doing spec work kenny soto

Getting a Job After College, Spec Work is The Best Method

What is Spec Work?

I’d like to preface this article with where this idea came from—Gary Vaynerchuk. I have been following Gary for exactly over a year now, and one of the very first doubts about him came when he talked about doing spec work (free services) for people for business development and expanding reach.

Spec work is any kind of creative work, either partial or completed, submitted by designers to prospective clients before designers secure both their work and equitable fees. Under these conditions, designers will often be asked to submit work in the guise of a contest or an entry exam on existing jobs as a “test” of their skill.”

I decided that instead of just taking what he said and accepting it, that I would test it for myself (which in retrospect, is what he wanted his viewers to do when he talked about the subject). The story below is how it all happened and how it can help you if you’re still in college or just graduated, and you’re looking to grow in your industry.

Finding a need, getting the client.

Now, this article focuses on the context of my particular skills—skills in digital marketing (SEO, web development, and Social Media Marketing) that I used to get spec work. Although this may not apply to all industries, if your skills map to working on being creative and providing services for a client that don’t require a license of specific certifications, this can work for you. My first step in this process was to find a customer that needed my help. I knew from the start that I’d be doing this work for an exchange outside of financial compensation, perhaps a referral to a job after college or something else.

While I was at my college’s local bar, Grill On The Hill, I felt the need to have more of my college friends become more aware of what the bar offered. It was an excellent place that was just starting out, and whenever I went, there were a lot of locals but, not enough college students. One evening, while hanging out with my fraternity brothers, I saw one of the bar’s owners outside. I walked to him, introduced myself and what I do, and told him that I would market his bar online—for free.
Obviously, there was a catch. I was still figuring out what that would be myself—when I was pitching to the owner. Several days later I was hired as the bars digital marketing consultant with a small monthly budget to do Facebook marketing and to create their website with the help of one of the bartenders there. It was my second time creating a website and creating any paid media on Facebook.

What did I get in return from the experience?

Besides gaining valuable experience in doing Facebook ads (the bar was my second client at my time), I was able to learn more about my craft in a holistic way. I began to understand that marketing doesn’t work without tying your campaign goals to actual business goals that drive revenue—it’s not enough to promote a bar’s event to everyone then, making sure you promote it to the ideal customers (people who spend money and drive revenue). In return, besides getting experience, the bar gave me a free beer (and occasionally a free meal) once to twice a week for eight months. This showed me that even if you aren’t making an income for the work you do for someone, there can always be an exchange of equal value for said work. That’s the main message I want to drive home, especially for college students, doing work someone doesn’t necessarily need to equate to you making money.

The hidden value in working for free

We are taught that work has to produce income, and it doesn’t. Work can help you build your network. Work can help you expose yourself to new ideas and possibilities. Instead of focusing on monetary gain, focus your job for skills-based learning. It’s because of my experience working at Grill on the Hill that, it gave me the opportunity to see what marketing services I could pitch to my college and try my hand at making them my first paid client (you can find out more about that story here).

I’d love to know your thoughts on this article. Do you think work should only be done for monetary gain/income? Have you done similar work in exchange for services, experience, etc.? Let’s chat in the comments section down below!

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Recommended articles:

  1. 6 Reasons An Unpaid Internship Is Absolutely Worth Your Time
  2. How I Got Employed After Two Weeks Of Graduating College.
  3. How can college students leverage social media to get interviews at startups?
No degrees of seperation Kenny Soto

There Are No Longer Six Degrees of Separation

What introduced me to this concept.

The idea of the Six Degrees of Separation was first introduced to me in a book by Malcolm Gladwell called, The Tipping Point. In it, Malcolm talks about three types of early adopters one must build relationships with to bring a product or service to the mass markets (the mainstream). Of the three types, one of them has the particular ability to leverage their networks to spread general news via word of mouth called connectors. I was then reintroduced to the idea of connectors in Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow when he mentions super-connectors in the film industry and how they leverage their networks not only for themselves but, for other people as well. Being altruistic with your network helps build it faster. The more you help others below you grow to be even better than you, the more attention you gain during longer periods of time (this is how I interpreted Shane’s chapter on the subject).

The six degrees of separation as I see it.

The six degrees of separation is a concept closely related to connectors and super connectors, the idea that you can know and potentially be introduced to anyone in the world by the maximum separation of 6 people within your network (everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world). For example, someone I know on my Dad’s side of my family possibly has 3-4 friends that they know from their friends, who just so happens to know President Barack Obama. At max, it would only take six introductions for me to have an encounter (however small) with President Obama. But, after careful thought and thinking about how this idea can be challenged, a couple of months ago (around early 2016), I had a conversation with my mentor in which I mentioned that I don’t believe these degrees of separation exist anymore, and here’s why.

