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Career Changers: Why Digital Marketing Is a Good Option

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By Kate Whitney


A recent survey of 1,000 consumers between the ages of 25-44 by the online learning platform EdX found that nearly one-third of respondents (32%) said that have seriously considered a career change in the past year and 29% have completely switched career fields since graduating from college. The main motivators? More money (39%) and interest in another field (21%).

However, rapidly developing technology and a constantly changing workplace means that employers are in need of skilled employees—and candidates are tasked with acquiring the knowledge and skillsets they need to stay competitive as many of these in-demand skills can’t be traced back to more traditional fields of study. In fact, only a fifth of the survey respondents consider what they studied in college applicable to their current position and one half of respondents considered their lack of education a barrier to advancing or changing their career.

For Cheryl Dobbins Hege, of Thomasville, NC, her “stale qualifications” are exactly what brought her to UVM’s fully online Digital Marketing Fundamentals Professional Certificate, top-ranked in both quality and affordability.

digital marketing career
Cheryl Dobbins Hege

Dobbins Hege had marketing experience of more than 20 years, but due to organizational changes at her business, she was transferred into the Human Resources department, which took her out of the marketing department—and the marketing world—for about five years, but she wanted back in.

“My passion is really marketing,” Dobbins Hege said. “And I felt like so much had changed in the last five years that I wanted to get caught up. I had been looking for a job in marketing for quite some time and really couldn’t get my foot in the door. I felt like part of it was that I had these old skills, so I just started researching various courses and classes and universities to take a Digital Marketing class and found UVM.”

“It covered so many aspects of digital marketing that you got your hands into so many different things—and not just an introduction—but enough that I felt like I could take that and actually use it in real life,” Dobbins Hege continued. “So, in a matter of eight weeks or so I learned a lot. It was intensive but it was very great, and I absolutely loved the fact that instructors were always there to support. If you had questions, you could always contact them, and they responded very quickly.”

Additionally, UVM offers complimentary, one-on-one professional career coaching to its Digital Marketing Fundamentals students, helping certificate graduates boost their success and confidence, acquire new tools to help them in the job hunt, providing recruiting insights, and polishing their interviewing skills—all working towards making that transition into their new career as seamless as possible.

Within months of completing her Digital Marketing Fundamentals course at UVM, Dobbins Hege secured her “dream job”—a role as a senior marketing manager in the home furnishings industry.

For those seeking a transition like Dobbins Hege, digital marketing is an incredible field of exploration. Not only is employment in digital marketing expected to grow at a faster rate than all other occupations, but typically, only a bachelor’s degree is needed, the pay can be excellent, and skills can be gleaned from convenient certification programs, like UVM’s.

UVM Digital Marketing Instructor Erik Harbison
Erik Harbison

“Cheryl is a great example of someone who embraced what she knew,” said Erik Harbison, Lead Instructor of UVM’s Digital Marketing Fundamentals Program. “But if you listen to her recollection of the course, it was fueled by a passion for marketing and that’s the one thing that carries people from non-marketing roles into success in digital marketing is that true passion and curiosity and wanting to learn more about how it all works together. This course not only helps with just the hands-on learning of the channels, but it also helps to increase confidence. So that when someone does get that promotion internally or they do get that call from the recruiter or company when they apply for that job and they can have an in-depth conversation about an approach for, say, targeting or selecting keywords for a paid search campaign, again, that confidence build is something that’s huge as part of this course that allows our students to navigate whichever job or conversation aligns with their goals.”


How to Demonstrate Transferable Skills into Digital Marketing

Picturing yourself successful in digital marketing doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have a background in digital marketing. UVM’s 8-week, immersive course provides a solid foundation in Search Engine Optimization, Mobile Marketing, Display Advertising, Email Marketing, Paid Search, Web and Marketing Analytics and Social Media Marketing. More than anything else, digital marketers need to be passionate, creative, communicative, able to multitask and analyze data, and open to trying new approaches.

Harbison notes that Digital Marketing Fundamentals students have come from a variety of educational backgrounds and careers, including human resources, non-profits, and sales positions, and that the primary focus should be on which of your skills are most easily transferred.

“If you’re in human resources and you want to move to digital marketing, an opportunity could be as an account executive at a digital agency because there are a lot of those transferable skills from dealing with individuals and dealing with complex organizational communication issues,” Harbison said. “Those skills transfer nicely into digital marketing. That’s not to say that an HR professional can’t be a paid search expert, it’s just that, at the base, you want to look at your skills and see what’s the easiest transfer point for their investment and time into a new career in digital marketing. It’s been really great to see people unbundle some of their desires and skillsets that align nicely with some of these digital marketing channels.”


UVM’s Digital Marketing Fundamentals Professional Certificate is accepting registrations now.