Interview mistakes are always costly, but they’re deadly if you’re unaware of them and continue to make them during every interview going forward.
That’s a problem that never ends and will always cost you great jobs, unless you fix it today—which is my goal.
And if you’ve struggled to get jobs, the good news is you can improve and dominate interviews in the future.
My mission in writing this is to shine a light on common interview blunders and tell you how to improve. Ideally, you will never again shoot yourself in the foot during an interview.
If you make these mistakes it’s time you know so you can develop your interview game and fix these weaknesses.
It’s only then will you have a chance to stand out among all the other applicants to win job offers.
And if you don’t struggle in these areas, then you should be extremely confident going into your next interview. Because you know your competition will surely make these errors.
Let’s take a look at the most common 11 interview mistakes so you can determine how well you interview.
Deadly Interview Mistakes
1. You dress unprofessional
First impressions only take about seven seconds to make, so you need to be on your game the moment they first look at you.
A baggy, unfitted suit for a professional job interview will suggest that your ability and value to their company is also not high quality.
And now you’re starting behind the eight ball before you even say hi and tell them about yourself. Talk about a bad start.
Where if you dress in a nice-looking, fitted suit, you pass the initial test and make your first impression a good one.
Dressing well will also give you confidence the rest of the interview and this will come out in your interview answers.
This is example one, including the rest of this list, where the little actions add up to make or break your performance.
2. You show up late
You’d have to have something wrong inside your head to think showing up late is not a problem— like this girl definitely has a screw loose.
Being tardy is disrespectful to the interviewer’s time, displays your poor time management skills, and gives the impression you’re not serious about securing the job.
Three strikes and you’re out. As my friend Evan says, “That’s pathetic.”
The only thing worse than showing up late is not showing up at all.
I don’t care if there’s an accident, a time change the night before, or some other deterrent, you should plan to show up early so you at least make it on time.
Ways to ensure you’re not late are to plan on showing up 15 minutes early, write down the address and know how to get there, and plan ahead for parking if the company doesn’t have their own lot.
Just don’t be late.
3. You don’t bring your resume
Truth is you never know who is going to interview you and if they’ve seen your interview in advance or not.
That’s why it’s always wise to print off a few extra documents, just in case.
Remember these are busy hiring managers and executives who often don’t have time to review your resume before the interview. So many of them will review your resume and ask the questions on the fly.
If they don’t need your resume or already printed it off, it doesn’t hurt to bring it. And if they ask for it, you’ll come off as prepared if you have it instead of unprepared if you don’t.
The only way you lose is if you don’t bring it.
4. You forget to smile
In case you didn’t know, smiling is the universal language for kindness. Go to any faraway culture or land, and a smile is the same: a warm welcome and expression of kindness.
Smiling when you first introduce yourself, throughout the interview, and after as you’re saying goodbye, sends the message that you’re likable and you will get along with the rest of the team if you’re hired.
If you forget to smile, you give off the vibe that you’re not a happy or friendly person and could have issues working well together with other employees, or (even worse) be unfriendly to clients or customers.
So remember to smile and you’ll improve your interview success rate.
5. You’re clearly underprepared
Not doing your homework will come out during the course of any interview.
You may struggle to answer why you want to work for the company or what you know about the company. And you will struggle to cater your interview answers to their specific needs and wants.
Why not come prepared and rock the interview?
Spend an hour or two to research the company. Then go a few more hours to prepare your interview answers and consider how you’d respond to different questions they might ask.
You’d study more than a few hours for a college exam, I’d hope, and this job interview is far more important. Treat it as such.
Show you truly want the job or you won’t get the job. It’s that simple in the hiring process.
6. You have weak eye contact
This is as much a social skill as it’s a career skill.
Eye contact communicates confidence, trustworthiness, and focus on the task at hand.
Whereas scattered eyes sends the message that you’re either unsure of yourself, untrustworthy in your interview answers, or unfocused. None of these signals will help your cause for landing this job.
