Transferable Skills: How to Get a Job in Digital Marketing Right Out of College

You’ve picked up a lot in the past few years of college, even if you don’t realize it. No matter what you actually majored in, you’ve got plenty of valuable skills that will easily transfer to the workplace. 

Take it from me — I’m a recent graduate from the class of 2020 and I have a liberal arts college degree in English literature. If I can become a digital marketer, so can you! 

You’re already qualified to work in digital marketing

Let’s identify a few of the practical experiences and skills you already have that will help you get hired in digital marketing.

5 Transferable Skills to Kickstart your Digital Marketing Career

#1 First Hand POV of Search Experience & Landscape

You probably can’t even count the number of times you’ve relied on Google for your term paper, class presentation, or even a last-minute cram study session. You typed long-tail keywords into search engines to find answers to your highly-specific questions and navigated between search ads and search results to find what you needed. 

Instinctively, you already know what makes a website landing page experience a positive one -- when you can actually find the information that you want. And it’s even better if a search ad speaks to your needs directly! 

Through it all, you’ve gained valuable, extensive, and first-hand user experience with the very same platforms that digital marketers work on. It’s just a matter of learning how to be on the other side of the same website content and ads!

#2 Digital Literacy Skills

Let’s address the elephant in the room: Zoom University. 

Whether you’re a current student about to graduate or a recent graduate, you successfully adapted to 100% online learning in just a matter of days in spring 2020. That might not sound like a big deal to you, but it’s no easy feat!

Here are just a few examples of the digital tools that you could use in your sleep:

  • Video conferencing platforms: Zoom, Google Meet, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams
  • Notetaking and word processing tools: Google Docs, Microsoft Word, sticky notes
  • Digital communication channels: email, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Chat
  • Scheduling tools: Google Calendar, Doodle, When2Meet

In any workplace, your familiarity with digital tools and virtual communication will serve you well. 

It’s especially helpful at a digital agency that spans four time zones and that has a significant fraction of permanently remote team members. At Seer, all client meetings and almost all internal meetings are virtual!

Speaking of virtual communication… 

#3 Communication Skills

College classes exposed you to many forms of communication and gave you the opportunity to practice and get feedback on them. And this applies to everyone, not just literature majors. Even if you were an engineering student, you still had to read, write, speak, and listen! 

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of the ways in which you practiced your communication skills:

  • Research papers 
  • Class presentations
  • Emails to classmates and professors
  • Lecture notes 
  • Group project meetings
  • Peer study groups
  • Peer tutoring sessions
  • Meetings with professors and administrators

The communication skills that you honed as a student will easily translate into the communication skills that you will need as a digital marketing professional. 

"I graduated from San Diego State University majoring in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing. The large part of my experience with digital marketing was through internships and class projects during college.

I quickly learned the importance of communication. Similar to seeking clarification on an assignment in school, asking for clarification from my managers, leadership, and clients is crucial. You definitely don't want to waste your time and efforts or worse, your clients time, by not communicating your doubts and questions."

Yizel G. | Analytics Associate

Copywriting for digital ads and webpages isn’t too far from writing research papers for class. Both require you to gather accurate information, speak like a subject matter expert, write within a standardized format, hit precise character counts, cite external sources, and communicate clearly. 

You already have the writing skills to create marketing and advertising copy! Now, to really set yourself up for success, spend a little time learning about best practices for copywriting.

Similarly, you already have familiarity with the digital communication channels that are necessary for working at a digital marketing agency because they’re no different from what you used throughout college: emails, video conferencing, phone calls, Slacks/chats, screen sharing, etc.

#4 Niche Knowledge and Learning Subjects Quickly

You needed to fulfill your general education credits in order to graduate, but you wanted to do it in a fun way. This was your opportunity to try classes in unique, obscure subjects that you otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to take. I took a class each in opera history & appreciation; ecology, evolution, & environmental biology (think: bugs and dinos through the ages); and Sino-Tibetan historical linguistics. 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but becoming comfortable with niche knowledge in college was perfect practice for my career. 

"In 2020 I graduated from Temple University with a degree in Marketing and International Business. Throughout my studies and internships, I learned that the best way to set yourself up for success in your transition post-graduation is to stay curious!

There are so many silos in digital marketing from email to social media to SEO or even analytics. You could find that you love a particular channel, or maybe that you’re more of a marketing generalist, but the only way to figure that out is to ask questions. Even if you’re coming out of school with another business degree (or a completely different degree altogether!), the key is to take every opportunity possible to step outside of your comfort zone and learn something."

Samantha R. | SEO Associate

Working at an agency, you’ll regularly encounter a wide variety of industries and products that your clients are in. It’s pretty unlikely that you’ll have past experience in all these areas, so you’ll need to learn quickly in order to make strategic marketing recommendations. So, thanks to those fun courses that you thought would never come up again, you’ll be great at working with all types of clients at an agency!

#5 Ebbing and Flowing with Change

It’s no secret that agency life is fast-paced, even by the standards of digital marketing overall. Things change fast. You might stay at an agency for years, but you most likely won’t stay on one client account for that long.

Over the course of your time working at an agency, you’ll be exposed to a wide variety of clients in a wide variety of industries. And, as an agency marketer, you're expected to have at least a working knowledge of every product, client, and industry you’re assigned to so that you can support the in-house marketing team and make strategic recommendations. 

“I graduated from Temple University with a degree in Marketing in May of 2020. During my time at Temple, I took courses in everything from Data Science and Statistics to Graphic Design and Computer Science, and everything in between. This wide array of experiences became super useful when I interned twice at Seer and ultimately decided to come on board full time.

Being able to pull from a wide spectrum of experiences also became helpful for empathizing with a client's needs. Whether it's an industry you've interacted closely with before or simply an interesting concept to you, being able to put yourself in the shoes of your client goes a long way in having a successful project. College was a time where I definitely got exposed to a variety of different industries, business models, and demographics that ended up helping me down the road.

Alfonso C. | Analytics Associate

Coming from college, you’re already used to change on a regular basis. Every five months (or even shorter, if you’re on a quarter system), you swapped out your familiar classes with all new classes in subjects you’ve never encountered before. You learned everything from scratch in just a few weeks before you hit midterms season. Then, before you knew it, it was already time for final exams and your next round of course registration!

Transitions between classes are similar to transitions between client accounts. If you could become an expert in just a few weeks as you cram for midterms, you’ll do just fine with the allotted few weeks of transition time for onboarding onto new client accounts.

Bonus Skill: Time Management

“I graduated from the University of Delaware in May of 2020 and now I am a Paid Social Associate here at Seer. Sure my marketing classes helped prepare me for the current role I hold, but there were so many other skills I learned at college that also helped get me to where I am today.

I could name million ways that college prepared me for post grad life, but I would say another important skill for me was time management. While at college, students are challenged to try to balance all their classes, extracurriculars, jobs, and maintain a social life. College taught me to be a huge planner and those skills I carried over to working at an agency. Similar to college, at an agency you have to juggle many different projects, deadlines and clients all at the same time which makes time management so crucial. No matter what college path you took - there are so many skills that can prepare you for a digital marketing career!"

Kara M. | Paid Social Associate 

Ready to start your digital marketing career?

Check out Seer’s open entry-level roles if you’re about to graduate into the workforce!

Or, if you still have more semesters in college left to go, learn about how to find an internship in digital marketing. Internships provide you with real-world work experience before you even graduate, and you’ll have the opportunity to explore your transferable skills professionally.


Sign up for our newsletter for more posts like this delivered straight to your inbox!


We love helping marketers like you.

Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates and more: