Career in Digital Media | How to get hired by Start-Ups | Expert Speak

Digital Media and Start-ups in Digital Domains have become the first and most preferred choice of millenials. Be it the thrill of being part of something new, exciting and ground breaking or the challenging work environment and culture, digital domain presents lucrative career opportunities. But, being a nascent and evolving domain, not many people are familiar with the process of joining the digital media organizations or being hired by start-ups. To help us decode that, Jagranjosh.com interviewed Sudipta Sengupta – a digital media expert, who shares the key traits a digital media professional should have in this fast changing industry.

You work as a digital media consultant with multiple media companies. Which are the profiles you see recruitment opening up lately?

In start-ups or companies that are from non-digital domain, I see a demand for mid-senior level ‘know it all’ type of person. Product Managers or Technical Project managers with knowledge of analytics, business tools, and improved soft skills get a preference there.

I also see an increased demand of vernacular content people and translating agencies across various media platforms.

In an established digital media company there is always a need for good digital sales people.

With most media companies under stress, I see roles getting fused where people with multiple skill sets getting preference. So you will find project managers taking charge of products and content writers also playing the role of social media managers. Thus, expanding your knowledge in other domains has become very important not only for growth but also for survival.

What do you personally look at while hiring a candidate, especially fresher candidates in the digital domain?

It’s easy to judge an experienced candidate by his or her resume, work experience. You can also do a proper due diligence. So there is always a set process that a company follows and most of the time if suffice.

However, the challenge comes while hiring fresher candidates.

The first thing that I check is the interest and clarity of thought. Have you thought through what you want to become, what you want to do, does it suit your personality, have you done something (besides your regular course to prepare for it)?

I look for the projects, internships the candidate has done or additional certifications that one has acquired to fulfill his dream.

There are many students who come with an open mind and confess upfront that they do not understand all the profiles and will like to experiment in different roles. That is completely ok with me. But then that also needs to reflect on their resume.

The other thing I check for is the person’s social media presence, their personal ability to influence or trigger conversation. If you tell me that you want to be a sports journalist and I don’t see you sharing a single sports article on your social media or no opinion or conversation regarding sports in your timeline, it’s a red flag for me.

Do start-up media companies hire Product Managers?

Product Managers is what they need though many start-ups will not call it by the same name. But start-ups look for Product Managers who have hands-on experience with multiple roles rather than just coordinators.

Also, Product Manager’s job is no longer limited to wire framing, looking at analytics and planning UI, UX. It is much more people oriented now than it was before. So start-ups are willing to hire Project Managers with enhanced soft skills and people management skills and then put them in a Product Management role.

What about digital content people? What will be your suggestion to get entry into digital journalism or digital marketing?

First, start by not thinking of you as a specialist but a generalist. There are no more silos now like content, marketing etc. Everyone needs to have basic understanding of everything.

Second, read up. Do your basic certifications. Most of them are free. Google Analytics, SEO Certification by Moz, The essentials of Facebooks Page Posts by Facebook – these are all free courses and certifications.

Third, learn the basic tools. Do not think that as a content person your job is only to type on Microsoft Word. Those days are long gone. Learn how to embed a tweet or a YouTube video, how to resize an image properly, how to create a graph on Datawrapper using data in Microsoft Excel.

Fourth, build your clout – both on social media and in real world. How many people you know, how many people know you is your real strength. As content people, you must have diaries full of contacts from all aspects of life that you can reach out to in short notice to get quotes or interviews. This doesn’t happen in a day but the process needs to start early.

Do additional certifications help? What are the additional certifications a mass communication student should pursue if they want to enrich their resume for a digital marketing?

Of course it does. From a ‘good to have’ thing it has now moved into a ‘must have’ thing on your resume. As a fresher if you have taken the pain of doing a short course on Google Analytics or SEO, it speaks a lot about your seriousness towards your career. Many of these certifications are available absolutely free on the internet. All you have to invest is time.

What will be your suggestion to people who are looking to enter the digital industry from other industries?

First, do not carry a baggage. This is a new industry. You are fresher. And there is no harm in being one because even the best of digital guys do not know everything in this ever changing world. So learning is a constant process.

Second, understand the industry and roles first. Do not club SEO, Email Marketing, Ad Operations and everything else that you may not understand under ‘technology’. Understand which of your colleagues do what so that you will be able to discuss your problems with the right person. Thatways, they will feel appreciated and you will feel less frustrated.

Third, learn the basic terminologies. Digital world is full of terminologies and abbreviations. Learn the basic ones fast. Especially, the ones related to Analytics. You cannot be a digital person if you still start the conversation with “How many hits does this website get?” Learn the meaning of Unique Visitors, Pageviews, MAU, DAU etc. No matter whichever digital role you are in, you need to know the basics.

About the Expert: Mr Sudipta Sengupta is a digital media professional. He consults multiple media companies on setting up digital platforms and content strategies. Over last 14 years he has worked with entrepreneurs and companies of various scales helping them take the first step into digital.

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