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.

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  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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A Digital Marketer's Most Important Asset

A Digital Marketer’s Most Important Asset: Their Curiosity

Keep up

The Internet is always changing because customer behavior is evolving. How we buy, learn about new information, and share valuable content changes every single day. The biggest issue we as marketers and business leaders face is the challenge of being able to connect with our customers on a deep level. It is not enough to just to be able to find them anymore. With the advent of the Internet, we need to connect to anyone who utilizes the tool. Whether you are marketing a service, a brand, or a product, your job as a marketer is to be able to not only sell to your customer but to bring value to them. Being able to have them see how your product or service can have a profound impact on their lives (or the lives of their friends) is vital to your bottom line.

Why many of us will fail

The former CEO of Cisco states, “Either we disrupt or we get disrupted…” If we don’t understand that we need to connect on a meaningful basis with each customer we interact with, then we will fail. Assuming that what you provide to your target market is a product/service of high quality (and that you are listening to your market to make sure they want this) your main job as a digital marketer is to communicate to them how you can help serve them. Yet, what hinders your ability to do this is the assumption that what you already know about marketing is all you need to know. There are new tools, resources, and competitors changing this marketing ecosystem every single day. It is now more important than ever to inquire about digital marketing (and the Internet as a whole). Rather than stay in the paradigm you’ve learned through rigorous study and practice. Everything we learn regarding the internet changes every 6 months to a year and the rate of change is increasing.

Building and Studying your growing library of knowledge

The best practice that I have learned from my mentor is the habit of collecting, reviewing, and then writing about the information you get from resources you attain throughout your time on the Internet (and sharing this information in networking events and forums). This database of useful information allows you to share valuable information with your network and teach them as well. The best ways for you to make sure you keep your marketing chops up-to-date is to question what you know. This is the only way you’ll be able to successfully help your clients and your company when people need your marketing skills or need to find out about your company.

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Why Should All College Clubs Have a Facebook Ads Budget?

Why Should All College Clubs Have a Facebook Ads Budget? (8 min. read)

It’s time to rev up your club’s brand awareness.

If you are involved in as a leader of a club while attending a university there has to be two things that your team has to have to be successful: a vice president of marketing and a portion of your budget allocated to online marketing. There are thousands of online tools (paid and free) that can allow you to recruit more members, gain more attendance at your events, and even begin to crowdfund from the students at your campus to grow your organization. As a club leader, you are always focused on doing the best for your team and there are many ways of doing that.

One of the best methods of achieving your club’s goals is to market its brand. We use Facebook every day, it’s time to learn how to advertise on it.

Facebook Advertising: Before You Begin

The very first thing every club should have at the very least is a Facebook Page.

To create one click here: https://www.facebook.com/business/products/pages

Once you have created your Facebook page the next step is to learn more about how you can create brand awareness using your current number of members. The two ways to do this is to first utilize the Facebook Groups that your members are all in and have them share the page in those groups. Secondly, have them invite their entire friend list in order to gain some initial traction.

One of the most important tools on your page that you will want to manage at least once a week is the “Publishing Tools” section. This will allow you to schedule posts while you or another team member isn’t able to access your site (rumor has it that if you schedule your posts through a third party applications, Facebook hinders it’s post reach).

You can also see the stats of your published posts so you can A/B test (click the link to learn more about A/B testing) your headlines to see which one’s your team can repurpose for future posts.

The primary reason for scheduling and analyzing your posts will be for constant promotion of your events and to send out crowdfunding links to potential donors whether they are current students on your campus, friends & family of your club members, and university/club alumni.

To set up the events on your Facebook page click the events tab near the status update section of the page under “Event, Milestone +”.

Once you set up the event dates for all the events you have for the semester it’s time to begin advertising them and your club as a whole.

Accessing Facebook’s Ads Manager

To access the Facebook’s Ads manager enter the URL: https://business.facebook.com

Before you can create Facebook Advertisements for your Facebook Page and it’s events, you first have to click “Claim Assets” and then click “Page” in order to utilize it (note: you can only do this if you are the admin of the facebook page).

After that, click “Ads Manager” to begin creating your first advertisement.

Creating Your Campaign

The first step to creating your campaign will be to choose the objective for the advertisement that will be shown to your target audience (this is the foundation for your call-to-action which you will be creating for your headline/ad copy).

For the purposes of this tutorial, I will be creating the example campaign using the “Promote your Page” option.

Step 2 will be to indicate how you will be purchasing the clicks/impressions for your advertising. This is how Facebook makes the majority of its revenue as a company. Once this step is completed you will then scroll down to step 3, creating your ad set.

