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Starting a Digital Marketing Career

Digital marketing is a hot field. It has been hot for more than ten years. I rarely share much about how to move into the field of digital marketing. However, I get many questions about it because a large part of my career was spent as a digital marketer.

When I first started, there were no specific courses you could take. Digital marketing is a career path that attracts entrepreneurial minded people. Advertising on the internet changes quickly, so those working in the field must constantly grow their skillset. These quick changes require marketers to be self-learners.

My background in computer engineering helped open the door to the digital world because I had experience building websites.

Initially, I became an affiliate marketer. Affiliate marketers help to sell products online for other companies, and then receive a percentage of the sales they generate. I built websites and created digital marketing campaigns to sell a number of products and services, including shoes for the website

You need experience in digital marketing to become a digital marketer. It’s hard to land a job that requires experience when you have none. Affiliate marketing is relatively easy to break into. It gave me the experience I needed to get going. That led me to a full-time digital marketing position which led to more experience and more work opportunities.

But, things have changed quite a bit since I started. One notable difference is that early on, many digital marketers were generalists. There were fewer total professionals in the field, so each person needed to have a broad skillset that covered many areas. Now, there are more professionals, so many have more specialized roles. For example, one digital marketer may focus solely on placing and optimizing Facebook ads. In the past, this person would have known some Facebook, and a bit about every other social media website. Each person now has a more in depth knowledge of a smaller number of topics.

There are also more courses for digital marketing. Colleges offer them. Websites have them. There are meetup groups about digital marketing. The digital marketing community has grown.

If you are interested in switching into digital marketing, start by thinking like an entrepreneur. Look for free resources to get you going before you pile money into courses. If you prefer to take a formal class, check out This site offers free online courses from schools like Harvard and MIT.

Look for a way to get experience, even if it means volunteering your time. In the early days of Facebook, I volunteered to setup and administer a Facebook fan page for a non-profit. It greatly increased my understanding of the site, and it gave me real experience that I could put on my resume.

Digital marketers are self-starters. When you’re making the switch, whatever you do, don’t wait for someone else to show you the way. Make your own path.

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at

Secrets Recruiters Won’t Tell You

Applying for a job seems like a fair process. You apply online, and if you’re a good fit for the job, the company will give you a call. You’ll go in person for an interview and show your expertise. Then, the company will carefully decide who the most qualified person is.

When you don’t land the job, despite being extremely qualified, it can leave you wondering what you’re doing wrong. “Why didn’t the company hire me? What could I have done differently?”

The issue is, not everything is really as it seems in the world of hiring. There are a number of things the recruiter won’t (and often can’t) reveal to you when you’re interviewing for a job.

  1. The hiring manager has a preselected candidate. Sometimes this person is internal, and sometimes they come from the outside. It’s not uncommon for the hiring manager to have someone picked out before you get there. But, the company continues with your interview. This is often because they need to meet their internal process requirements around hiring.
  2. The position has been put on hold. I have seen this more times than I care to count. A company is midway through the hiring process. They have already started interviewing candidates. Then, something happens to put the brakes on the entire thing. Perhaps, they have run out of funding, and a hiring freeze has gone into effect. Or, it’s possible that the hiring manager has moved to another department, or has left the company completely. The big boss doesn’t want to move forward until a new hiring manager is in place, so they can make the final call.
  3. The company is reworking the role. If a role is new, it’s possible that after the hiring manager conducted a few interviews, they realized that their expectations were a little off. Perhaps they want to find someone with a slightly different skillset. Or, they may have realized that the talent they’ve interviewed is a bit outside of their price range. Whatever the reason, they’ve pulled the job posting down and are going through the process to come up with a new, refined role.
  4. The organization moves slowly. This one is always a big surprise. Perhaps you had a great interview and were told you would hear something within a week. Then, nothing happened. You assumed the job was completely lost until a few months later, someone from the company calls for a follow up interview.

Your best chance of landing a job is to practice and prepare. But, if you don’t receive a job offer, don’t assume it is 100% your fault. The company has a number of things going on behind the scenes that will impact whether or not you’re hired. Unfortunately, they will rarely disclose these issues to you.