The Internet is an environment with 0 degrees of separation.

I’m currently reading The The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge by Doc Searls, which is about how customer relationship management systems (search Hubspot or Salesforce for examples) don’t truly help businesses have relationships with customers/users. For this to occur, customers need their own Vendor Relationship Management systems. In a chapter titled, “Net Pains,” Doc Searls quotes Craig Burton, a Senior Analyst with Kuppinger Cole, who describes the Internet as:

“…[A] world we might see as a bubble. A sphere…The distance between any two points [within said sphere] is functionally zero, and not just because they can see each other, but because nothing interferes with [the] operation between any two points (page 102, Searls).”

Sphere diagram

Because of the Internet, if I want to contact Obama, I can now just go on Twitter and tweet at him directly. Now, the chances of me getting an actual response from him are dismal, but, if I wanted to contact any other person in the world—I still have the ability to do so if they have access to the Internet.

Why I think this change is important and must be discussed further.

The majority of us now rely to some degree, on the Internet and its protocols for our work. The ubiquity that the Internet provides for us to communicate conveniently with anyone, about anything, regardless of geography is astounding. It’s what allows us to do business across the globe and spread ideas and content like wildfire. But, I still believe that we have continued to hold onto old self-imposed limitations (that’s what they are at this point) regarding who we think we can and cannot contact. We can speak to anyone we want today; that’s the main point here.

Keeping this in mind, I believe we should begin thinking about all the new opportunities we are not currently exploring—regarding meeting new people and exposing ourselves to new ideas. Let this article serve as a short rant that should compel you to create a list of five people you’d love to talk to about anything—and then, contact them! You’ll be amazed at what might happen.

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How Landed My First Paid Account as a Consultant at 22 Kenny Soto

My 1st Client as a Digital Marketing Consultant at 22

Believe it or not, I was able to convince my college to hire me. I’m not talking about work study, being a bookstore stockboy, or being a research assistant for a professor. I’m talking about closing a deal for thousands of dollars. In this post, I’ll provide some back story as to how I was able to have the opportunity to even come up with the pitch, the pitch itself, and the lessons learned from the work. As a small disclaimer, as a student I respect my university tremendously—as a consultant, I learned from them what it means when people say large organizations are “slow.”

It all starts with finding a need.

How did I come up with the idea of even pursuing this pitch? It all started with accessing the problem my college had—we had severe budget cuts during the fiscal year. The only reason I was privy to this information was due to my role as student body president. During the first few meetings with school administration during my last academic year in college, I learned that our college, along with other CUNYs, hadn’t met their goal that the Board of Trustees set for getting more students.

The lack of increase in tuition was one of four factors that contributed to the millions in budget cuts that we’re going to occur. After sitting down and actually contemplating on why this particular problem was occurring, it dawned on me that I should check out the college’s social media & paid search marketing efforts. Low and behold, they weren’t launching any paid ads or producing content of any value to potential students or the parents of those students. This was my in, the opportunity I was looking for.

Devising the pitch.

Coming up with something of real worth to present to school administration wasn’t easy. It took me two weeks just to have the stones even to share this idea with my Fraternity brothers for feedback. After carefully thinking about what I learned from both my internship and doing pro bono digital marketing for a bar near campus (I still got something out of it, free food and free beer which wasn’t a bad deal if I do say so myself) I came up with a 43-slide deck for my presentation.

The reason why this deck was so long, and by all means I don’t recommend doing something this long for any presentation, was because I knew I wouldn’t have been taken seriously (at the end of the day, I’m too young to be taken seriously for anything right now). If I didn’t make sure I showed both school admin and the marketing department that not only I knew what I was talking about—but, that I also put it into the context of their specific needs, none of this would have worked. Also, I had already assembled a small team of two other student government members that would help me in my efforts; this increased their confidence in my ability to not only create a sound project but, also execute on it.

Negotiating the price.

The two most important lessons I gained from the overall experience was:

  1. Always write the service contract yourself.
  2. Bid high for a high price.

If it weren’t for a close friend of mine, I would have left a considerable amount of money on the table. I believe the main reason why the college administration agreed to pay my team and me as much as they did, was because the labor was relatively cheap in terms of industry standards and we wrote the whole contract ourselves. It also helps that they didn’t go through the hassle of signing it but, that’s beside the point. If a client is willing to pay you without signing a contract for whatever reason you still want them to do so, it puts both of you in a position where each party is fully committed to each other’s success. I believe this was the first sign that there was only going to be so much we could have done for them.

The challenge I’m glad I faced early on.

