Digital Marketing Career Guide

Your 3-step guide to digital marketing skills,
job interviews & career paths


We hear a lot of people saying ‘I have to get into Digital Marketing’, ‘Digital is the industry to make a career in’. Sure. But as they say, to discover new oceans, you need to have the courage to lose sight of the shore. And it only helps to have a little idea of what you are looking for.

Digital Marketing Skills
Digital Marketing Skills

We hear a lot of people saying 'I have to get into Digital Marketing', 'Digital is the best career'. Sure. But what's the length and the breadth of the Digital Industry?

Digital Marketing Interviews
Digital Marketing Interviews

Once your resume is shortlisted, your foot is in the door. And to barge in, you now need to crack the interview. What is the first thing that you should do when preparing for an interview? Let us help you.

Digital Marketing Career Paths
Digital Marketing Career Paths

The digital landscape surely seems vast and it is now time to test the waters. Let's have a look at the latest trends and careers in the Digital World.

Digital Marketing Skills

From SEO to creative writing, let's see the Digital Marketing Landscape

Digital Marketing Landscape

Brands, Agencies, Consultants

We hear a lot of people saying ‘I have to get into Digital Marketing’, ‘Digital is the industry to make a career in’. Sure. But as they say, to discover new oceans, you need to have the courage to lose sight of the shore. And it only helps to have a little idea of what you are looking for.

There are ~1.5 lakh jobs in the Digital Marketing Industry in India as of 2016, spread across Agencies, Brands/Companies and Consultants. Surely, you need to have an understanding of the ocean before sailing off: What do these 1.5 lakh jobs comprise of? What do you mean by Agencies and Brand Companies? And where do you want to be when you get into Digital Marketing?

In this candid chat with Anshul, Head of Marketing at upGrad, he explains the Digital Marketing landscape and what you should be looking forward to once you have decided to step into the industry.

In this very detailed explanation by Anshul, he has spoken about the similarities and the differences that exist in the Digital Marketing Ecosystem both in Brands and Agencies.

  1. The brand side essentially is divided basis the business function and the size of the company. Smaller brands will mostly work with agencies and a few specialists in-house. Larger brands will have separate digital functions handed over to specific agencies with in-house teams acting as managers.
  2. Brand teams essentially comprise all the different Digital Functions like performance, content, SEO, communications, creatives, designs and MarTech.
  3. Agencies are either 360-degree structures which have different centres of excellence in Digital like Performance Marketing, Communication, Website Building. Most of the agencies in India focus on one or two of these centres of excellence like a Performance Marketing agency, or a Social media & Content marketing agency.
  4. With the evolution of technology, it is now playing a big role in digital. Companies, especially startups are now focusing on marketing technology across different functions of digital.


Making an Impactful Resume

Context and Introduction for a Resume

Imagine this. You’re a digital marketer and your main job is to reach your audience and convince them to buy your product. Your user is surfing the net and say, watching the YouTube ad for your product. You only have 30 seconds or less to convince him or her of your product. How would you go about it?

And what does this have to do with your CV? Well, on average, a recruiter spends only 30 seconds on your resume before making a decision whether to shortlist you or not. You are the product, the potential employer is the user, and your CV is your marketing activity.

How do you create a CV that will impress the hiring manager and get you that interview call? Well, there are many things to consider. What should the length of your CV be? What should be the structure? Should you mention any educational qualifications? Or even basic elements such as what type of font you should be using?

Here is Phalgun Kompalli, Co-Founder of upGrad, who has gone through loads of CVs throughout his career and he can’t wait to make those 30-second decisions! So let’s hear from him on how you can go about building a great CV that really catches your potential, future employer’s attention.

Let’s summarise the key points Phalgun mentioned:

Length of a resume: Universally it is a common and widely accepted practice to have a 1-page resume. Many experts agree that a single page resume would suffice for every 10 years of experience. We strongly recommend that you follow this principle.

Font type and font size:

  • From the ease of reading perspective, some fonts stand out against others. It is advisable that you use one of the following fonts: Calibri, Georgia, Garamond, Arial or Helvetica.
  • Font size should be chosen as such that it can be easily read. Generally, it is a good practice to choose a font size between 10 to 12.


Structure of a Resume

Ideally, a resume must contain these sections (not necessarily in the same order):

  • Profile Summary
  • Educational Qualification
  • upGrad Qualification – if this applies to you
  • Prior educational experience
  • Professional experience
  • Leadership roles and personal achievements

Here’s an example of a Profile Summary:

A Marketing Professional

  • Proven expertise in building consumer brands and leading multiple marketing campaigns over the past 7 years in FMCG, Retail and E-Commerce Industries.
  • Took a data-driven approach to look at marketing metrics and achieving business results.
  • Applied understanding of all the marketing platforms and channels, and experience of running integrated marketing campaigns.