A few ways to improve your eye contact are to:
- Focus looking at one eye
- Look long enough to discover the interviewer’s eye color before you look away
- Break your eye contact by nodding your head, making a hand gesture, or smiling
- Make eye contact while you talk and listen
Too much eye contact can be awkward, so find a happy medium.
7. You talk with fluff and generalities
So you say you’re extremely hard working, passionate, and organized? Cool, so are 99% of the other candidates.
Generalities don’t persuade any interviewer that you can perform for their company and provide value.
The only way you’re going to separate yourself from the pack is if you don’t answer their questions with fluff.
Your answers need to include specific, concrete stories of where you performed and made a difference in your previous work experiences. That’s how you convince them that you’re a winning candidate.
8. You’re arrogant
Want to know the best way to piss off an interviewer and lose the job? Act like you’re better than the job, interviewer, or the company.
Even if you’re far more skilled and experienced than all of the other candidates, nobody likes a jerk.
And you need the interviewer to like you because they’re the ones who give feedback to their superiors on whether you go forward or get rejected.
Plus, since company culture is increasingly important, companies would rather have a kid who is coachable than a know-it-all who doesn’t play nice with others.
To be clear, I’m a big advocate for selling yourself to get the job. But be confident and poised, not cocky and annoying.
9. You bad mouth your old boss or company
Ripping on your old manager or company doesn’t make you stand out. And it could cause you a lot of harm.
Because they’re going to secretly think something like, “There are always two sides to every story, what did you do to cause this?” Or, “If we hire them, it’s only a matter of time before this bad apple turns sour on us.”
And the interviewer could very well side with your old manager when you present the situation.
That’s another issue you avoid if you never bring it up in the first place.
Stay professional and polished. Don’t sling your old employer in the mud or you’ll get dirty too.
10. You don’t ask questions (or good questions)
It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question. – Eugene Ionesco
I doubt Eugene used this in reference to how to interview well, but he nailed this idea.
It’s a major red flag to not ask any questions. That means you’re not educated enough about the company to ask or you just don’t care about getting the job.
And while most applicants give cookie cutter questions, successful job candidates will separate themselves by asking great questions.
These questions will indirectly advance the thought that you’re a quality candidate who is serious about getting this job. That means you’re winning half the battle already.
If you have an interview coming or you’re interested in what to ask, read 15 questions to ask interviewers.
The questions in that article are sure to impress and lead to valuable feedback.
11. You forget to take note of their name and email
How can you write a solid thank you letter to the interviewer if you don’t grab their name and email? That’s the point, you can’t.
So what could have been a cherry on top of your performance—by thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest in the position—is another missed opportunity.
And CareerBuilder did a study that found 33% of hiring managers think less of applicants who don’t send thank you notes. Meaning there is a real benefit in sending one.
By now I’ve made this clear multiple times, since job searches are extremely competitive, if you get lazy in any area then it will show up and cost you.
Let’s not have that happen to you. Just ask for their business card to get their name and email, and then send the email after the interview.
Execute The Interview Like A Pro
Some of these little mistakes on this list wouldn’t cost you if you were one of five candidates interviewing for the position.
However the average corporate job attracts 250 resumes according to this Glassdoor finding. This means you have to be diligent to the tee if you want this job offer.
So how do you win the company over? Doing the opposite of the mistakes above is the bare minimum to stay in consideration.
This won’t set you apart from the good candidates.
That’s why you also need to go on the offensive to separate from the pack and win over interviewers. Your strategy and execution is what convinces them to hire you.
How do you strategize? It all starts with preparation.
You have to first know what job you want and why you want it before you every craft your resume, apply, or interview.
Though this takes more work than blasting off 100 applications on Monster, it will save you from wasting time down the road from working at jobs that you don’t enjoy.
Once you know the type of job and companies you want to work for, it’s time to start researching them. This preparation is critical because you’ll pick up valuable insights on what it is their company is precisely about and how employees succeed there.
All of this preparation will be used to write a specific resume, create your cover letter, and answer interview questions.
Speaking of what to say in the actual interview, here’s my biggest tip: Remember it’s all about what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you.
Sell yourself to these companies by communicating how you can provide value to them in each and every answer.
