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The Career Bucket List: 20 Things You Should Do Before You Retire




Everyone has their bucket list: Travel the world for a year. Go skydiving. And swim with dolphins in Hawaii. But here’s why you should have a career bucket list.

Most of the time I don’t go for the mental tricks that get humans motivated. Because at the end of the day they’re often short-term fixes that don’t produce long-term results.

(How’s your New Year’s resolution going? Yeah I thought so.)

But I am high on bucket lists. There are countless stories where individuals have used their bucket list to become the best version of themselves.

And this got me thinking that everyone could also use a career bucket list to accomplish more than they previously imagined or thought possible. That’s the inspiration for this article.

It makes sense why bucket lists work because holding tight to a vision with a purpose behind it is important. It not only motivates you but reminds you of why you’re doing what you’ve set out to accomplish so you can persevere.

That’s the intention of this career bucket list: To inspire you to think big and take risks while you still can in your career.

After all, there will come a day when there’s no longer the chance to try some of this activities. Best aim for them now while you can.

The Career Bucket List

1) I want to get my first adult job out of college.

Quality bucket lists start small and build their way up. You need to crawl before you walk in your career and the first step is getting that official, adult job out of college.

Take this job search serious since studies show your first position and salary can often influence the rest of your career.

If you’re not confident in your job hunt ability, my bestselling book The Golden Resume walks you through how to write a persuasive resume to win interviews and the insight you need to succeed during interviews.

2) I want to increase my salary by $1,000+ through brilliant negotiation.

Both during the hiring stage and while on the job, you as an employee have more power than you think to increase your salary. Don’t think so? Get this: I personally increased my first-job-out-of-school salary by $10,000 from the initial offer.

You can do the same to get similar results and you should. Use the tactics in this article and the employer will have no choice but to sweeten your salary offer. Just thank me later when this works out for you.

3) I want to receive a big promotion.

Guy, girl, or animal, at the end of the day everyone wants to feel respected. That’s why receiving a significant promotion at your company within a few years is no small feat.

If you put in the work and don’t do anything terrible stupid to jeopardize yourself (like accidentally doing a live stream drinking with your friends on the company’s Instagram account instead of your own—I know someone who did this), you can knock this item off your bucket list.

Then go celebrate because you’ve earned the right to!

4) I want to quit a good job for a great one.

Sometimes the people who just absolutely hate their time at work are better off than the people who feel mediocre about coming into the office.

Because for these people it’s crystal clear they should resign to find something better. But the people who kind of enjoy their job that are trapped in a mirage to stay for a few decades too long when they’d be happier doing different work.

If you’re not all the way there on the job happiness scale, then you should experiment going outside your comfort zone to quit and find more satisfying work (reminder: no job is perfect).

The phrases YOLO—you only live once—and FOMO—fear of missing out—should apply to your career just as much as a weekend activity.

5) I want to work in my favorite city.

Work and location go hand in hand. Often how much you enjoy yourself is dictated by the place where you work, who lives there, and how much fun you have on weekday nights and weekends in this city.

A country lover is going to have a hard time getting fresh air and seeing stars in New York City. While an ocean fanatic is going to feel like they’ve lost a part of themselves if they are stuck in Nebraska. Or it’s tough to enjoy life if all of your friends and family live somewhere else.

Pairing your work with your favorite city has to be a priority. Maybe you do even one better and your bucket list item becomes “I want to work my dream job in my favorite city.”

6) I want to be fulfilled in my job’s work.

Two people go to work. One dreads going. Has such a horrible time there that they would pay anything to make the clock tick faster. And is depressed at night because they know they have to go back to that place of hell tomorrow.

Another individual wakes up happy. They think about all the cool things they get to do at work and then feel fulfilled while doing them. And when they get home, they’re relaxed because their job satisfies their desires.

Go find a job that fulfills your interests, curiosities, and values.

7) I want to land my dream job.

Your dream job doesn’t have to stay in your dreams. There are dream jobs out there with your name on it, so why not pursue them with everything you’ve got inside you?