The biggest challenge with working for any big client as a digital markeitng consultant is this—the internal communications process is slow as hell, meaning that you’re going to have to plan at least two weeks ahead to get anything approved for launch. I lacked experience in this one aspect of doing digital marketing consulting; I didn’t anticipate that the one deterrent to my success would be not preparing for slow communication in between tasks. Although, I wasn’t successful in fully executing on the marketing plan I was at the very least, able to show the importance of why their efforts should be focused primarily on social and search advertising and not on subway or television ads.

Other lessons I learned were:

Your client, regardless of their size, will want all reports on a consistent basis. It’s important to let them know early on that marketing is a marathon and not a sprint. Metrics don’t improve overnight. You want to at least report on new ideas you’re working on so they can add their insight into the mix.
Have a dedicated team member to set up phone calls for Q & A whenever needed. If you’re this person, you have the hardest job. Client retention is key to recurring income. My biggest regret is not giving enough attention to thinking about building a long term relationship with my college so I could have had them as a client after I graduated.* Your team’s size should reflect the size of the account.

This is something I’ve debated with my colleagues for quite some time now. I still believe that we could have done a better job if we had at least three to four more students on our team. A team of three college students wasn’t enough to solve the problems a big institution like my college had.

Moving forward.

In the end, although I wasn’t successful in the execution of my first account, I at least learned how to get one. That experience has proved invaluable as I continue getting new clients and building my team at digiquation.com, the startup I work at now. Whether it’s in digital marketing or any other consulting practice, it never hurts to start early. Regardless of your age, there is something that you know; that is intrinsic in the experiences you’ve had that can be of value to a client. You just have to figure out how to successfully communicate that—and then have the team and knowledge to execute the plan you’re being paid to do.

*The experience gained from this one part of my collegiate career was the most valuable by far, and I am forever indebted to the City College of New York for giving me a chance to help them. If you check their Facebook page now, you can see the ads they are launching to get more attention. A special thanks to Tammie and Safiyyah, without your help, none of this would have been accomplished.


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Recommended articles:

    1. How I Got Employed After Two Weeks Of Graduating College.
    2. Emoji As a Professional Language
    3. A Digital Marketer’s Most Important Asset: Their Curiosity
The internet so far kenny soto

My Thoughts on The Internet So Far

A quick comparison between the Internet and the WWW.

There is a difference between the internet and the world wide web. The internet connects hardware with other hardware, and the WWW is a system that allows us to share content and information to be distributed in that connection.  I did not know the difference, nor did I care, before realizing how important understanding the difference was. I always used to interact with the world wide web without much thought about what I was doing or how it affected me.

The first social media I was on: Sconex.

Sconex

First, there was Sconex*, a way for my cousins and me to check out older high school girls and try to speak to them. We didn’t have a specific goal in mind; we just loved the idea that we could talk to these hot girls and not have to be honest about our ages (yes, I am guilty of being a catfish in my early days). We were just ten-year-old boys experiencing puberty and the internet all in one jumbled mess. Then MySpace came along and even more of my time was consumed by connecting with friends from school at home and talking to random strangers (and I’m sure at least three of them were thirty-year-old dudes in basement). It never occurred to me that my generation was the first to experience human interactions on a screen, daily. The first generation to have our attention become a commodity (no one was walking with televisions in their pockets).

From the age of three years old, I had a huge beige Dell desktop computer, not realizing how lucky I was to grow up with the technology that to this day, people who are in their seventies are still trying to adapt to.


*If you want to see old websites that are no longer online, check out Archive.org. It’s the Wayback Machine…


Becoming aware.

I first started to observe my ignorance about what a computer could do when I entered college. I studied computer literacy in high school but, it was mostly just learning how to type with two hands and how to use Microsoft Office programs. What I was really ignorant about was the culture of entrepreneurs and technologists who were (and still are) making millions and billions of dollars off of our use of the internet and the web. I always wanted to discover what their secret sauce was and how could someone like me could have a similar impact on society.

It wasn’t the money that intrigued me; it was the mere fact that someone from Boston could make an app that connects over one billion users in today’s age and no one even bats an eye. There are only two things besides that app that have over one billion users, water, and air (I’m talking about Facebook just in case you didn’t get the reference). I decided to take it upon myself to find a class or a mentor that could teach me—the basics of the digital world and how it affects our society. Cue the internship I took last year in digital marketing.

“We pay with our information and most importantly, our attention.”

I learned some of the most alarming and exciting things last year. Things such as our information is being collected—think Pokemon Go and how Google Maps now knows the inside of almost every building now or how Snapchat and Facebook now have the largest collections of facial data from all of us. We are being sold to on a consistent basis, and we are no longer just consumers of content, we are, “…hamsters on a wheel,” as Seth Godin would put it. We willingly input data and information into websites and apps and have the faintest clue as to how they are using our information. There is a reason we use most of these apps for free. We pay with our information and most importantly, our attention. Same goes for Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or any email newsletter you’ve had to subscribe to and input information into a form. There’s also pixels and cookies that allow these companies to track you online… However, even if we are becoming more aware of this fact, that people sell our privacy and attention now, no one is bothered it. No one bats an eye.

How do “they” make their money from our mass consumption?

We have become the products. Mark Zuckerberg isn’t a billionaire just because you use his platform to check out cat videos. He makes his cash by selling your information to advertisers like Taco Bell, who want to sell things to you. The same goes for Jack Dorsey who owns Twitter or Evan Spiegel if Snapchat, who has every fourteen to twenty-eight-year-old in the palm of his hand. With the information I’ve obtained over the past year, it has occurred to me that we interact with these tools but, don’t know how they work, why they exist, and how they affect our daily lives.

I couldn’t imagine a day in my life where I could not search for something whenever I wanted to. It’s a scary thought but, I rely on Google and so many other platforms for my daily activities. What would happen to me if I didn’t have access to them anymore? Questions such as these have led me to believe that these tech giants control our lives. Not in a dystopian or morbid way, more like, “This is super cool, and I aspire to be like them.” Even though I make sure my phone is on airplane mode whenever I am asleep—I’m pretty sure data is collected if it isn’t.

What can we expect moving forward?

The impact these platforms have on us is tremendous. However, they have also have given many of us opportunities we (my generation) couldn’t even dream of in the early nineties. We now have micro-celebrities on Vine and Instagram, who make around ten grand a month by just posting ten to fifteen-second skits and having sponsors paying for ad space. We have Youtube stars such as PewDiePie, NigaHiga, and Smosh, who make millions each year by creating quality content for their fan bases. Just by connecting with their own communities they are able to obtain a ton of cash from advertising revenue alone (imagine the contracts they get for corporate sponsorships). Then there are the video game enthusiasts on Twitch that make roughly five to nine thousand dollars a month by having other people just watch them play. The entrepreneurs who have created these online platforms have not only made money for themselves but, have helped others to do the same and also to have an impact on the world. That is what makes me passionate about the web and makes me want to learn more about how we interact and use it. I can only imagine what will happen once we start to interact with virtual and augmented reality. I wonder how that will affect our lives on a daily basis.

The entrepreneurs who have created these online platforms have not only made money for themselves but, have helped others do the same and have their own impact on the world. That is what makes me passionate about the web and what makes me want to learn more about how we interact and use it. I can only imagine what will happen once we start to interact with virtual and augmented reality (Pokemon Go is just a preview). I really wonder how that will affect our lives on a daily basis.


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Recommended articles:

  1. The World Wide Web Is An Extension Of Our Minds.
  2. Why Computers Are Desperate for a Redesign
  3. WHY MILLIONS OF TWEENS ARE USING MUSICAL.LY… AND WHY IT MATTERS

Also, if you want to see the first website ever made check out this link. It really shows how much progress we’ve made over the past two decades.

Kenny Soto Futures For Students

Kenny Soto Launches Futures For Students

I’m Creating A Non-Profit!

FFS is a 501(c)(3) organization created in direct response to the growing number of lower-income underserved students that are graduating from New York City colleges with little or no Digital Marketing education, knowledge or abilities - critical skills in the modern workplace. These are the skills that lead to employment in the Digital Economy of the 21st Century.

FFS is a Digital Marketing Academy that is focused on storytelling across multiple digital platforms. We teach our students to use insights gained from analytics to drive optimized results across Digital Media.

Our rigorous program trains students to be marketing technologists capable of marketing themselves and organizations in the digital economy. Our program imbues them with the knowledge and confidence that they can compete with anyone graduating from elite private university marketing programs.

At FFS, students learn from doing. As they progress they become more deeply involved in an experiential work environment involving teamwork in support of other not-for-profit and other local underfunded small business clients and across FFS’s Written, Podcast, Video, Social Media and Live Streaming platforms. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that research analysts and marketing specialist jobs are expected to increase by 32 percent between 2012 and 2022—this is almost triple the national average of 11 percent predicted for all other occupations.

The reason we are creating this academy is to solve this one problem: college students not being able to get jobs after graduation. We want to, at least, make the job application process more manageable and allow our students to have the opportunity to showcase who they are.

Here’s where you can lend to our company and find out more information on how you can help: https://zip.kiva.org/loans/17666/i/t4rm

Why Every Marketing Major Should Toss Their Textbooks In The Trash Kenny Soto

Why Every Marketing Major Should Toss Their Textbooks In The Trash

I have a serious issue with textbooks. As college students, we have to pay for books made 2-3 years ago that decrease in value over time, yet it is still standard practice to teach us with textbooks. My frustration comes from textbooks being used in a particular field of study: marketing. Marketing majors should only get textbooks that cover the history of marketing up to the 1,990’s. After that, there is no point in making books.

They are slowly becoming obsolete

Take, for example, as a college student purchasing a textbook on Facebook marketing. As of right now, you will get information on EdgeRank (Facebook’s algorithm/add hyperlink for more research), best practices for Facebook’s Boost Posts and Ad targeting features, and useful tips on community management on the platform. However, that very same textbook can lose value over a period of just two months. The reason is that like all other social media platforms (let’s not even go into websites in general), Facebook has updates on a weekly basis. Some of these updates are announced beforehand. However, the real challenge the marketing professor who wrote the book faces is predicting the updates that Facebook will implement in response to its competition (i.e., it’s quick update of “Live Video” in response to Periscope). And this goes for Snapchat, Peach, Musical.ly, Twitter, Instagram, and every other platform that is currently used.

What are the next steps?

We need to begin thinking of new tactics in which the education of digital marketing can be deployed to college students that meet the needs of the constantly evolving market. As with business owners, educators need to understand that the market doesn’t give a damn about all the research you conducted while creating your textbooks. If the market shifts from Snapchat to an entirely new app, your textbook on Snapchat still has some value, but not as much as it used to. Our textbooks need to “evolve” at the same pace as the needs of the market, or we will continue to see a continuing trend of marketing students not being prepared to work in their field after graduation.

emoji marketing

Emoji Marketing: Why you should take it seriously

Changes in marketing & customer service are bound to happen in 2016 due to many things. The use of Emoji marketing is one of them.

If you are selling any product today there are two things you can certainly on agree:

  1. The majority of customers are reaching your organization through mobile usage of the world wide web.
  2. A majority of them contact their friends and family using Emojis.

What does this mean for current business owners and digital marketing professionals? It means that all of us are going to have adapt to the customer’s need of being able to interpret what the emojis mean in the context of a client request—this is the core of emoji marketing today. Now there aren’t many scenarios in which an Emoji is an acceptable use of communication, such as when a customer is filling out an online form for a newsletter or an online support ticket. However, Emoji’s are commonly used when clients are interacting with brands on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, as well as  Snapchat.

 

This, along with the other factors demand that brands be more personal (leveraging employee personal brands) in the marketplace, present a new challenge to anyone who is selling products and services online. Companies who do not hire employees who are familiar with and have in-depth knowledge of how to express themselves with emojis will eventually fall behind to their competitors. There are several reasons as to why there has to be an Emoji guideline integrated into your organization’s community guidelines and marketing strategy.

Who uses Emojis? 

An infographic found on AdWeek states that, “Emojis are used by 92% of the online population.” Emoji is the online equivalent to body language. We live in a culture where we are always pressed for time and if a significant set of eyes can convey my curiosity towards a Facebook post or an emoji of a train can represent I am in transit, I expect the person texting/messaging me to understand what I am saying. Now not everyone uses emojis on their own; there are cases in which emojis are used merely to augment a message (i.e., make it more comical or to convey current facial expressions). What is essentially happening right now is the evolution of online slang.

 

Emojis help to save the user time. Remember when we made a big deal of acronyms such as lol, smh, & lmao that are used tremendously in social media? What’s most important is realizing that this a language that is here to stay  and it has to be considered in every aspect of your online effort as a business owner. Your customers are communicating with them, and you need to as well (wait too long and your competitors will get the higher ground).

Why Emojis matter for customer service?

“Emoji use has grown rapidly since Apple added the emoji keyboard to iOS in 2011…Nearly half of the text on Instagram contains Emoji.” - Emoji Research Team

The overwhelming ubiquitous nature of this language is frightening. The sheer magnitude of how fast Emojis have integrated into our daily lives shows all the more reason as to why companies need to train their employees (especially customer service representatives) in the correct usage of emoji’s online and why business and marketing majors have to learn this in college. If you are in charge of your company’s social media marketing effort here’s something you should know: the growth of Emoji usage is now over 40%!

Emoji Usage Over Time on Instagram

If you are selling any online services or products online, you know that Instagram is a vital tool you can use for brand awareness, hence why it’s so important that your organization starts taking Emojis seriously, now. You aren’t providing your customers with the great services they need if you can’t respond to them in a creative way utilizing Emojis. A great example of how you can start can be found here.

How does this affect college students?