The top selling points you can give to a company include:
- Previous experience
- Relevant skills
- Strong referral
- Intense desire
- Great personality
Talent expert Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, who has interviewed more than 20,000 candidates, tells candidates to, “Show the connection between what you have achieved and what is really needed to succeed in the specific job and context.”
That’s right on the money! Because if you’ve performed well in a similar position and tell stories about it, you make it easy for the interviewer to connect the dots that you’d perform in this job.
When you defensively don’t commit silly mistakes and offensively go on the attack to stand out, you’re going to wind up with a whole bunch of job numbers.
Once your approach is rock solid, it’s only a numbers game of networking and applying until you secure a great job that makes you happy.
And the good news is you get to take everything you learn now with you for the rest of your career and future interviews.
So it’ll pay off now and later to develop interviewing skills. Best get started today!
5 Things Successful Freelancers Do At Networking Events
As an independent contractor or self-employed freelancer, your level of success depends on your ability to create and sustain relationships. The number of clients you have, the stream of work you produce and the revenue you earn are all contingent on the scope of your business network.
The more dedicated and intentional you are about forming quality connections, the more professional growth, impact and advancement you’ll experience. “By growing your network, opportunities arise, business partners appear, connections are made and trust is garnered in the local community,” says Sharon Schweitzer, best-selling author and consultant.
And in the freelance and entrepreneur world, the service you’re promoting is ultimately yourself—which makes it even harder. If you’ve ever tried to write a personal bio, you know what I mean. Promoting yourself can be challenging, but successful business owners and freelancers know it’s necessary.
As you attend various networking events to grow your network of potential client and those who can support your efforts, keep these tips in mind.
Come Equipped with Business Cards
Every networking event is a chance to gain new clients. As such, you need to present the most professional version of yourself. That version doesn’t just dress well and act polite—that version of yourself always has business cards too. This gives everyone you meet something to remember you by, while showing that you take your work seriously.
Remember that the design of your cards should not only be polished, with readable text and all the right information. It should reflect your brand and personality as well. Check out these interesting business card ideas to find inspiration and a unique style that matches who you are and the work you do.
Pro tip: Find a way to make your business card actionable or helpful. For example, if you’re a personal trainer, you could include a workout on the back of your business card. Not only is this more memorable, but you’re already helping the person who you just met—and you haven’t even done anything yet.
For some people, attending a networking event is stressful. Not only do you have to talk to people you don’t know—but you have to show them that you’re successful and worth connecting with. This is where the fear of personal failure, which was the number one fear among 1,000 Americans polled, can slow you down.
Successful freelancers push this fear aside to present a confident, successful person. To release any personal fears holding you back, use these tips from The Muse:
- Choose “non-lame” events and stick with events you’re excited to attend
- Stop saying “networking,” which makes it feel intimidating
- Volunteer at the event instead of going as an attendee
- Research the roster ahead of time so you know who will be there
- Reward yourself afterward, I.E. “If I give away all my business cards, I’ll…”
- Have conversation starters prepared
- Approach people in pairs, which may feel less intimidating
Pro tip: Practice your power poses before going to a networking event to boost your confidence. Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, suggests that standing in these power postures, and using similar body language, boosts your confidence, even when you don’t feel confident. Learn the different power poses in her Ted Talk.
Seek Contacts to Fulfill Specific Needs
One of the many advantages going to a networking event is that it attracts different people with varying degrees of experience, interest and expertise to one place. As a freelancer, this means there are chances to meet a wide variety of people who could help you, from developers for your website to potential business clients.
Successful freelancers define what they’re looking for before they step foot through the door. I.E. a mentor, client, partner, or even just a fellow creative to bounce ideas off. Keep these goals in mind as you build connections at the event and afterward. Global entrepreneur Ted Rollins suggests:
“As these relationships grow, consider how they fit into that burgeoning ‘why.’ Someone could be more valuable in expanding your business, while another person might serve you best in a mentorship role.”
Pro tip: Stay in touch with everyone, even if you don’t need their help right now. This is one of the best times to be in touch with someone because it gives you a chance to help them instead. When the time comes to reach out for a request, you’ve done the work to maintain that relationship over time.