Educational Qualifications

You should include your program with upGrad (if relevant) followed by prior Post-Graduate/Under-Graduate education:

upGrad program details:

  • Name of the Program and the start and end date of the program
  • Three bullet points highlighting your top achievements during the program. This may contain –
    • The best assignments that you have done as a part of the program
    • Any initiatives you may have taken during the program
    • Extra projects you may have completed with success

Educational background before upGrad:

Most recent qualifications should be at the top –

  • For people with 0-4 years of experience, PG, UG and intermediate education could be included
  • For people with over 4 years of experience, you may only include PG and UG educational details
  • It should cover the Degree Name, Specialisation, University, Location and duration of the degree
  • Marks/Percentage/CGPA could be included if it is worth highlighting for example, though if you have scored less than 70%, you may not want to highlight that
  • For people with up to 4 years of experience, if you have academic achievements worth mentioning, it is a good idea to include them. For example, your participation in national/international events, high GMAT Score, high CAT Score or IIT Rank


Professional Experience

If you are currently in a mid to senior level role, the ideal split for your resume would be 70-30 where 70% of it should focus on your work experience, and the rest should be your academic achievements and other activities. For people with lesser work experience, this split could be closer to 50-50.

If you have spent more than 1 year in your current role, it is important to elaborate on your most recent (or current job) followed by other jobs/organisations you have been in.

While describing your experience, an important differentiation to be aware of is that between a task and an achievement. Tasks are generally the activities one performs while being in a particular job or role. Achievements are the outcomes that one achieves at the end of the tasks.

Achievements are what differentiate one professional from another that is in the same role and performing the same tasks.


Dos and Don’ts

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Digital Marketing Interviews

Write the perfect resume & crack the Digital Marketing interview

Interview Preparation

Preparing for the Opportunity

Once your resume is shortlisted, your foot is in the door. And to barge in, you now need to crack the interview. Think about it, what is the first thing that you should do when preparing for an interview? Research the company that you are applying to!

Here are a few other things you must do while preparing for an interview:

Research the company –

  • History, vision, values and mission
  • Leadership
  • Business that the company is in/their product or services
  • Financial performance and recent developments
  • People
  • The function you are applying for

Research the industry –

As important as it is to understand the company profile and growth, it is also crucial to pay attention to industry and economic scenarios the company is functioning in, to set a context for yourself. As you prepare for an interview, develop a checklist to do industry research and improve your preparation further.

Your primary source for gathering information will be the internet. A simple Google search (or Bing Search for Microsoft followers), should give you the right answers. Ideally, you should get information on:

  • Major players/competitors of the company you appear in an interview for. This will help you develop a macro outlook of the competitive scenario.
  • Growth rate and market share of different players. This research will help you better understand future strategy and growth plans of the company in question.


Communicating during an Interview

An interview conversation almost follows the concept of a chain reaction. The answer to the first question decides the next question and so on.

There are three basic communication frameworks:

  1. Three-point answers – Research shows that covering what you want to say in three points is one of the most impressive ways of presenting your point of view. This could easily be applied to the questions that are likely to have long answers.
  2. PREP Framework – Point. Reason. Example. Point. This framework will help you in answering questions that may not have a very long answer. Point – State your point.Reason – Give a reason for your statement. Why are you saying what you are saying? Example – Give an example to validate your point.Point – Repeat the point to re-emphasize it.
  3. CAR – Context, Action, Result.Context: First explain the surrounding context due to which you were required to act upon something.Action: Describe your actions to remedy the problem or to create new opportunities.Result: What was the outcome of your actions/how did the organisation benefit? There are a few more such frameworks. But what’s important is that you apply these in your conversation and practice as much as you can! It will take consistent practice for you to truly inculcate these habits and interview techniques when you appear. There are other tips that can help you to practice your interview skills, for example, speaking in front of a mirror, getting one of your friends to hear your answers, video/audio record your practice interviews and listen to them again, and so on.


Digital Marketing Interview Preparation

With a variety of roles available under the Digital Marketing wing, there are multiple sets of questions that can be asked in an interview. There can be niche questions, such as: how will you go about e-mail marketing? Or top-level questions such as: How will you help increase revenues and at the same time reduce CAC for a brand?

To cover it all, we have envisaged a marketing situation which will help you create an end-to-end digital strategy for a brand.

In this video, Neil talks about the most common use cases of interview questions, where Digital marketers are given a situation of a brand who is trying to start or grow an online business. For such a business, how would you use the different elements of Digital (both paid and organic components) including:

  1. Defining the business model
  2. Identifying the target audience
  3. Analyzing the competition
  4. Identifying the business goals
  5. Identifying the channel mix
  6. Understanding the conversion funnel

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Digital Marketing Career Paths

Find your interest areas within Digital Marketing & plan next steps

Digital Marketing Careers

Content Marketing Manager

In the first session with Anshul, we got a great understanding of the Digital Marketing Landscape. The ocean surely seems vast and it is now time to test the waters. To start off, we will have a look at the latest trend in the Digital World: Content Marketing.