Call, email, and meet in person all of your possible connections who could get you closer to getting offered that dream position. Know exactly what the interviewer is looking for and be that. Practice your interview skills every week.

You can get your dream job with the right amount of focus and energy (sometimes patience is needed too).

Hint: My course Master The Resume can help you get that perfect job where work doesn’t feel like work.

8) I want to have a boss who truly appreciates me and compliments my work.

Horrible bosses can turn you from a positive person to a negative person real quick. It doesn’t help that they usually wield the power of your employment, salary, promotion, and reference letter if you leave.

On the flip side, an amazing boss who appreciates your effort can completely change your work outlook and career trajectory. And they also can put in a good word to help you go the places you desire at that company or at another company.

Before you retire, you need to find a boss who appreciates your hard work. It’s sometimes rare to find but oh boy is it a blessing.

9) I want to lead a new project, team, or division to a successful outcome.

Advancing in your career gives way to new opportunities and responsibilities, such as leading a team.

Achieving individual success is cool, but former athletes know that there’s nothing quite like the feeling of winning a team sport.

In this case, it’s business and you’re leading the team to victory. It’s your job to set the tone, culture, and direction of this team to a successful outcome. Challenging? Yes. Rewarding? Incredibly so.

Now that’s deserving of your bucket list.

10) I want to take a mini-retirement to travel for 12 months.

The baby boomers and all of the generations before them did retirement wrong.

For 40 or 50 years they would only take a week or two vacation every year until they retired. Then they’re 65 years old or older with too much free time on their hands and it’s harder to travel at their age. (Not to mention all of the people who miss retirement because they pass away early. This is grim but true.)

A better way is to take a few mini-retirements throughout your career, if that’s your thing, because then you guarantee you see all of the places and do all of the things you’ve wanted to as you live. These mini-retirements are best when you’re transitioning between careers.

11) I want to make $100,000 in one calendar year.

I always say this but admit it or not, your money matters. It affects your day-to-day decisions and long-term decisions. Want to take that trip around the world? Want to quit your job? Want to surprise your mom by flying home for Thanksgiving? You need money.

However, I truly believe that money represents how valuable you are to your company, industry, and society as a whole. It’s supply and demand. Aiming to make $100,000 means you need to be skilled in your field.

For these two reasons, desiring to make $100,000 (or more) in one calendar year isn’t vain or selfish. It’s admirable.

12) I want to speak at a conference in front of my peers.

I get it, for some of you this could be your biggest nightmare and the opposite of a bucket list item. Public speaking is more feared than death, they say.

However, for the people who love attention and all eyes on them, there may be no bucket list item greater than speaking in front of a thousand people.

It’s an honor to be invited to speak. And then going on stage is truly a rush! You’ll feel like a rock star.

So if you have something important to say and love inspiring others, this is a must add to your career bucket list.

13) I want to start my own business.

Ever have the urge to take the jump and see if your business can fly? This is a common bucket list item and it makes sense why.

Business owners have the following advantages:

  • Work when and how often they want to
  • Unlimited income with no ceiling to how much they can earn
  • Don’t have to take orders from anyone or deal with crazy bosses
  • Location-independence to travel as they please
  • Have something to pass down to their children

And there are too many to count other perks—along with a bunch of struggles but for many people it’s worth it. If you have the desire, you have to cross this off your bucket list someday.

14) I want to hire employees to work for me.

It’s night and day between a freelancer and a true business owner with multiple employees reporting to them on a daily basis.

Anyone can become a freelancer. But having employees work for you means your business is both successful and sustainable enough to last while also having a forward-thinking mindset of expansion. That’s something to be extremely proud of accomplishing.

I’ve always dreamed of being CEO of a huge conglomerate so this bucket list item peaks my interest maybe the most. Does it interest you?

15) I want to join the board of a local organization I believe in.

Part of what defines a successful career is how an individual used their talents and resources to benefit others.