I always try to tie into all of my posts a common theme of sharing my knowledge and making it useful specifically for college students. The reason we are in such an advantageous position is because many of the business professionals, especially in marketing, are going to stick to old forms of copy and customer engagement. Many of them will not make the transition to using Emojis more, and the will be a hindrance to their organization’s success. That’s where we will stand out. Under rigorous investigation, I’ve found at least one university has at least discussed on teaching a course on Emoji, more will follow suit if they are forward-thinking and can keep up with consumer culture.
The times are changing my friends, are you keeping up? Bear in mind, GIFs are an entirely different beast. If you found this article useful comment below and let me know your thoughts. All feedback is welcome; it helps me develop more valuable content for you in the future.

Sources & Recommended Articles:

  1. Report: 92% of Online Consumers Use Emoji (Infographic)
  2. Will emoji become a new language?
  3. GARYVEE’S FIRST 5 #SNAPCHATSECRETS
  4. 2015 Emoji Report (PDF)
  5. Emoji lessons to replace language courses at University of Ulster
Kenny Soto End of 2015

2015 End of The Year Review: The Experiences and Lessons Learned

This blog post is an entry reviewing some of the many experiences I had over the past year and what knowledge I gained from them.


 

First Internship Experience: SCORE

SCORE NYC is a branch of the Small Business Administration (a government entity) that helps small business owners grow their businesses through one-on-one free consultations, workshops, and online webinars.

SCORE NYC was a very special place for me this year for all of the people I was able to meet. I was able to have the opportunity to surround myself with retired business executives who came from industries ranging from corporate law and hedge fund management to digital marketing and construction. I was also able to interact with aspiring entrepreneurs who came to SCORE with questions regarding their businesses and was able to see firsthand the challenges small business owners have to endure just to serve the market. In addition to all of the opportunities to grow and learn that I gained from the people I met, I also learned a lot about two subjects I never really put that much thought into before.

What the heck is the Internet?

The first thing that I learned from my experience at SCORE is that I knew only a small amount of information when it came to what exactly the internet is. Thanks to my mentor, Maurice Bretzfield, I was able to begin to understand the importance of not only knowing the difference between the internet, www, https, FTP, mobile, and wifi but, also identifying the importance of why I should know the differences. The first month studying under him showed me how little formal education had taught me on tools that I use every single day, and it helped me understand why learning about coding, digital design, and digital marketing is vital to how I interact through the internet.

Digital Marketing and what did it have to do with me?

My primary reason for applying for the internship was because under its description it stated that all interns would learn about digital marketing. As a music major, I have learned a lot about song composition, musical theory, and performance methodology, but I did not know how I would survive in the search for a job after receiving my Bachelor’s degree. Digital marketing showed me that it’s an essential skill to at least be aware of in today’s information economy. I learned over the eight months I was at SCORE how many people were having issues just getting their businesses to be known by potential customers. Eventually, I saw that the same concerns that these entrepreneurs were facing correlated with the issues myself and some of my friends at my college where dealing with: how do we stand out from the pack? Through my eight months of diligent work, I am now able to say with confidence that I have a good grasp of Digital Marketing overall and a niche part of it - personal branding.

Buying My Name Online

In regards to personal branding, I believe another pivotal point of this past year is when I purchased my URL and built this website. The benefits of using this website are tremendous. I am now able to google myself and what I want people to see is the only thing that is shown. Controlling my online presence was one of the first things that my mentor Maurice, advised me to do. In addition to this, blogging has helped me question my ideas and develop them even more. Without this platform, I would not have been able to gather my thoughts and had others comment and provide feedback on them. I strive to not only use my website to showcase what makes me unique and why I could be of value to teams but also to help a growing community learn with me. The World Wide Web is constantly growing with pools of both high quality and mediocre content, I want to become someone who contributes to the former. Let’s not forget to mention that blogging has also helped me with my writing and grammar. Finally, it’s helping me create connections with others that otherwise wouldn’t happen. I have had the opportunity to not only interview individuals online about their experience working companies such as Google but, also get good advice on what I should do to get a job after college (which in turn provides you, the reader, with valuable content).

Starting my school year as USG President

Many challenges were thrust upon me this semester. As my college experience rapidly comes to an end, I have the privilege to lead an exceptional team as the president of the undergraduate student government at the City College of New York, and it has certainly been a role that has helped me grow as a person. From improving my time management skills, delegating tasks, making sure the entire team is aligned, managing team stress, etc. I have been exposed to a lot of real life situations that I will have to deal with after college. I consider my experience in this role as an accelerated MBA, learning how to manage a team of people and not only serve them but, serve a whole community of people (the student body) as well. I’ll certainly use the skills I am learning as president in the future, and I will be forever grateful to undergo such an incredible growth period in my life.