Rather than focusing on failures, use them as practice to prepare for the next big interview!

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at

The New World of Social Media

Social media used to be so fun. We could all stay connected with friends and family, for long periods of time and around the world. It felt like social media was expanding our friend circles. For example, I have reconnected with friends that date back to kindergarten. Before the internet, this would have been much more difficult.

Fast forward to today. If you’re like me, you may feel at a bit of a loss about the purpose of social media anymore. Sharing a photo of the wonderful food you ate last night feels insignificant. We’ve also learned that posting beautiful family photos or vacation pictures may come across as bragging. Many folks feel negative after seeing their friends doing so well – even if their online personas are a bit of a show.

If what we were posting is so insignificant, perhaps we should be posting about something important? There’s so much to pick from in today’s news. Is that what we should be posting about? Should we use our online voices to be heard?

I’m honestly not sure. If you’re like me, you can probably see the argument for both sides. On one hand, it’s important to speak up for what’s right. It’s important to share your views and try to make a difference. On the other, I wonder how much social media is helping our cause, and how much it’s alienating us from others.

Someone recently said to me, “Wow, I had no idea how many of my friends I don’t like. When they start posting their political views on Facebook and I don’t agree with them, I know we can no longer be friends.”

In a certain regard, this is sad. The more we divide ourselves by our beliefs, the less we are willing to talk through important ideas together. As children, we made friends based on who share the same hobbies, not who voted for the same person.

This recent string of bad news has left many people struggling to define the role of social media. When social media first started, it was a relatively positive experience filled with cats and babies and vacation photos. Now, it’s all a bit different.

At the end of the day, we each have to decide how we want to use our social media. Whether it’s sharing family photos or discussing politics, the decision about what to share is a personal choice.

With that said, one thing is for sure. If you’re looking for a new job, your future boss is likely looking at your social media. We may assume they are just looking at our resume, but it is rarely the case. They will Google your name, and will go straight for your social media profiles.

Managers are people too. They have unfair biases that come into play. When you decide what to share and how to use your voice, just remember – the world is watching.

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at

Treating Employees with Dignity

Part of my job is to work with professionals who have recently become unemployed. It’s incredible how many people are impacted by layoffs each day. Often, the person was let go due to something outside of their control. Their company reorganized and laid off an entire department. The employee had a great track record of loyal service.

Ultimately, the company had to look out for their own best interests. Perhaps they needed to eliminate a department that uses out of date technology. Or maybe, they need to scale back operations in order to survive. Even though an employee is sad to lose their job, typically they understand that this sort of thing happens.

This is the part that I don’t understand, and I’m not sure if I ever will. Approximately eighty percent of those I speak with have had the same experience. They went to work one morning, and started to do their job. Then, their boss called them and asked them to come to their office for an unplanned meeting. The boss informed them of the reorganization and told them their job would be ending – effective immediately. The person was then walked out of the building.

Company reorganizations are a part of life. The situation I just described doesn’t have to be. Without fail, when I speak to someone who has gone through this experience, they’re broken – often for months or years. They have gone from a loyal, productive employee one day to a hopeless, crying person the next.

It seems that the company feels that if they give the individual some kind of financial payout, this procedure is acceptable. In reality, the sadness and depression the employee is facing is only partially about money. What it’s really about is losing their identity. It’s about being walked out of their workplace as if they’re a criminal. It’s about being suddenly separated from those they have considered their second family for years. It’s like going through a death.

It seems there’s an assumption that a jilted employee may strike back. They may doing something to get retribution while they’re still in the office. I have never seen a single job seeker who was given advanced notice do anything other than be appreciative that their company gave them a heads up.

Companies are slow to implement new strategies. This means that very often, big layoffs were planned months in advance. Months when the impacted employees could have been planning their next move, if they had more notice. This time would not only help them plan, but it would help them to avoid the giant emotional loss that comes along with being walked out of a building you have worked in for so long.

Try to be empathetic with the employee. Put yourself in their shoes. They aren’t just a number. Employees are people who have given years of their time and their heart for their companies.