Use the Skill of Active Listening
This interpersonal skill is highly regarded in professional settings because it shows other people that you want to form a reciprocal relationship instead of just a self-serving one. Mind Tools describes an active listener as someone who makes a “conscious effort to hear not only the words another person is saying but, more importantly, to understand the complete message being sent.”
To practice this at a networking event, approach people with an open stance, hold eye contact, remember to smile and use receptive body language—freshen up on receptive body language with this guide from Skills You Need.
Don’t forget to ask questions that start with “Who?” “What?” “How?” and “Why?” The more attentive you are toward someone, the more they’ll trust your motives.
Pro tip: Practice active listening in every area of your life—with your friends, your family and your spouse. Work toward being an active listener, even in the simplest of conversations, so it comes easier to you when it matters most, like when you’re meeting a potential investor or business partner.
Send a Follow-Up Message Promptly
Communication is critical to solidifying your new potential relationships and successful freelancers follow-up within 24 hours. When you do, express your gratitude for their assistance, offer any other relevant information that wasn’t shared in person, and reiterate what a pleasure it was to meet them.
Not only does prompt correspondence keep your name fresh in people’s minds, it establishes you as a genuine individual whom others feel secure doing business with. If the context is appropriate, you can even add personal touches like inquiring about a recent vacation they took or mentioning a common interest you share to express that you’re invested in them relationally.
Feeling uninspired? Check out these follow-up email templates.
Pro tip: After following up via email, connect with anyone that stood out to you on LinkedIn. This is a second chance to remind them of who you are, and once connected, you can casually interact via “liking” posts and commenting. This ensures you stay top of mind and makes it even easier for them to reconnect with you at any point.
Step Into the Networking Arena
Learning how to network effectively is an asset you can take straight to the bank. Move outside your comfort zone, engage with other professionals, and use these pointers to maximize your efforts and form connections that will provide value for many years to come.
BIO: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a full-time freelance writer and self-employed content marketing consultant. She’s been featured in Forbes and Business Insider and has written for Virgin, Glassdoor, Lifehack and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 and connect LinkedIn.
Why Your Salary Is Costing You Millions In Earned Income
The average person craves a salaried job the for comfort, security, and the guarantee they can pay their bills.
But a salary will cost countless people millions of dollars in earned income throughout their career.
It’s ironic that we want a guaranteed income so we can live comfortably leading up to and through retirement.
That’s what society promises, at least, until things become uncomfortable.
Once something bad happens—you get fired, laid off, don’t save enough, salary increase doesn’t keep pace with inflation, make bad financial choices, have expensive kids, get divorced—and now you’re far away from a comfortable retirement nest egg plus have less skills and determination to go make your own money.
The salaried gig looks great on the outside, until you dive deeper to see that it’s often the single biggest demotivator and limiting factor to earning more money.
Your Salary Kills Urgency And Entices Laziness
Though not entirely similar, a salary shares some common characteristics of communism.
You get the same paycheck every month regardless of your performance—pretty close to communism.
At many jobs, a guy like Bill will voluntarily show up at 6 AM every work morning and leave at 8 PM, while slacker Johnny over there shows up at 8 AM and leaves at 6 PM and is paid the exact same wage as Bill.
The paycheck doesn’t reflect the reality that Bill worked 20 plus more hours than Johnny and got a heck of a lot more done than Johnny.
Talk about unfair? The salary gig is cruel, I’m telling you.
And since that situation isn’t fair, human nature will get Bill to think, “Stop working so hard. Why bother to put in the extra hours if I’m not rewarded? I’m going to start acting like Johnny because he’s doing just what’s asked of him and the boss doesn’t notice my performance.”
Now I’m not naive to think that bonuses, raises, and promotions aren’t a thing in the workforce—a differentiator from communism.
However, those are just too much out of your control to count on and you’re not rewarded until months or years later. And they often require smart salary negotiation, which is difficult if you’re not practiced, on top of luck.
Plus, in the example above, if Bill decides to work less and deliver less value then he won’t get the bonus or raise even if there’s one available.
