This one skill can boost your hireability in any industry

After weathering pandemic-related furloughs and layoffs, employers are posting jobs again in droves. But they’re far from welcoming back the masses with open arms. In fact, most hiring managers seem to be left a little shell-shocked and suspicious. Some are wary of applicants seeking remote work, others are overwhelmed with an avalanche of interest, and still others are nervous and bracing for another wave of COVID-related layoffs.  

All that is to say, if the job market feels like the Wild West out there right now, that’s because it is.

So how do you create a résumé that stands out among the vast landscape of potential candidates? Especially as hiring processes grow increasingly automated

Whatever field you’re in, I believe that adding digital marketing to your skillset (and thereby your résumé) can increase your hireability and make your résumé stand out to potential employers. Plus, it has the likelihood to bump you up a pay grade, as it has for others. 

Why you need this skill

Let’s start with the basics—what is digital marketing? Essentially, digital marketing is the means by which businesses use the internet to reach customers and clients, from search engines to websites to social media to email to mobile.

And while digital marketing has been a growing industry for years, the past several years showed a significant growth pattern. According to the LinkedIn Jobs on the Rise report, hiring for digital marketing roles grew nearly 33% between April and October of 2020, thanks to the pandemic pushing communities inside and onto screens. 

While this pattern is obviously good news for digital marketing professionals, it can also be an important north star for professionals in other industries and roles. Even jobs not traditionally partnered with digital marketing or digital skills (say, sales or project management or HR) are now finding digital marketing skills useful. 

Relevant in any department

Our world has grown increasingly digital, and the pandemic only heightened this trend. More and more businesses have been finding innovative ways to deliver their services digitally and reach customers via the internet. From food service to healthcare to automotive, digital marketing is an increasingly central part of the way everyone does business. Understanding these skills and trends can help even traditionally non-marketing professions stay relevant and innovative. 

As a digital marketing expert, I discovered fairly quickly in my career that my skills translated to multiple departments in my company. For example, the HR department needed help tweaking job descriptions to be more discoverable. The sales department needed help effectively connecting to the right customers. Project managers needed help understanding their web engineers’ needs as they created platforms. All of the help I gave these departments fell under the realm of digital marketing. 

Even within skilled labor industries, digital marketing can be an extremely useful tool. Digital transformation has been a huge topic within industries that have typically been void of internet presence. Now, the game is won by an online presence. And having someone within your company who understands digital marketing will help drive more customers into the door. 

For example, an auto mechanic with digital marketing skills will have the tools to help create an effective social media presence for the shop as a whole. This will boost business by increasing awareness about services and promotions. 

These skills translate beyond social media

While digital marketing skills are helpful to any business for all the reasons listed above, including this skill on your résumé also communicates something beyond its immediate value. 

For example, if you’re in sales but I see you also have digital marketing skills, it signals several things to me. That you’re not just a great salesperson, but also a lifelong learner and a versatile employee. Even if there is a downturn and the nature of the company or the role changes, you are more likely to be flexible and adaptable, simply because you’re a self-starter and willing to learn things outside of your core job function. 

These skills also tell me that you are digitally savvy and therefore more likely to be digitally responsible—an incredibly attractive quality in a candidate. In other words, the more you know about digital marketing, the more you understand the ramifications of what you post online. You might be less inclined to post a viral, drunken Tik Tok while wearing your uniform or official name tag. The more you know about the internet, the more responsible they will likely be with the tools. 

How to acquire this in-demand skill

Thankfully, digital marketing is a growing field, and resources are abundant. You can start with the obvious resources—reading blogs, picking up a book on basic how-tos (like mine, Product-Led SEO), using online courses, signing up for community college courses, etc. 

However, the number one piece of advice I’d give you if you were looking to get started with digital marketing is to create your own website. The content doesn’t even have to be related to your profession—any sort of website at all will do. Start a personal blog, a hub for your fantasy football team, a Harry Potter fan fiction site, a professional portfolio, or whatever else piques your interest. 

Next, hook your site up with analytics and start experimenting. Set up an account with Google Analytics to gather insights on how many people are visiting a site, where they come from, and what they do on the website. Experimentation in this context is very non-technical— as a newcomer to the industry, you’re just asking yourself the question: “What happens if I do X” on my website?” 

Tweak little things to see what resonates with online audiences. Experiment with the words you use, the images you choose, the length of the content, calls to action, or whatever else you choose to include on your site. Ultimately, in order to understand how things work, you need to get a look behind the curtain.

The point of this exercise is to give you a taste of what it’s like to publish content on the internet and then to see how it translates into real-world marketing efforts. Does what you say resonate with a social audience? Does it rank high on Google? Can or will people share it on social media? These insights are crucial to your understanding of the online landscape. 

So you’re an innovative, intelligent self-starter—but how exactly are you supposed to show that to employers and hiring managers from a simple résumé or LinkedIn profile? Whether you’re in the market for a new job or seeking out a new promotion, I believe you can make yourself an exponentially more attractive candidate by adding even an elementary understanding of digital marketing to your skillset. 

Regardless of the industry you’re in (or looking to get into), employers and hiring managers seem to universally value a few key traits: flexibility, motivation, willingness to learn, and resourcefulness. Adding digital marketing to your skill set is a concrete way to display these characteristics to your potential new boss. Now, get out there and do it! 

This article was originally published in Fast Company.