them succeed very highly. It's what I did while I was at uni, and most of our team have done the same thing.

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

Think about it from my perspective, as the person hiring.

I get ten well-written resumes for a Marketing Assistant position. All ten candidates learnt how to write resumes at uni, so their resumes are all excellent, but all the same.

Nine of the ten candidates have no experience other than their degree, so they look the same on paper.

The tenth candidate has created a website and taken a Google Analytics course. Who would you interview?

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


Marketing agency job application


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 shows us whether you can follow a brief.

Behind the scenes, multiple people review your application. If you don't follow the designated application process, the right people won't see it. You'll get lost, and we won't consider your application because it wasn't in our screening process.

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

Don't apply via Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn message, friend requests or any other methods unless the employer asks for it. Submit your application using our process first. If you want to reach out in support of your application another way, do it after you've followed the process.

The exception to this is if you want to ask questions about the job. Feel free to send a message, email, phone call, carrier pigeon, etc. to set up a private call to discuss confidentially. 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.


Marketing agency job interview


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 seven page, War and Peace style magnum opus. What I want in a great cover letter are four 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 to address in your letter.

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. Briefly tell me about your skills and experience. Tell me why you’ll be good at the job, I want to know.

Address our values and culture.

Values and cultural fit are important to us. We talk about these when promoting our jobs, and 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 comments on your experience that I would get in a cover letter, you won't separate yourself from the other candidates.

I’ve also seen 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.

Our new application form doesn’t need 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, and another reason you must follow the process!

Consider your location

During COVID-19, we started receiving applications from interstate candidates. Being in Adelaide, our preference is to hire local marketing talent.

If you live interstate, address this in your cover letter. Are you looking to move to Adelaide? Are you looking for a remote digital marketing role?

The answers to these questions don't negatively impact on your chances of landing a role with us. Without addressing your location, we don't know whether you're a good fit. Are you a great candidate who's looking to move, or someone just submitting as many resumes and applications as possible?


Get that exciting marketing job

I know I've been blunt with some of these tips, but there's a good reason for that. Securing that marketing 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've applied for many marketing jobs without getting an interview. They start to think 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 an advertising agency job.

To apply to work at Refuel, look at our current marketing job vacancies. You can also subscribe to receive updates for future job opportunities, or request an internship.

Work at Refuel

Updated 30 December 2020

Ryan Jones

Ryan is the Founder & CEO of Refuel Creative. He's a HubSpot certified marketer and SEO expert.