The idea is that a salary often persuades workers to do the bare minimum to keep their job and keep getting paid.
It doesn’t entice individuals to give their all each and every day to not only make themselves double the income, but the company double the return on investment in them as well.
Knowing a paycheck is coming has a cocaine effect where you’re addicted to that monthly guaranteed income even though it’s not in your best interest to rely on it.
What’s worse is the damage it does to your overall net worth.
Guaranteed Income Costs You Millions Of Dollars
The addiction of needing a salary will costs millions of people, millions of dollars in lost income.
Let’s take a look at the multiple reasons why a salary sets you up to fail in the chase towards wealth.
For one, the average salary increase in the US doesn’t match the potential of a hustler who gets to decide their own income based on their work ethic.
A May 2017 forecast from WorldatWork predicts that salary increase budgets for U.S. employers will grow 3 percent on average in 2018 across most employee categories.
Say you make $50,000 a year at your 9 to 5 job you despise. Are you going to bust your butt for 261 work days in the year for a 3% salary increase? I’m not. We’re only talking about $1,500 at that rate.
The work compared to the payoff doesn’t add up to a good deal. It’s not motivating to me. It shouldn’t motivate you.
I could work at McDonald’s and come out with more dollars per hour than that thievery.
You’ll drag your feet for a 3% salary increase (+$1,500), but perform like a workhorse if you have a definite opportunity to double your current income (+$50,000).
That’s a difference in $48,600 between the two of them for the year and this is just the beginning. The difference is exponential over the lifetime of a career.
Second, when your income is entirely in your hands—be it as a beginner entrepreneur, commission sales rep, recruiter, or other job—your butt is on the hot seat from the get go to perform.
There’s no room to take it easy if you want to eat that week and keep your business alive.
Plus, you’ll be motivated to save extra money since this can turn into the business’ emergency fund or a payroll account to hire some contractors or full-time employees.
Meaning each dollar you earn has a higher purpose than eating expensive meals and treating yourself to materialistic clothing purchases.
And by investing in your business, your company and you personally will take home more profits than if your income was tied down by a normal 9 to 5 job.
I’m not surprised when I look at the richest people in each state only to find that none of them are salaried works but entrepreneurs and business owners.
Now you don’t have to be an entrepreneur, but you do need a job with no ceiling on your income if you want to get maximum performance out of yourself and the rewards that come with it.
Third, the rate of your learning is immensely sped up when you have to rely on your own work ethic to make money and pay the bills. You can’t afford to be out of the know in your industry if you want to compete with your competitors.
This is the pressure that forces you to gain knowledge and then use that experience to win more deals for yourself.
Plus, you can compound your knowledge to make more money in the future or consult others on the keys to success based on your experience. These opportunities aren’t there in the corporate world.
By getting off the addicting salary drug and choosing your own medicine, you force yourself to provide value to others so you can ultimately get paid what you’re worth.
And the more patient and skilled you become, the greater this income increases over years then decades.
That’s how your income grows by hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, which adds up to millions, instead of 3% and $1,500 (if that) every year.
Work Like You’re Not On Salary
You only get to do this thing called life once.
Why take the safe and boring road with a salaried job that is like driving a minivan straight on a flat road until retirement, when you can take the thrilling road in a sports car up a mountain with jagged cliffs and unbelievable views?
Bet on yourself. Work your face off. And work like you’re not on salary.
By mixing things up, you’ll discover if your company rewards you for going above and beyond what’s asked of you.
And if they do incentivize your efforts then you don’t need to find a different job. Maybe it doesn’t though and you see the writing on the wall: you’re worth millions more than you will ever earn here so you find a better job you love.
It’s like any pursuit in life, you need to get out of your comfort zone to truly push yourself, grow, and become the best version of yourself.
Happiness comes from personal growth. So take the jump and make the most of it.
Millions of dollars are nice, but the feeling of personal satisfaction from working incredibly hard and getting rewarded for it will far trump the money—every time.
What You Should Know If You Start A Career In Marketing
Silvia Li, young hustler and marketer extraordinaire, contributed this one of a kind article.