Reading “Think On These Things” By Jidda Krishnamurti

Think On These Things Krishnamurti

This book changed my views on our current educational system and helped me understand why it’s important to question all information was given to me, and how to integrate that process into my daily life. It was the first time I ever experience a writer pierce through the veil of what should matter most in life, which is not necessarily the answer to questions we have but, instead finding the reasons to the questions themselves first. This book is a useful resource for anyone interested in getting a fresh perspective on what it means to be essentially a creative individual.

 

As the new year begins I will continue to provide as much valuable content to you, the reader, whenever I can. It helps me tremendously if you provide your feedback and thoughts in the comments section below. Let’s have an amazing 2016 everyone.

 

Cheers,

Kenny S.

Kenny Soto Derek Magill Interview

Interview with Derek Magill: Standing Out by Advertising Your Resume Online

Standing Out From The Crowd…

I chatted with Derek Magill via Quora, over a question I asked on How can college students leverage social media to get interviews at startups?. When Derek gave his answer I was astounded by the strategy he provided me: using Facebook Ads Manager to target key employers to showcase his resume.

 

Derek is the Director of Marketing at Praxis, a one-year long personal accelerator that  helps young people with getting jobs and get an apprenticeship in entrepreneurship to build a portfolio of marketable skills. We did a phone interview on December 6th on how college students can stand out today before graduation by leveraging the internet.

 

 

 

“Derek Magill  dropped out of college a year and a half ago. He had to be creative to promoting himself to get a job.”

KS: What do you believe is the biggest challenge all job seekers face today?

DM: Right now, in particular, it would be differentiation in a marketplace that is over “credentialized.” 70% of people who graduated high school are attending college this year. The degree’s quality is getting watered down. How do you show you are a valuable team member? How do you stand out from the average bachelor’s degree holder?

KS: Is there another way to differentiate yourself online?

DM: It depends on the industry. Here are the general best practices I have:

  • First, realize a degree now no longer a guarantees a job.
  • Ask yourself: What is your value proposition (this is based on some research you’ve done, similar to a class project)?
  • What is the company doing now and what do you see yourself doing with them in the future?

The most important thing to consider is this: you are not in a passive role anymore, you are being specific and showing what you can do.

KS: Would you say that taking the extra step to stand out matters?

DM: Yes. And if you have something concrete just show it, “here are XYZ things I think you can do for your marketing.” I can do these things for you, for free to prove that I can do it.

KS: Freelance work gets your foot in the door.

DM: Of course, offer your skills up for free especially when you are young. We have the ability to work for cheap; we have fewer responsibilities at our age. What can you do right now to get your foot in the door? All of this has to be done with a given timeline, so you don’t waste your time but, this shows your value prop and how you execute.

KS: What was the genesis of creating a Facebook Ad for your online portfolio/resume?

DM: I had experience with them and my experience with marketing definitely helped. Most importantly, I had to think outside of the box to showcase my abilities.

KS: What  are the disadvantages of advertising your resume via FaceBook & social ads, if any?

DM: There is always a downside to any gamble you take. You want to take into account the company, what they are looking for, the culture, what exactly are you showing? The FaceBook ads might not fit the culture. You won’t show up to an interview with a finance firm with a hoodie and a t-shirt. Similar strategies to the ads will work with the right type of organization. The ideal target would be a marketing position if you are doing social ads for your resume. This is the biggest target for that right now.

For instance, investment banking might not be the best place to target however, it’s still open to experimentation. Not a whole lot of people are doing this so there is still room for trying. You won’t know that companies won’t like that approach until you try it. There are so many people with degrees that you need to do something different, be creative, and show your value before you even enter the door.

KS: How should you present yourself online in today’s marketplace (any best practices you have outside of social ads)?

DM: Personal website or any online platform, answers on Quora, posts on LinkedIn/medium.

Personal and professional dev makes you a better writer, thinking, creator.

It helps you slowly to establish yourself in the industry because it shows people what you know and they can latch onto. It is tremendously valuable when looking for a job or a client. The best thing you can do is create a blog and share your thoughts with the world and interact with other people in the industry and showcase  your work to people in the industry.
It’s all about building a reputation. You are building your (online) resume. Compare these two candidates: A 19-year-old candidate who applies to a marketing firm and has a resume, and one has a website with 15-20 articles. The person who shows their intelligent thoughts will be miles ahead from a person who doesn’t.

KS: Ok, so this is definitely a lot of information. How can college students get started?

DM: Quickest, easiest, and best options you have to start are:

  • Pick up a couple of topics you love and care about. Side note: that’s how Derek and I connected because we want to teach people
  • Build an online presence and create a paper trail now!
  • WordPress and Blog firms
  • Amazon Reviews and reviewing books! This shows you read important books on your industry.
  • Amazon reviews get indexed on google and can help you Personal Brand.
  • A concrete example would be, if you are a developer you should be posting code on GitHub.
  • Any intellectual should be answering questions forums and Quora now.

