When I first started working as a digital marketing specialist, this is a question I often asked myself. Am I good enough? A thought many young professionals probably recognize when first starting out. A thought which also is often misplaced. Imposter syndrome is something many people experience. Whether you started your first job, you just received a promotion or started at a new company, we feel the need to prove ourselves and sometimes even worry about being exposed as a fraud.
From graduate to digital specialist
My first job after University, was a “specialist” role. I use these quotation marks on purpose, as I definitely didn’t feel like a specialist, to be honest, not even like a professional. I did however have some freelance experience at that time, which I obtained during University. Then, the people I worked with always knew I still was a student. This seemed like a good excuse not to know everything yet and so I didn’t worry about being good enough. If I didn’t know something, I would just figure it out along the way. I was completely self-taught. Something I was really proud of, but also made me nervous when starting my first job. Could I have been doing everything wrong this entire time?
My first job experience
Thankfully I quickly realized that I knew more than some of the others who had just started as well. This gave me a cautious confident boost. It also ensured I landed a client of my own sooner than usual. It started out really well. I provided a lot of new insights and came up with some nice solutions which increased online performance. Quickly I moved up to a more challenging client. There, I worked on a project that was not feasible to begin with. They looked at me for the solution, which unfortunately was far out of grasp. This made the environment difficult to work in and even though I was doing my job fine, results were disappointing again and again. Naturally, it made me doubt myself, even though I knew at heart that the project failing wasn’t because of me.
Taking a step back
This was the point that I had to take a step back. I started working four days a week instead of five, which provided me a little more downtime and gave me the chance to regain my energy and confidence both in myself and work. From here on, I managed to maintain this level and finally got to enjoy the work I was doing. I got to work with many clients, both challenging and rewarding. This is where my learning journey peaked. Setting up digital marketing strategies and providing consult became naturally to me. And for the first time, I felt people looking at me as a true specialist.
Looking back at my experiences, I realize that what would have really helped me kickstart my career, was guidance. And I am not talking about guidance in the sense of digital marketing knowledge. I would have loved to have a coach or mentor helping me through the first few months, together building my confidence. Because I went on so quickly to my first client, I really missed out on this mentorship. Often I was the only online marketeer there. Also, because I was external at these companies, I missed out on having a manager caring for my professional and personal growth.
So, when looking for your first job in digital marketing, be sure to look out for a manager that cares. Someone that will be there along your journey to cheer you on. Good managers are key to the growth of young professionals.
Words of encouragement
Are you a little anxious about starting your digital marketing career? Don’t worry. Digital marketing is ever-evolving. This means that no one can really know everything, even specialists who have been in the field for many years. As a newbie you’re open and excited for all new possibilities (at least I hope). It will be easy for you to adopt new marketing techniques and roll with innovation. Use this to your advantage and pitch your most creative, innovative ideas.
Side note, digital marketing is all about trial and error. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you try something new and it doesn’t seem to work. Just try again and again. This is where you’ll learn the most. Want to know more about A/B testing or the data driven way of working? These articles are for you.