When college students majoring in marketing graduate, they expect to land a job in which they can apply all the skills they learned during their four years in school.
When I was a freshman, that’s what I thought. Looking back, I was naive to think that way.
Marketing strategies are changing every day. Consumers are behaving differently every day. Generations are shifting. And textbooks, unfortunately, haven’t changed in years.
Simultaneously, competition for marketing jobs is insane.
You have to stand out among many other graduates to land a job where you can make enough to pay your bills and loans, while having enough to travel and enjoy personal life post-graduation.
So what should you know before diving into a career in marketing?
What does it take to get a job in marketing?
What do you actually need to know to enter the real world of marketing?
Without real marketing experience or projects, there’s a lot you can learn ahead of time to maximize your chance of landing a marketing job.
In my career working with the world’s top entrepreneurs on marketing, I have learned a number of lessons that I wished I knew on my first day as a marketer.
To all of you starting a career in marketing, here’s a list of lessons and things you can do to prepare before starting your first job.
The list is a collection of advice from all the lessons I’ve learned – including my experience launching the largest startup publication on Medium to trending globally on top storytelling sites to working on digital campaigns that have trended internationally and creating global movements.
It takes more than a resume to work with the best talent in marketing
When I set my sights on becoming the best marketer in the world, I knew I had to surround myself with the best.
I started by providing value.
I reached out to one of the best entrepreneurs in Los Angeles who ran an education technology nonprofit called Yang Camp. And I sent her a list of ideas that I thought would help her grow her organization.
I didn’t know if the ideas were any good, but they certainly got her attention. I didn’t need a resume to get the job.
Don’t get me wrong. My resume was helpful but at the time, but other people might have looked more qualified in paper.
I had told myself and told others that I would find the best ways to provide value and that my resume didn’t completely reflect who I was.
I created partnerships all across Los Angeles with schools and nonprofits to ensure our curriculum was being taught in different schools and afterschool programs across the city.
We worked with Microsoft and Girls in Tech Inc. to bring together over 100 young students to learn about STEAM.
I created campaigns that everyone in the Los Angeles area saw.
Little did I know at the time that in order to work with the best, it wasn’t about my resume. It was about being resourceful, strategic, and resilient.
Since then, I’ve signed up for a lifetime of tackling complex problems and working with the best talent in the United States.
Most of you have had a summer internship somewhere, perhaps a startup or famous marketing agency or well-known organization or nonprofit.
Guess what? So do hundreds of people in your school. The fact that you had an internship helps, but it doesn’t necessarily help you stand out and show that you’re the best candidate.
It might get you an interview but it’s still not enough to show who you really are and what you can accomplish.
Companies are seeking folks who can come up with new things so extracurriculars or projects that show you were a key asset are always a plus.
To show real impact in marketing, you need to show that you’re up-to-date with the latest trends.
As mentioned earlier, marketing is changing every day. Own your resume – show your uniqueness, your value, and your impact.
Find a team that will empower you to learn – Teamwork makes the dream work
To maximize your satisfaction at work, find a marketing gig where collaboration is part of the culture.
Trust me, this will reduce misunderstanding. It’ll establish a well-connected community with ample opportunities for you to grow and learn from executives and other managers.
While companies that let you do your own thing will be fun and allow you to tackle new challenges, working directly with a team will provide you a lot more mentorship and guide you in the early phases of your marketing career.
During the interview process, make sure that they have open communication channels and continuously boost employee engagement.
During your interview, ask your interviewer if the organization encourages everyone to regularly report their likes and dislikes.
Do they help employees feel like an integral part of the company’s grand vision? If their answer doesn’t make you happy, make sure to ask more questions to understand where they are coming from. If you completely disagree, maybe it’s not worth working for that organization.
Corporations with pre-set hierarchies make it tough for employees to give feedback or learn new skills. That’s why you need to find the best fit and balance. Read the job descriptions well and find a place where you feel comfortable.
When I worked at Startup Grind powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, the largest independent startup publication in the world inspiring and connecting 1,000,000 entrepreneurs, I immediately knew that my boss was a leader.
