Digital marketing is all grown up. Well, that’s what we like to think. In some ways digital marketing continues to be a young and inexperienced industry. Anyone who has hired for a marketing company in the past 5 years can tell you, there’s still a lot of growing up to do. Did you have a bad experience hiring a digital marketing person or agency? I’d love it if you shared your story in the comments below.

But I digress. As a growing digital agency on the Inc 500 list, we’ve learned a few things that have helped us grow. We know that people are always your best asset. And clients continue to tell us this. We have clients who have been with us since the beginning. We’ve grown with many of them — our success dependent on theirs — and we think our results speak for themselves.

When we decide we need to bring in more people, we want to be sure they have the right stuff to be awesome. We’ve integrated a candidate grading system to help us hire awesome people. Top grading has a lot of great ideas that help us find great people. Thankfully, being from Denver has helped us too. Denver’s terrific diverse workforce has a lot of talented people.

If you’re looking to start your career in digital marketing, here are some tips we’d like to offer.

#1 Be a digital marketer first

We like to hire people who are geeky. Being a digital marketer firsts means that you’ve created your own projects. You’ve shown effort outside of your school work or previous job experience. Building a site, a blog or even being largely engaged with one or more social networks adds some serious credibility. Finding that thing that interests you enough to spend your free time exploring it shows real focus to your potential employer. So, I encourage you: Go try some new things and be ready to fail. If you do, you’ll learn valuable lessons that will stand out in your next interview.

#2 Do your research

If you’re serious about getting hired by someone, show them what you know something about them, it’s charming.

Charming can go a long way.

What’s even better? Show them that you have knowledge in a diverse range of topics/concepts. People can find out a lot about how do to SEO, PPC, social media and a lot of digital topics online from the massive databases of terrific resources. Even if you’re a PPC girl/guy, find out a little bit about SEO and other specialties. Being able to speak knowledgeably about general topics, even if you’ve only read about it, is a great way to make sure you hit the ground running.

Digital marketing companies use a lot of lingo, and not understanding it will likely cause you to use that lingo incorrectly. A misplaced reference or acronym is a very quick indicator that you don’t know much about the topic you’re discussing. For example, don’t say something about Google’s Panda update and think it’s link related.

#3 Be prepared to work

Digital marketing companies aren’t all foosball and video games and more. The industry is finally growing up. Expect to find more fun from the work you do than from a distracting office environment. That means you’ll be expected to be very busy and love it. Sure, we still have a good time, but don’t expect to have daily dart tournaments eat away from your production. Digital marketing teams have a lot of work to do if they want to take care of their clients.

PPC is in some cases managing 10,000+ keywords and 1,000’s of Ads.

SEO never stops and there’s no such thing as a perfect site.

Social media is often times managing all new creatives, campaigns and ad groups on a weekly basis.

As digital marketers, we still have a lot to learn but the promise that people are your best asset rings true to us. Digital marketing can help businesses grow and thrive. If you’re looking to start your career in digital marketing, you’ll be facing a different type of marketing agency than you might expect. The grown up agencies love data, bring creativity and care about results. If that’s where you want to work, then take some chances and bring your A game.