What better way to do this than to serve on the board of a local nonprofit, charity, or church where you’re committed to their mission?

But board invitations don’t go to everyone. That’s why this a solid bucket list item as you advance in your career and build a name for yourself.

Use your network and connections to cross off this bucket list item. Only then can you serve in this leadership role you desire.

16) I want to become an expert in my field and write a book.

Good luck trying to wing a book. That’d be a nightmare writing it and for your readers to consume.

Authoring a book requires expert knowledge to know what to include in the book and how to communicate in a way that’s best for your audience. As Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”

It’s a great bucket list item. You’ll receive added credibility to accomplish other items on this list, passive income from book royalties, and a legacy holder to look back on.

I’ve written 3 books and each one was an incredible struggle that ended in ultimate joy. Master a field and then join me with the author title.

17) I want to mentor a promising startup company.

You can’t hold onto what you’ve learned in business forever. Sooner or later you’re going to die, or you can pass on what you’ve learned to a help guide a startup company to the promise land.

This way your legacy tree grows if you’re the difference-maker for a startup company that has the innovation and drive, but they need your vision to make the right strategic moves.

Besides personally rewarding, it can be extremely profitable to be an early advisor or mentor to a startup and receive some ownership for your work. And when they succeed, or blow up with an IPO, you’re mega-rich for it.

But if mentoring isn’t your thing, you may want to teach at a college or high school.

18) I want to teach students and inspire a younger generation.

The student becomes the teacher could describe you if you desire to become a professor and share what you’ve learned in your storied career.

The job has some nice perks like making a true difference in some individuals’ lives, mentoring students to a successful career path, and being on the other side of the grading assignments ordeal.

Right now I don’t think I’d want to be a teacher. But who knows, things could change in a few decades you know? What about you?

19) I want to retire early.

Imagine calling it quits in the corporate world at age 50, 40, or even 35 years old? People are doing it which shows this reality is 100% possible.

As this article explains, “There is a growing movement of young retirees who are smashing our conventional beliefs about what it really takes to retire early. They’re not born rich, they’re not lottery winners and they’re not Silicon Valley insiders.”

Read that linked article to learn how they did it and how you can too. Retiring early on your own terms would be unbelievable!

20) I want to retire financially free and a winner.

What’s retiring a winner mean? For different people the idea will be different.

But for me, this concept means retiring on your own terms, having financial freedom to not worry about money in your golden years, and looking back on your work life thinking, “I had one hell of a career. I can’t believe how much I accomplished. Wow, what a ride.”

Not all retirements are the same. Some people can’t afford to retire. Or they retire with enormous regret that they didn’t make the most out of their time when they had the opportunity to work. Make sure you retire on top!

You Control Your Career

It’s unbelievable how much you control your career and destiny. Be smart with a sound strategy and work your butt off, then you’ll get whatever you want eventually.

I firmly believe that.

And that’s the perspective you need to have after reading this career bucket list post. Nothing is stopping you from doing what you desire in your career except your mindset.

When you get out of your own way, amazing things happen. You’ll be more successful and happier.

Of course, if something on this list doesn’t interest you (like teaching a college class) then don’t waste time pursuing it. But on the other hard, just to confuse you, you might enjoy being your own boss more than you could ever know before doing it.

The point is it’s your career. You hold the cards and get to decide when and where you play them.

Take risks. Go outside your comfort zone. Experiment left and right. Do all you can to create a successful career that you can be proud on when you look back at it in retirement.

Not pursuing your individual bucket list is soul crushing when it catches up to you. Don’t give your career a life sentence of mediocrity.

Live big! You owe it to yourself and the people around you, you know?


Very Good Lives by JK Rowling: Book Summary

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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.

Release Fear

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.

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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.

Related: Would You Live Off A Dollar A Day To Achieve Your Dreams?

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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 worked extra hard.

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.

I’ve been a viral blogger on Medium, Commaful, and on my own blog, WRITE LAB.

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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Brian Robben's three books.