Since day one, he encouraged me to own projects and try new things. I could sense it during the first interview call that he was someone to trust and who would empower me to dream more.
Throughout my time at Startup Grind, I learned all things about marketing including public relations, content marketing, SEO, social media, and influencer marketing.
Crazy thing is that I learned by example and by doing my own research.
Because my team trusted me and worked with me, I was able to grow and launch the largest startup publication on Medium.
Early in anyone’s career, you’ll have multiple ideas to make your organization grow. Write them out on a list and share them with your supervisor. She’ll have feedback.
If my boss, hadn’t given me an opportunity to try this new project, I wouldn’t have grown this publication, which at this point, has been read by millions of people.
The content of the publication has now been syndicated to large media outlets including BBC, The New York Times, and more. It has even surpassed the White House’s Medium publication, which is pretty incredible.
As a marketer, I’ve been lucky to work with the smartest people on Earth. I’ve been able to work with serial entrepreneurs and New York Times Best Sellers.
But none of these collaborations would have happened if I didn’t work with a team that trust me and empower me to grow.
Make sure you find that early in your career.
Marketing isn’t all about brand awareness and viral campaigns. It’s about business impact.
Marketing innovation has made huge leaps and shifts in the last few decades but there’s something that hasn’t changed.
Marketing strategies need to be tied to creating revenue or reaching a goal in the short-term and long-term.
When you launch a new strategy, you need to ensure that you have an overall vision on how each thing you create leads to a greater impact in the organization. Your video went viral! Great!
But did the right audience see it? Did they share it with other people that are interested in buying your product? Make sure it does!
During my time as Head of Marketing at Hostfully, a venture-backed startup focused on the vacation rental space based in San Francisco, I built a marketing infrastructure that ensured that every single marketing stream would lead to possible sales.
To do so, we needed to figure out where our users were and where they spent the most time.
I spent days researching and building the different personas of vacation rentals. I created a content strategy that would promote our brand without mentioning our name.
Instead, our main goal was to provide value to customers, which would ultimately lead to more people referring others to our blog. Our blog became a large percentage of our traffic and led to more active and paid users. In a few months, we brought tens of thousands of users.
Business impact needs both quantitative data and qualitative data. They will both show you what’s effective, what’s not effective, and whether your hypotheses made sense.
Effective marketing campaigns focus on creating content that users get value from and eventually will convert to paid users.
You need to be ready to think critically and understand who your users truly are. How can your company serve them to be better?
Make sure you know this in every organization you work at.
Mentorship and freelancing – Learning outside of work
Early in my career, I learned the importance of mentors. From day one, I found people who I looked up to and wanted to learn things from them.
I found Twitter to be one of the best tools to network. Twitter, in fact, changed the face of my career as a marketer. I met the best talent in Silicon Valley through this social platform.
I followed their conversations and engaged with them on a daily basis. Little did I know that I would get to know them in person. Because of these initial Twitter conversations, I had the privilege of working with them to launch the first Startup Weekend focused in the Latinx community.
This event held in Oakland brought together entrepreneurs in the Bay Area who were eager to build products.
Do you know what else has helped me to become a marketer? Freelancing. As you see, I’ve worked with all sorts of organizations throughout my career.
How did I find these? By building a brand online.
People have read my blog for years and have seen my thought process and experience. This has led to getting cold emails from founders and venture capitalists reaching out to work with them.
Last year, I worked as a content marketer with devAcademy, a tech company in Peru where I developed the company’s first content marketing strategy that led to ten thousands of unique views in just a few weeks.
I also revamped their website content to improve their user experience and conversion rates.
This job was very fulfilling because I got to work with an entrepreneur who is a hustler. Not only did I learn about the tech ecosystem in Peru, but I also learned more technical skills and what it takes to become an entrepreneur.
If you’re a marketer, you need to learn multiple skills. Go learn outside of work – network, read a book, freelance, and volunteer on projects that you’re passionate about.
These are all of the things I wished I had known before I started my marketing career. If I could go back in time, I’d try to accomplish all these things earlier in life.
I hope you found this list beneficial in planning a successful marketing career.
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