There are plenty of negatives about a career fair, if you don’t know how to stand out at one.
Long lines can test even the most patient person’s patience. Being evaluated based on your resume and credentials quickly leads to insecure thoughts. And the employer has all the power in these conversations.
You may question, “Should I go to career fair?”
Of course you should! Because, amidst the few negatives of a job fair, there’s one huge positive: You’re finally face to face with an employer. Hallelujah!
You no longer have to play the lottery game of an online job submission. You can stop being in the dark about if they received your application or are considering you.
You get to speak to them and go over your resume. If you’re good enough, you can be asked for an interview on the spot. That doesn’t happen from an online job board submission.
To get the most out of career fair, follow the steps below. When you prepare like this, you’ll stand out at career fair more than any other candidate.
Buy A Tailored Suit
Companies can have upwards of hundreds or thousands of applicants to choose from. That means competition is tough. It also means that the little details—like how you dress—can make the difference between job search success and failure.
I understand that you may not have needed a professional suit until now, but that’s not an excuse to show up to career fair in business casual or plain casual. You need to look sharp. Because when you dress nice, you feel good, and perform at your best.
Spend the $100 to $300 for a nice black or navy blue tailored suit. The reason you want it tailored to your body is baggy dress pants (that could pass as sweat pants from afar) don’t support the idea that you’re a professional, successful student. And too tight of pants looks like you’re posing as a rock star, not a job candidate. Same goes for your suit jacket, it needs to fit your unique build.
A suit isn’t a costly investment if you consider how much use you’ll get out of it when you’re working in the real world. You can wear this suit during your day job, at weddings, and other formal events. Realizing this makes the high sticker price easier to swallow if your parents won’t pay for it.
Research The Visiting Companies
That suit you just bought may be a waste of money if you don’t do some basic research before the big day. Research is key to standing out at a career fair.
If you don’t know what the company does, how are you going to have an intelligent conversation with a recruiter? If you’re not willing to research the companies coming to career fair, expect to have some awkward conversations. Awkward conversations don’t lead to interviews and job offers, clearly.
To impress, look online for the list of companies attending career fair. Narrow down your top 5 to 10 choices. And then start Google searching what the company does, its mission statement, and the responsibilities of the job you want.
All the information you gather will be useful in helping you decide what job is best for you and navigating conversations with recruiters.
Plus, the more you research do before career fair means less you need to do for your job interviews.
Attend Information Nights
It’s a big advantage for the students who put in the extra 30 to 60 minutes attending a company’s information night. If you’re not familiar, an info night looks like this.
If the official career fair day for your university is on Wednesday, many companies will have an information night on Monday or Tuesday where they rent out a classroom. There, they’ll share more about the company, the open positions, the job responsibilities of each, and what they look for in applicants.
That information is helpful in its own right. And here’s the secret to going to these info nights, you get to make conversation with recruiters and hiring managers at the end. When you show a genuine intrigue in their company, they’ll remember you.
Then guess what applicants are the frontrunners for securing interviews and make the best impression at career fair? You guessed it, the ones who you already built rapport at the info night.
I received emails about most employer info nights, so stay up to date on your email inbox. If I were you, I’d also check your career services website or visit them in person to get the scoop on what companies are putting these info nights on.
Craft The Golden Resume
Though the most important aspect to winning job offers is how you interview, to get interviews your resume needs to be persuasive. That’s why bringing a top-notch resume to career fair is a must.
For whatever reasons, students will throw all of their experiences on a paper and call it a resume. They don’t have any strategy behind it. And then they blast it out to as many companies as possible. These same students struggle to an interview, yet alone a job offer.
You can do that with your resume, too. Or you can make your life easier by ordering my bestselling book The Golden Resume. My book will show you how to follow the exact resume and interview strategies to land any job offer your heart desires.
This book is so great because it takes you through the psychology behind the job search, then gives you tangible action steps to be the best applicant possible.
Bring A Portfolio
Hey students without a portfolio, I have two questions. How are you going to carry the resumes you bring to career fair? And how are you going to collect important business cards and papers you collect without a portfolio?
Please don’t say in your hand. You’ll look like a disheveled mess with your hands full when you speak with companies. Even if you’re not flustered, you’ll give the appearance that you are if you’re carrying a bunch of resumes, business cards, and random papers in your hand. Trust me, it’s a bad look.
You can get a portfolio from Amazon or your campus bookstore for $15 to $30. Once you purchase this, it’s another thing you don’t need to worry about during the big day.
Pre-career fair preparation is complete and now it’s time to execute like a boss.
Show Up Right When It Starts
This is actually a huge detail, so please pay attention. You must show up right when career fair begins. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Why? Because students who show up near the end risk everything.
Being late could mean all the company’s interview slots are full. It could mean the employers are tired after a long day of speaking to hundreds of students, so they don’t give you their full attention. Or you run out of time to meet with your favorite companies.
