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11 mistakes to avoid on your digital marketing resume

Bethany Simpson
11 mistakes to avoid on your digital marketing resume Bethany Simpson

Mistake No. 1: Listing skills you don't excel in

We've all been there. It's late at night, and you're looking through your resume one more time before sending it to a contact at a great new company. What last minute edits will make or break your chances? We spoke with 11 senior digital marketers about mistakes they've seen. Some of their answers are important common-sense reminders; some of their answers surprised us. We begin with Paul Rhyu from Apollo Group and his advice to leave out skills you don't excel in.

Paul Rhyu is senior vice president of digital media and marketing operations at Apollo Group, where he oversees internet marketing on behalf of University of Phoenix and other Apollo entities. Prior to joining Apollo, Paul had an extensive career in strategy consulting and online marketing. He was a global partner at the strategy consulting firm, Monitor Group, where he led strategy engagements for global enterprises in the telecoms, consumer goods, and automotive industries across four continents.

Mistake No. 2: Forgetting relevant experience

Don't overlook important projects you've worked on that might be "just the thing" a new company is looking for.

Josh Lukin, director, club initiatives, at MLB Advanced Media is an experienced sports marketer and advertising professional who provides digital marketing solutions and project management for professional sports franchises and sponsors in MLB, NFL, NCAA, and NASCAR.

Mistake No. 3: Mass-send your resume

Are you trying to play the numbers game by sending the same resume to every position on indeed.com that includes the words "digital marketing"? Hiring managers can tell.

Susan MacDermid, President of dmg :: events, manages a portfolio of digital marketing events and media businesses. She has global responsibility for events that gather together 75,000 marketers with a combined budget of US $50 billion. Prior to her current role, Susan ran interactive agencies in Asia, Europe, and the U.S, and has a background as a strategist in emerging mass media, especially how models for content, subscription, and advertising evolve based on enabling technologies.

Mistake No. 4: Ignoring the business's goals and strategies

Just because you have a matching skill set doesn't mean you understand what a new company might need from you. Do your research. It matters.

Alix Hart joined Best Buy as senior director, digital marketing, in March 2011. Hart is responsible for leading digital marketing strategy, including mobile marketing, social media, digital promotions, and creative. Prior to Best Buy, Hart led online marketing and media for the synapse division of Time Inc. consumer marketing, where she managed web partnerships and ecommerce initiatives, including social commerce. Prior to Time Inc., Hart led CRM, online media, and web strategy for Dyson, and spent eight years at Pepsi in various roles including online media and web strategy for the beverage portfolio, multicultural marketing, and brand marketing. While leading online media and web at Pepsi, Hart championed and launched Pepsi's first social and SEM initiatives.

Mistake No. 5: Not bringing your A-game

If you want into a hot company, you have to be at your best.

Scott McAllister is the vice president of international consumer and small business services social media prospect marketing for American Express. In this role, he is responsible for defining new approaches to leverage social platforms to identify, market to, and convert new business. Additionally, he is overseeing development of the next generation data management platform for targeting and segmenting prospects based on their social graph information. Prior to his current role, Scott was vice president of digital strategy and innovation for the American Express Interactive division. In this role, he developed the enterprise's long term digital capability strategic road map on a global level.

Mistake No. 6: Overuse the term "digital"

If your experience is the right fit, great! But if it's not, adding "digital" won't help. Be business savvy in how you tell your story.

Josep Hernandez, senior director, communications planning, at Kraft Foods has 15 years of experience in strategic planning both digital and traditional from general advertising, to consumer research, to CRM, to digital and social with a rather media agnostic approach to problem solving.

Mistake No. 7: Over-focus on LinkedIn

You pimped out your LinkedIn profile until it was exactly what the new company was looking for. But what will they find when they look at the other social media platforms? Don't forget to create a consistent picture of yourself.

Michael Schanker is vice president of field marketing at Lithium Technologies, where he manages product marketing, sales, and business development.

Mistake No. 8: Be too full of yourself

When you make it to the interview, there's a question few people answer well. Here's one marketer's humble advice.

Greg Cannon is the corporate head of digital marketing for Caesars Entertainment.

Mistake No. 9: Lie

This advice may seem like a no brainer, but a recent "unveiling" proves that even high-level executives fall prey to the temptation to pad the truth. Chances are you'll be found out.

Mike Boush is vice president, e-business, at Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS). Discover is a leading credit card issuer, direct bank, and electronic payment services company, and is one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Boush is responsible for the company's digital strategy and delivery through online and mobile channels: marketing, customer service, community, and brand experience.

Mistake No. 10: Ignore storytelling and ROI

Hiring managers aren't looking for someone who can use the words DMP and CPM; they're looking for someone who understands business and who can make a difference at their company. If you're job hunting, don't miss Yancy's advice.

Telisa Yancy is the director of advertising and brand and media at American Family Insurance.

Mistake No. 11: Don't be passionate

Finally, whether in the interview or in your cover letter, your future employer wants to know that you want the job! Don't be afraid to show that you're passionate about what you can do for the new team.

Chetan Bhargava, head of digital marketing and e-commerce at The J. M. Smucker Company, has over 18 years of progressive experience that spans across e-commerce, interactive and digital marketing, social media, international and general business management. He has been a part of trusted consumer brands such as Smucker's, Jif, Crisco, Pillsbury, Folgers, Dunkin Donuts, Millstone, Café Bustelo, Café Pilon, Hungry Jack, Eagle Brand, R.W. Knudsen, White Lily, Martha White, and Uncrustables, to name just a few.

Bethany Simpson

Bethany has worked with Fortune-1000 executives for 8 years. From 2007 to 2011 she served as director of content development for the Leadership Network, a private online community for C-Level leaders of Fortune-1000 companies and $1B+ organizations.

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to leave comments.

Commenter: Carole Walker

2012, September 28

Change Mistake #10 to Being Dispassionate.

Commenter: Editorial Team

2012, September 20

btw, if you're interested in digital marketing job advice, here are two more articles you might like:
10 deadly interview sins (http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/32462.asp) and How to avoid being overwhelmed by the digital job market (http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/32314.asp)

Commenter: Omar Kattan

2012, September 20

Thanks, yes a bit confusing, well to me at least. Great site btw, glad to have found it. Keep up the brilliant work!

Commenter: Editorial Team

2012, September 20

Great comment, Omar. We also love soundbite 10. And title 11 is kind of a double negative: The mistake is to not be passionate! Maybe better to say "Mistake No. 10: Not being passionate" :)

Commenter: Omar Kattan

2012, September 20

Fantastic! Mistake No. 10: "Ignore storytelling and ROI" is spot on. Also, the title of No. 11 can't be right. "Don't be passionate"? The guy in the video is saying be passionate.