In the end, just don’t sit around and expect your resume to do the work for you. Adapt as needed and you’ll get better through the process.

What we have now is a consuming mindset, and then we do it for four years and when we have to build stuff after college we don’t know what to do. It’s better to build stuff now, and you’ll learn faster. College students who assume they can start after graduation and they already lost.

Final Thoughts

Let me know what value you found in this interview. Please leave a comment below and join the conversation. Stay updated by subscribing to my newsletter!

Recommended Articles:

  1. How to Get a Job at Google? Answers From an Ex-Googler.
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  3. You Don’t Need to Get A Second Degree — Here’s What to Do Instead
  4. If You Want to Get the Job, You Don’t Need a Resume — You Need a Value Proposition
Kenny Soto Getting a Job at Google

How to Get a Job at Google: Answers From an Ex-Googler.

Brian Rabben of Growth Wizards

LinkedIn, @brianrabben

I recently had the great pleasure of connecting with Brian Rabben via Twitter who used to work at Google. He worked on the AdWords platform in 2005 and is now the CEO of GrowthWizards. We had a brief conversation on Twitter about a possible interview on his experience working at Google and what relevant advice he could give current college students who are interested in applying to Google or to any company, period. Here is the following transcript from that interview:

What was your involvement in 2005 when working on Google Adwords?

I managed the customer phone support team for Google AdWords North America, then transitioned to the AdWords Optimization Team (where I built and managed large AdWords accounts for clients to whom Google had dedicated an internal team of account reps).

How were you able to get that job opportunity?

I was referred by an existing Google employee. This is, by far, the best way to get hired at Google.

What three core principles did you gain from that specific work experience that pertains to teamwork?

“The phone support gig at Google was essentially a combination of teaching and therapy. Our angriest customers would get transferred to me after screaming at (or otherwise abusing) my team (your classic “let me speak with your manager” situation, but significantly worsened due to the complexity of the product and [resulting] frustration…). With respect to teamwork, this specific work experience helped me gain a very, hands-on, practical understanding of the following core principles:

The value of “empathy-first”:

“No matter what, we’d get a few furious customer [phone calls] every week [and] instead of being defensive from the outset, [we used] the following strategy: take 1-3 minutes to let them talk > restate their grievances > empathize with their situation > respond with a resolution [which] almost never failed.”

The value of sympathy for your team members:

“Phone CSR gigs are extremely emotionally draining…it’s even worse if you’re a sensitive person; one angry customer call can ruin your day. Sympathy, when expressed in the form of statements like “it’s not your fault, that guy is just a jerk. I know how you feel…he called in to scream at three other team members for no good reason last week”, etc. can be all it takes to re-energize a team member after an awful experience.”

The value of preparation:

“As I mentioned, a complex product like AdWords is very difficult to support because of how easy it is to misunderstand its intricacies (especially when there’s a financial punishment for misunderstanding certain intricacies). As part of their training, we made sure our junior CSRs studied every conceivable scenario (including stranger situations like how to engage with psychics and porn advertisers) so they’d be prepared to handle not only these specific scenarios, but more importantly, to learn the different psychological strategies appropriate to dealing with different customer personas (e.g. the right way to engage with a potential fraudster vs. the right way to engage with an advertiser who’s furious because she can’t figure out how to spend her huge monthly budget).”

How has your experience working at Google affected your career path? Were there any negatives from working at the company?

“Working for Google was, by far, the best career move I’ve ever made. The “I’m an ex-Googler” badge of honor has opened countless doors for me…it’s been ten years since I quit, and I’ve never needed to submit a resume.”

If a college student were to apply to Google today, what advice would you give them to help their chances in landing the job?

“Find someone who works there and figure out how to get them to refer you…I’m pretty sure Google employees still receive a cash reward if you get hired, so they’re already incentivized to help you get in, but the referral process takes awhile for them to complete, so you need to make a very strong argument that you’re the right person for the job. Perhaps even more importantly (especially for the engineers out there), if you can connect with current Googlers, you’ll learn some very important tips about how to survive the Google interview process.”

What are you looking for when recruiting new team members to Growth Wizards?

“Work ethic. My top hires are all musicians who had no digital marketing experience prior to working with me.

Intelligence and creativity are obvious musts, but, because growth marketing changes so quickly (and there are so many diverse skills to acquire before you’re proficient), more than anything, young growth hackers need to be willing to pay their dues in hours spent learning.”

I hope this was helpful and if you want to see more interviews like these just leave a comment below on the next company I should research.

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