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at

The Value of College

College is expensive. Private college is even more. My undergraduate school is now charging approximately $50,000 per year, just for tuition. Assuming you’re paying of pocket, that’s two hundred thousand dollars for a four-year degree, not including room and board.

I love my college, but this is bananas. The idea that a student or parents are expected to come up with this much money for school is difficult to wrap the mind around.

The high cost of college makes you wonder what the money is for. College is more than a finishing school. It’s more than a place to learn about history. It will set the foundation for your future professional career.

To facilitate this career, many colleges offer a career resources center. But, they are typically opt-in. In other words, career resources isn’t a priority.

If finding a job is the ultimate goal, why doesn’t every college offer a mandatory class about just this topic? Along with history, math, and writing, why isn’t there a class in how to get a job? After all, we spend four years learning the skills we need to do the job. Why not have a course in how to get that job?

It seems simple. Universities could use leverage existing career resources staff, or they could find outside coaches or professionals. Fundamentals might include elevator pitch, resume writing, and professional networking.

If students knew how to get a job, they would be more likely to land one upon graduation. They very well might make more money, and in turn, the school would become more valuable. If your school already has a program like this, that’s excellent news. But, sadly, most of the students I speak to don’t have such a course.

If you are evaluating where you want to go to college (or graduate school), consider this. Most schools publish what’s called a post-graduation report. You can typically find it through a straight forward internet search such as “post-graduation report for Harvard University.” This report will typically share information, including: which industries graduates work in, which companies hire graduates, where graduates live geographically, and how much graduates make.

The how much graduates make portion is important. Graduates from certain colleges (or with certain degrees) make much more (or much less) than other graduates. This is real. Companies will very often pay a graduate from a pricey school more than one from another school. Or, they will pay graduates with science or computer backgrounds more than those with art or history backgrounds. This may seem intuitive, but the post-graduation report outlines it clearly.

The next question is – will this education have a good return on investment? Education is an investment. It’s an investment in future income. Fortunately, there are ROI calculators online that can help think through this process. At the end of the day, the college and major you select may be influenced by the ROI of the degree.

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at

Love Your Job

The month of love is upon us again. Happy Valentine’s Day! It always happens just after we create our latest New Year’s resolutions. We’re often still thinking about career goals, and future plans. All these goals bring up an important question. Do you love your job?

If the answer is no to this question (and you have fallen out of love with your job), this is the perfect time to make a change. The first step is to identify what you like (and dislike) about your current job. Being in tune with your feelings will help you to spot your perfect job, and career, in the future.

If you don’t love your job, what is it that would make you want to go to work every day? Are you looking for more meaning? Would you like a bigger paycheck? Do you prefer more autonomy and respect from your boss? Perhaps you want all of the above.

What do you like about your current job? Hopefully, there are good parts to your less than ideal situation. Do you feel that you’re working on something with a purpose or a mission that motivates you? Does the job give you flexibility in your daily schedule? Maybe there’s something else that you enjoy about your work.

When we’re unhappy at our current job, we often start by looking through job postings for the perfect job title. We assume that the right title and job description will make all the difference. Although this makes perfect sense, it’s rarely that straightforward.

Finding the right job is often about finding the right situation. It’s about finding a supportive boss, and good coworkers. It’s about finding a reliable company in a stable industry.

Would you agree? The perfect job title doesn’t mean much if you hate your boss, or your workplace. Alternatively, you might be willing to make a little less money if you could just find a job you loved to go to each day.

Remember, finding a job is a lot like dating. If we breakup with one person, but we don’t take the time to reflect on what went wrong, we very well might end up in another equally unhappy relationship. This is often the case when we run from one job to another due to a difficult situation.

Once we have a good idea of the pros and cons at our current job, we should start building up our professional network. Even if we’re not ready to switch today, we will need our network when we are. Plus, finding a job through networking gives us a higher chance of success. We may already know our future boss. Or, a friend may share how great their company culture is.

Like dating, the more you know about the company going in, the more likely you are to find a match. After all, finding a job you love is all about fit.

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at