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How The Digital Skills Gap Affected Me After College

Posted by Rachel Mathison on January 24, 2019

Thank you for your interest in our company, unfortunately we have decided to move forward with another candidate we feel has more relevant experience…

I’ve grown a little too acquainted with this response from recruiters throughout my job searching process and I know I'm not alone. I know I don’t have enough experience, but I want to get the experience at your company! You can get stuck in a frustrating loop waiting for your “perfect fit” position to come along.

Most college graduates expect learning to slow down once they cross the stage, with diploma in hand. Sure, as far as lecture halls and office hours are concerned it does. I worked hard for four years, don’t I deserve a break? However, I quickly learned out in the “real world,” having graduated a couple months ago, is that complacency and stagnation are not an option if you want to succeed. Passively “Easy Applying” on Linkedin all day isn’t going to land me a role in which I am passionate about.

After I received the rejection email enough times to recite it by heart, I decided I needed to take a more proactive approach in my job hunt. If companies weren’t going to offer me a job because I lacked technical experience, I was going to learn these skills on my own. I decided to transform myself into the candidate they were looking to hire, one certification at a time. A survey from Udemy said “72% of respondents think skills needed for their jobs will change, and 73% say they’ve already had to gain additional skills to do their jobs.” what I learned in college isn’t enough anymore!

I began general digital marketing certifications such as Google Analytics and HubSpot Inbound Marketing and I was ecstatic to be learning the marketing skills I actually needed to enter the industry but I was also shocked. I was shocked because of how little relevant skills I learned as a marketing major that I could apply in an entry-level marketing position. Employers want data analysis skills, email marketing and Adobe Creative Cloud experience (to name a few) and I didn’t learn any of these tangible skills in my college marketing classes. I felt confident in my business knowledge, but companies don’t often ask you to take multiple-choice tests that you studied for the night before.

I discovered the Digital Creative Institute (DCI) Digital Marketing Apprenticeship and quickly realized this was the program that could teach me everything I’d been trying to teach myself. They could help me learn from local marketing experts at the top of their industry and connect me with a marketing role I could thrive in. Their website posed the question, “What if you could perfectly integrate the continued learning of graduate school with the real world, hands-on experience of a job you love?” This was music to my frustrated and jobless ears! I was looking for a hybrid program that would allow me to work in a marketing role and learn skills I could apply to my job at the same time. I could grow in value to my company, all within my first year as an employee.


According to a 2017 CareerBuilder survey, HR managers say the average cost they experience for having long job vacancies is more than $800,000 a year. THIS IS A PROBLEM. Businesses are losing money because they can’t find applicants with the right background and experience needed to meet the needs of evolving tech roles. It used to feel like there was so much competition for every marketing job, in every job that I applied for, but in reality, there aren’t enough qualified candidates per job opening.

DCI understands the pain on both sides of the digital skills gap and has planted their mission right in the middle. They are committed to bridging the skills gap for both employers and marketing candidates. By personalizing training for a select group of marketing talent and teaching them essential digital and technical skills, employers get exactly what they’ve been looking for - technically qualified candidates eager to learn and improve.

I’ve decided to take advantage of this imbalance. By becoming a DCI apprentice, I’m learning data analysis skills, obtaining email marketing experience and conquering Adobe Creative Suite. I may not have 3-5 years of work experience, but I am strengthening my digital skills everyday and am eager to learn and grow. Alongside DCI, I am helping close the digital skills gap.


If you are looking to close the skills gap with and accelerate the capabilities of your marketing team while ensuring that you are retaining the best talent, please reach out to us to discuss how we might partner to achieve better results for your marketing team.


 Hire an Apprentice

Topics: For Small or Medium Enterprises, For Recent Grads