All of these issues are avoided when you show up from the beginning. Showing up at the start also gives you ample time to practice introducing yourself to companies before you visit your favorite ones.
If you have a class during career fair, ask a week in advance to miss it for career fair. Your professors should be cool with it. If they aren’t ok with it, I’d probably skip class to show up for the beginning. Time management is a must here.
Introduce Yourself With Confidence
“Hey, uhh, I’m a junior English major. Oh yeah, sorry. My name is Brian Robben. Um, what do you guys do,” is the worst introduction you can make. Are you kidding me? But I’ve heard students do it.
Although the introduction isn’t a big deal on its own, it is if you flunk it. You need to bring your A-game to this career fair and how you introduce yourself sets the tone. Since first impressions matter when you introduce yourself to a cute guy or girl, they also matter here.
Just keep it simple by saying your name, grade level, major, and an insightful comment about the company you’re talking to. An insightful comment could look like this:
- I was so excited when I saw you guys were coming to this career fair.
- Congratulations on winning the “insert award name.” (based on your research)
- One of my favorite things about your company is “insert favorite thing.” (based on your research)
Your comment makes it clear that you’re prepared and it makes a smooth transition for the employee to talk about.
Practice is the best medicine for nervousness. So practice everything leading up to career fair, including your introductions, until you get it down.
And if you’re still not confident when you arrive at career fair, just act like it. Companies won’t know the difference. Research shows acting confident can immediately translate to real results in social settings. That whole “fake it ‘til you make it” talk is right on the money.
Practice On Unimportant Companies First
I get that you’ve targeted the companies you want to visit based on your research. But don’t blast through the career fair doors and make a beeline to your top companies right off the bat.
What if you let your nerves get the best of you and shoot yourself in the foot at the company you want to work for most? You only have one shot at each company.
So it only makes sense to protect yourself from that mistake by visiting the less important companies first to introduce yourself. By unimportant, I mean companies that are not in the field you want to work in or organizations you would never want to work for.
After you visit a few companies, you’ll be way more comfortable than when you started out.
You’ll also pick up key insights during these practice rounds, like what past experiences are most interesting to them, what to say and not say, and how to inquire about future steps in their hiring process.
With a few practice conversations with recruiters under your belt, it’s time to make your best impression at your top companies.
Visit Your Favorite Companies
Everything else has led up to this moment. It’s time to shine! Visit your favorite companies with a big smile and confidence.
If there’s a long line before you can get in front of their table, don’t let that get to your head. Have faith that you want it more than other people and you’re going to prepare for the interview harder than them. The line could be 100 or 1,000 people, and you’re still going to come out on top. This mentality will help you put your best foot forward with the recruiter and stay focused.
I also find it helpful to be authentic to recruiters by saying that their company is one of your top choices. It makes the recruiter feel special, while also sending the message that you’re extremely interested in the position.
And companies hate spending time interviewing applicants only to find out they aren’t that interested in the job or the company. You immediately alleviate that thought in their head by expressing your intentions. That understanding helps secure interviews.
Collect Contact Info
You could trust that recruiters are going to take your resume and reach out to you about the next steps. Or you could, and should, get their contact information.
Before you leave their table, ask the person you’re speaking with for a business card. Or if they don’t have one, ask for their contact information so you can write it in your portfolio before you visit the next booth.
You’ll need it for the next step—sending follow up emails. And it’s nice to have even if you don’t get the job, so you can reach out next semester about another opportunity.
Send Follow Up Emails
There’s a reason you write down names of recruiters above, and it’s for this step. Send a friendly follow up email to thank them for their time and express your interest in the job.
Just because they said they’ll get back to you with the next steps doesn’t mean you can’t show your interest in the position. Just don’t go too far and bug them with more than one call or email.
You don’t need to do this and most candidates don’t follow up. That’s exactly why this email will help you stand out with employers.
(Bonus) Ace Interviews
(Yes, I know you can’t ace interviews at career fair. But, I didn’t want to help you get job interviews and leave you hanging unprepared for them. So here’s a bonus tip.)
You didn’t do all this career fair work to get a bunch of interviews and not come away with great job offers. That would be nothing but a disappointment and waste of time. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
You went to career fair to be the master of your destiny and find your dream internship or job. By now you’ve set up a bunch of interviews.
So are you ready to take the final step to ace these interviews?
The job search can be a gauntlet, though that’s what makes getting job offers so rewarding. Nothing came easy and you had to go get it, and you did.
Sure, it would be nicer if you could set up a desk at your place and have all the employers line up to speak with you. But that’s not how the system works.
So look at the positive that you have all of these employers looking for a great candidate, like yourself, and make the most of career fair. Use this event to learn more about companies. Get answers about what they’re looking for in a candidate and the next steps. And then win that job offer.
A career fair is far better than the alternative of an ambiguous online job search.
Image credits: Anita Borg Institute
Want to never work another day at a job you don’t like, so you can find your dream job? Check out my course Master The Resume that shows you a step-by-step system to do exactly that.
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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