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How to get the job at a digital agency

The digital advertising industry in South Africa is constantly evolving, and plenty of smart, passionate candidates are vying for jobs at the hottest digital agencies. So how can you differentiate yourself from the rest? We’ve put together some top tips to ensure that you stand out.

Create a prolific and intelligent online presence

Turn yourself into a brand with an original and well-informed online presence. Use all available tools to build yourself a following: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram.  Are you blogging? Are you engaging in conversation with key industry players? Are you following the influencers and staying abreast of the latest creative and technical industry news?

Your employers are bound to check your mastery of the digital realm before deciding whether to hire you. Make sure you have a lively, fresh and coherent online presence that proves you know how to use the net to make a real impact.

Know the industry inside out

Know which agencies are running which accounts. Scour the web for the latest digital and integrated campaigns, and form an educated opinion on them. Find out who is winning which awards, and follow the work of those teams. Know which agencies are hiring and which are firing; who is winning the big accounts and who is losing them. Find out why.

Useful websites such as Between 10and5, Memeburn and MarkLives will keep you up to date with local industry news.

For global happenings, follow TechCrunch, Mashable, Smashing Magazine and ReadWrite.

Network

With access to social media tools such as Twitter, networking is easier than it has ever been.  Initiate conversations with the big players and stay connected. Go to industry events such as Digital Cowboys, Creative Mornings, PechKucha and Girl Geek Dinners.Follow your favourite designers on Behance. Become an active member of the industry by staying engaged.

Research & innovate

Before going to an interview, ensure you know the agency’s work inside out. Create strategic ideas of your own that you think could strengthen a campaign or impress a client. Innovation and passion will get you everywhere.

Speak the language

It is vital that you know how to speak digital, even if you are not a developer. Know the difference between PHP and .Net, and why you would choose to code in any particular language. Gain an understanding of how certain functionality requirements need specific languages and platforms to work.

Get a grasp of the basic principles of SEO and PPC, and know which mailing systems are breaking new ground. Even if you’re on the Client Service team, know how to use Photoshop or Gimp, and the basics of HTML. Try websites such as Codeacademy for free online tutorials.

Create a (brilliant) online portfolio

Set up a bog or online portfolio of your work to present to potential employees at any given time. You can add certain elements to your LinkedIn profile, too.

Let your passion lead you

Being passionate about the digital realm will spill over into everything you do, and is sure to impress your potential employers. Demonstrate openly how much you love all things digital by staying abreast of the coolest new apps, sharing the campaigns that have impacted you and connecting with new, young talent to make creative ideas come alive.