Sunday, May 16, 2010

Having A Blog Really Can Land You A Job

Last month I got my first job (that pays) since I graduated from college in December, working for a Seattle web design company. It was a humbling journey on the way to employment. I had a lot of phone interviews that went great, but didn’t get an in-person interview. Many more resume submissions were lost in a black hole never to be heard from again. Sounds discouraging, right? Well, it is.

For those of you that are going to be graduating this Spring my advice to you is this: your degree will not get you a great job (unless you are an engineer maybe); you need to differentiate yourself and make sure you are showing employers why they need to hire you; put yourself in their position and ask, “is this person worth the money?”

Think about this sports analogy: professional athletes will get released as soon as they are not producing (scoring points, making tackles, hitting homeruns). You and your job are no different. As your degree won’t get you a job, your resume won’t either. Don’t rely on such things. I’ll talk more about this in the next section of this post.

Another thing I’ve learned is that discriminating among potential jobs is a bad idea. As a college graduate I had preconceived notions about what kind of job I wanted. Marketing and sales (my job now) was no where I my radar. But it turned out that I’m good at these things AND I enjoy them. Just because you don’t think you won’t like the job doesn’t make it true. The key is trying things out and learning more about yourself. After 17 years of school you have know idea what you really want to do. Take Seth Godin’s advice:

“Conventional wisdom is that you should find a job that matches your passion. I think this is backwards. Transferring your passion to your job is far easier than finding a job that happens to match your passion.”

For example I am transferring my interest in social media marketing and writing to my job. I am working on the side to create a social media (mostly Twitter) strategy for the business. I am also working on ideas for the company blog. These are my passions and I’m transferring them to my job.

My job is part-time at the moment until the company (5 people) grows enough to justify more hours for my position. But I really like the job and the people. I was hired to do marketing internally and for clients, but was asked if I wanted to do sales also. In my eyes this was my chance to show WHY I was hired (plus sales is a great skill to learn, every organization does sales). So I’ve been calling all the leads that I have been researching for the past three weeks. I found that I liked the challenge that sales inherently brings.

My point? Do the job you were initially hired to do, but take on new responsibilities and look for new projects that expand your job title. Having this mentality is justification why you were hired in the first place. Taking on the sales role was my first step to becoming a linchpin. Also this makes work so much more enjoyable: doing and learning new things, taking on new challenges. I won’t lie that I was slightly terrified when I first starting making cold calls. But each successive call I got better. And on my second day I landed my first appointment. Now after a week of calls I’m super comfortable doing this work. It’s all about stepping out of your comfort zone and kicking fear’s ass.

I Differentiated Myself

The job I applied for was as a marketing assistant. As you now from this blog I didn’t study marketing, at all. My past jobs were either in restaurants or retail. So the most relevant experience I had was in customer service.

So my strategy to make myself an appealing candidate for the job was to basically say none of that matters. Instead, I explained why my degree in economics would make me a kick-ass marketer and why my lack of experience makes me hungry to prove myself, as shown by my cover letter (shown below) that I sent with my resume. My approach in the cover letter was to be unconventional. All my past cover letter for other jobs were standard and by-the-book. That obviously didn’t work out, so I went in the opposite direction: pointed out my flaws, made bold statements and dare I say, was myself. Read it over and you’ll see. Read the bold parts if you don’t have time for the whole thing.

I have not been a professional marketer. I do not hold a marketing degree. In my opinion, none of that matters. And here’s why: I market myself daily through Twitter and my blog. Using Twitter and blogging has developed many of the skills needed for this position. Here are a few things that I have learned through these mediums and would make me a dependable employee for your business:

  • Tweeting is like writing copy. Why? To get people to click on my links – which often times leads to my blog and shows I am a person who provides value – I have to be compelling with a very small amount of words. Thus I have experience writing concise headlines that sell the idea of clicking a link. This skill is obviously a must for this position and I feel confident in my abilities.
  • Being on Twitter has also taught me how to add value to others. I try to answer questions and be a dependable person for information. This builds relationships that are strong. And all marketing really comes down to is making connections with people. Making people feel that relationship.
  • Through blogging I keep multiple skills fresh: time management and organization, writing, critical thinking, strategic planning, creativity and networking. Consider my blog my writing sample. Here is a link to a post that is more directed to this position: Here is another post about blog traffic strategies:
  • Blogging has also taught me the importance of SEO. Although a lot of my blog’s traffic is from my own guerrilla (social media) marketing tactics, I am trying to integrate more SEO principles in to my blogging, such as using links and keywords that are search-able. I know that if you give me a chance I can be a SEO expert, because A) I love to learn and grow, B) I want to be a great employee and C) SEO is a huge part of marketing products online.

Wait There’s More. My degree is in economics. For people that haven’t studied economics it might be seen as a obscure topic. But I have learned many valuable skills/traits from my studies: the ability to put myself in another person shoes, which allows me to see what they really want and how I can give it to them; being able to think about a challenge critically and come up with solutions that are not conventional but often more effective; see connections where they are not obvious; the ability to research a topic quickly, distilling the important information and making actionable outcomes; and the knowledge of how to use incentives to influence behavior.

Lastly I am a new college graduate. I won’t hide that fact because I think companies like yours need more people like me. This recession and subsequent job search has not only humbled me but invigorated my drive to be extraordinary. Throughout college I did well, and got good grades graduating cum laude. Now looking for employment in the real world I know that being mediocre is not an option. You must provide exceptional value to an employee or why else why they keep you around? I am a perfect fit for this Entry-Level position because I have the right mix of already-required knowledge and skills, and potential and drive to learn more. Because I am a new entry to the workforce I have tremendous hunger to learn and prove myself. I am not coming to you with all the answers that older candidates will, but this is what sets me apart. Since I do not have the answers I will not pretend to or be a “yes man.” I will talk problems through and make sure the best solution is put in place. I thank you for this opportunity and hope to speak with you soon.

Cameron Plommer


This Blog Got Me The Job

I feel quite proud of myself for “putting it all out there.” As you see I didn’t shy away from being an economics student, a new entry-level worker, or having no marketing experience.

When I asked my “boss” what was the main reason I was hired she thought for moment and said, “your blog.” She said it showed I could write, and thus communicate well. My blog shows that I am doing something that isn’t easy and pushing myself without anyone making me. My motivation is not about money for writing this blog. So they figured, why not hire somebody that likes doing marketing already? After-all being able to write a compelling blog is what I will be doing in my job for the company’s blog.

Overall I’m proud that my work on this blog has paid off already: it has helped me get a job, plus I’ve met so many cool people through it. I can’t imagine the possibilities as I continue to write. I’m also proud that the time I used while unemployed was spent wisely and contributed to becoming employed. My blog has prepared me to think like a marketer and using Twitter has prepared me to be a good salesperson and cold caller. My love of social media combined with this blog made a difference. That’s pretty cool.


Two people and one community really gave me the motivation to start this blog. And beginning is always the hardest step.

My first conversation with Laura Kimball (who I met via Twitter) motivated me to begin this blog (and I think I help her start hers as well). Thanks Laura! We will have to get cupcakes soon.

Shane Mac is the second person that kicked my ass in to gear and start creating my own story. Thanks buddy for getting me out of the consumption whore mentality. You are doing great things and make me want to keep killing it.

Lastly, thank you Brazen Careerist. When I got the crazy idea to write a blog about applying economics and first tested my idea by asking for thoughts in the “blogging ideas” network. Because of the great feedback from Kim Campbell, Penelope Trunk and many others I saw that I was not the only one that thought this blog was a good idea.

If you need a website (redesigned or old), or marketing services (SEO, Internet Marketing) hit me up on Twitter or Email me. We are a Seattle Web Design company, but we are not limited to the Seattle area. Check out our newly designed website to get a feel for our philosophy. We are willing to talk with you anytime and are offering half-hour consultations (not a sales pitch, just information).

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