Quality content is increasingly becoming one of the best ways to nurture business prospects into customers. The industry needs marketers who can ideate and set up content marketing initiatives that significantly contribute to business revenue.

Practically, there are a few questions that you would like to get answered from a Content Marketing Manager:

  • What are the roles and responsibilities of a Content Manager?
  • What does an average day look like?
  • What are the different skills required for the role? What kind of tool knowledge is essential for this role?
  • What are the KPIs that the specific role is measured against?
  • What is the industry standard for the experience required for the role? What is the salary bracket?

So let’s get a hands-on idea of the role and hear from Apoorva Shankar, the Head of Content Marketing at upGrad.

Social Media Manager

In terms of consumer presence, Social Media comprises the largest set of channels in the Digital Marketing space. Facebook alone has more than 1.85 billion users and counting. It has thus become mandatory for every organisation to have a Social Media Manager in their Marketing team to cater to the ever-increasing engagement with the audience.

But Social Media Management is not just about replying to tweets or sharing a post per day. So what does Social Media Management comprise of? Neil, the Growth and Digital Marketing Manager at upGrad, explains –

  • What is the role in a nutshell?
  • What does an average day look like?
  • What are the different skills required for the role? What kind of tool knowledge is essential for this role?
  • What are the KPIs that the specific role is measured against?
  • What is the industry standard for the experience required for the role? What is the salary bracket?

In this video, we just learnt that Social Media is not just about posting statuses on Facebook, but has a more engaging role depending on the brands objective. The skills of a social media manager revolve around understanding the target audience, the pulse of the different social networks and how each one should be leveraged with the most appropriate content format to get maximum engagement. This engagement can either be top of the funnel brand recall, middle of the engagement with a category, or even bottom of the funnel remarketing products or services. We also saw how social is not just about content distribution, but also plays an important role positioning that content to the target audience. Finally, we got a good understanding into how a social media manager needs to own the content distribution calendar, social real estate growth and finally quality, sticky traffic that is sent to the website from social.

Search Engine Marketer

If you consider marketing to be an art, then Search Engine Marketing is essentially the art of driving your audiences from a search platform to your brand platform typically, your website.

As simple as this definition sounds, there are great complexities when actually implementing a search engine strategy. With Google pretty much having a monopoly, being a search engine specialist means you need to have an extremely good understanding of how the Google Search Engine works, what drives users to search for your brand and how you can get quality traffic, over consumers who might not match your target group.

A little stressed about the role? Don’t be. Let us understand what a career as a Search Engine Specialist will look like.

In this detailed description of a search engine marketer, we discovered that in the Indian landscape a performance marketer plays a very crucial role since he is managing more than 80-90% of all Digital Marketing spends. Ad Networks are changing every year, and for many brands, majority of their performance marketing spends are now moving from Google Search to Facebook. It’s important to note, that while ecosystems change, the bedrock of push and pull marketing channels remain the same. We also saw how important it is for a performance marketer to not merely know about interfaces like Google AdWords and Facebook Power Editor, but to actually run campaigns with real money to understand the velocity of spends and how conversion rates change across businesses.

Digital Marketing Manager – General

We have heard a lot about these niche roles such as Social Media Manager, SEO and SEM. But in many organisations, there is an overarching and generalist role designated as a ‘Digital Marketing Manager’. Typically, a lot of these niche roles can fall under the Digital Manager’s role and thus you will need a few years of experience before you move up to this role.

In this video, we saw how a Digital Marketing Manager is more like a jack of all traits. The major role of a manager is to understand a business problem and figure out how this can be best solved using the different Digital Marketing functions. A Digital Marketing Manager also needs to be adept in the different digital marketing functions, like Performance Marketing, Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media and Analytics. Digital Marketing managers are professionals who have either grown up from one of the digital functions like say performance. A Digital Marketing manager also needs to be a good leader who can manage the team and drive the KPIs along with the team’s career growth.



Now that you know the roles that exist within Digital Marketing and have decided what best suits your needs, the next question is: what will your career path look like? What are the different roles you can assume when you move up the corporate ladder? How many years of experience are required to move from one role to the next?

Marius Westhoff, Vertical Head at upGrad, helps you chart out your career path.

In this video, we see the different skills that are required to move from an entry-level position in Digital all the up the ladder to a Marketing Head. We will go through all the different positions like an Executive, Analyst, Senior Manager, Digital Lead, Vice President and finally Head of Marketing.

It is interesting to note, that there are different ways in which you can move from an entry level position in Digital Marketing to a manager and a Digital Lead. You can be an all-rounder, executing different functions in Digital marketing, and then become a manager with a team who will execute these functions. Otherwise, you can also become a functional expert, like a performance marketing expert, or a social media expert, or an SEO expert and then move to a general role as a marketing manager. This transition is known as a T shaped marketer.

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