With little to no connections to being a marketer at many startups, how I did it and what I’ve learned so far.
Before I start I want to put a disclaimer: I am not there yet. I am still building myself but something that I realized is that there are SO MANY of us that are struggling to find a path into this advanced tech world. Therefore I am writing what has worked for me, some people may disagree and I am by no means an expert.
You can’t just jump.
When I wanted to start getting into the tech world I realized that without experience or side projects, there is no reason for people to take a chance. Therefore, take your free time and turn them into presentable side projects. I can’t emphasize how important that is. Side projects are extremely helpful for those who have no work experience but want a job. Showing your skills, strategy, and overall creativity via side projects is extremely beneficial.
Ask for help.
I am extremely stubborn. I struggle to ask for help when it comes to personal development, I always tell myself to figure it out rather than ask others. Though, asking for help is what got me to where I am today.
Long story short:
I went alone to a networking event and while everyone swarmed the big company’s tables- I went to the empty table. Little did I know that table was a staffing firm’s table. I had an honest conversation with the recruiter at the table about how I was worried about showing up and I can’t apply to those big companies because I have no valuable experience. The recruiter and I had such an amazing conversation that she took my number and email and I became her client. After many interviews that the company set up based on my resume, I finally landed an office assistant job. After that job I got another higher paying, admin job. After a couple of those jobs I had enough experience at small to large companies that landed me a job as Head of Marketing for a startup. As for the recruiter, she and I are great friends til today and I will forever thank the day I asked her for help and told her my story.
Don’t be scared to start small.
Nobody made it immediately. I knew that myself, I started off as a swim coach. The skills I learned as a swim coach and ice cream server along with side projects gave me that skill set to enter the tech industry as an office manager. Through that job I met so many people. It also helped me develop my soft and hard skills that I never knew needed developing. This job was my first step into tech. It was a “small job” but while I was working as that, I was continuing to network, build myself, and continue understanding the career path I wanted to grow.
We all have heard about networking but just messaging random people on Linkedin isn’t it. I found my best networking happening via Instagram and ESPECIALLY Twitter. Twitter can be intimidating but it is a platform where many people are their “looser” or casual self. This allows you to see who and what they are like. After that it makes it easier to interact- whether it is a dog tweet, funny tweet, etc. This makes a stance for yourself, get yourself in front of their eyes and also have a casual, non-professional relationship. I have several friends who I have connected to jobs via Twitter. Not to mention I have made the most amazing friends via Twitter.
I screened applicants for a startup, here is what I learned from an employer’s POV:
- Write a cover letter OR summary. There are hundreds of applicants and we are taking no more than 7 min on your resume.
- Your summery should be 3–4 sentences MAX
- BOLD what you want us to notice and see
- More creative resumes catch the eye, BUT it shouldn’t be too cluttered or messy.
- You aren’t fooling anyone with the 1 page and size 6pt font. Use 2 pages if needed. Again bold or underline what you want us to see specifically.
- List your achievements! We want to know. Impress us, this paper is the first and maybe last way to do it.
- Just because you were rejected doesn’t mean you weren’t a good candidate! Many times there are key elements that a job is looking for and your resume didn’t show those aspects! Look at the job posting and see if your resume properly shows that you’re a direct fit.
- In your calls, do not say the opposite of what is on the job posting! Read the job description many times before the interview/call to make sure you show that you are the right person for the job. For example if the job description is looking for a B2C marketer and you say you are an amazing B2B marketer- that is a red flag.
- Research the company well and do not be scared to ask questions!
- Don’t let a job control your confidence and self worth.
Job Hunting Resources:
- Robert Half and other staffing agencies
- Angel.co for startups that are hiring. This is great for strengthening your hard and soft skills, therefore building yourself on the ladder towards your career goals.
- Twitter tweets about what job opportunities you are looking for. (follow me @sheetaverma I will always give a retweet and spread the word!)
- Carrd.co — MAKE A PERSONAL WEBSITE. This is so important. It is a shot form of a social resume to make your statement about who you are as a person and what you do! Carrd is great because it is only one page and takes away from the complication.
- Canva to create proper resumes, social posts, and overall a great tool to use.
- It is extremely important to stay up to date about what is going on in the tech industry, especially in the area that you are looking to build your career. It is extremely important to leverage that knowledge and understanding in interviews. I learn a lot from people on Twitter that are “thought leaders” of the space. Along with that I love reading the Wall Street Journal, The Verge, AdWeek, and The New York Times.
- I am forever someone who works towards empowering those who didn’t have the same resources. Message me on Twitter @sheetaverma and let me know how I can help, or connect you to someone that can!