Note: It is highly recommended that you read these 3 articles later before creating your first ad so you can get a large return on your investment:

Targeting Your Audience

When targeting your audience you first need to consider who is your client persona (the fictional representation of your ideal client) in order to maximize the percentage of engagement and shares of your ads on Facebook. The targeting is determined by multiple factors such as geo-location, age, gender, language, interests, how they are currently connected to your page, etc. The basics for geotargeting your audience are available via Facebook’s business FAQ

When targeting, if you are only looking for your audience to be students on your campus and/or in the general area of the school I suggest only targeting that specific city or specific zip codes in which it is located. This ensures your money isn’t being wasted on Facebook users who may not have any relevance to your campaign goals.

If you click the arrow next to the mile radius you can customize it to any specific target you want (note you cannot do this for specific zip codes).

Above, is the preset I use to target college students for my website articles. You can customize these settings to meet your specific needs, just make you consider the audience reach before you continue. Do you want to reach 10,000 people or 400 people for example? You can also target via other pages and interests. For the purposes of this tutorial, I used CUNY pages to specifically target the most relevant college audience for the events I’d host at my college.

You can use “Behaviors” & “Connections” to further target your audience.

And don’t forget to save your audience!

Budgeting your Ads $$$

“If you choose a daily budget, the amount you enter is the maximum that you’ll spend each day. If you choose a lifetime budget, the amount you enter is the most that you’ll spend during the lifetime of your ad set.” -Facebook Help

You can choose to either do a lifetime budget or a daily budget (to conserve your funds I highly recommend doing a lifetime budget).

The final step before uploading the content of your ad is to schedule specific times of the day to target your audience (you can only do this if you have a lifetime budget).

After you decide your budget & schedule that you can use for each campaign the last thing to do is to add your banner ad, ad copy, and to review how the ad or ad set looks on both Desktop and Mobile News Feeds.

Additionally, you can study the data and ultimately learn how to fundraise to specific targets to maximize your return that you spent after your advertisements have been activated.

*Example of how to optimize your next target audience by age, gender, and how much each audience will cost per click.

Now all of this may seem like a lot, however, after making at least 3 ads you’ll be able to do this for your club events (or anything related) and setting up the ad won’t take more than two days to plan and execute. Just remember to always monitor how your audience is reacting to your ads and to learn from the data you collect.

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How can college students leverage social media to get interviews at startups? Graham Campbell Kenny Soto

How can college students leverage social media to get interviews at startups?

This question was one I asked via Quora in August of 2015, where several business professionals graced me with their insights. Below is the featured answer to my question that every college student needs to read:

Answer by Graham Campbell, Owner of Moose Media Management specializing in Social Media Services & Training. 

 

As the owner of a Social Media startup & someone that has interviewed & appointed dozens, if not hundreds of people in the past I would say ‘leveraging’ Social Media is going to be an advantage, but not necessarily in ways you would expect. You still need to make sure you apply for any available position using the official channels. If no position is advertised & you are just speculating, I would still consider the following points:

Social Media Across the Board

Make sure your social media profiles are complete, current, interesting & relevant. Concentrate on your big 3 - Facebook, Twitter & most importantly LinkedIn. If you do make direct contact with a potential employer then do it solely via LinkedIn & email. I want to see your professional portfolio & networks; the other channels really just add colour for me at this stage & perhaps give me a better insight into the type of person you are - For example it may jump out of your Facebook profile that you’re dedicated to your family, your Twitter may tell me you are engaging & responsive & Instagram tells me you love going climbing with your mates. That sort of ‘colour’ is very valuable to any potential employer so I’d suggest not having too many closed networks at this stage.

General Rules

Also don’t try & focus all your platforms on ‘leveraging’ your new role. Let LinkedIn be LinkedIn & Facebook be Facebook. I’d be interested in a well-rounded person & an understanding that you utilise these networks in different ways - presenting different ‘faces’ within them is key. Obviously if you need to clean them up - then do it - no-one needs to see your bare heinie on Facebook, not your mates, not your parents & certainly not any potential employer. Don’t be boring, though, if there are pics from the same night which just show that everyone was having a great time then - there’s no harm in that!

It would be good to see Social Media projects you’ve been involved in linked to you, but this isn’t essential. It’s that sort of stuff that would come out at an interview. Therefore don’t flatter yourself too much that any potential employer, even within Social Media, is going to spend more than 5-10 minutes looking at your profiles for an entry level job. You just need to grab attention with your Bios, we aren’t going to trawl for nuggets hidden in the depths of your feeds.

Direct Contact

Most important to me if you contacted me directly (especially if unsolicited) is that you’ve taken the time to find out about the company, you can show that you are genuinely interested in the work that we do (don’t over-use the word passionate, it drives me wild) & that you are aligned with my company’s values & ethos. If you can reference particular projects we’ve been involved in (not always easy I know) that you genuinely found engaging, then all the better, let us know. Don’t be afraid to be enthusiastic, however, walk the line between enthusiasm & obsequiousness [inclined or disposed to please], I still want to see a bit of ‘edge’ or spirit.

If you want to do something different think about a video. You must make sure you are good on camera, though, know what you want to say, how to say it concisely & generally be engaging. Practise. Otherwise, it would backfire.

If presentations are a strength then what about:

Follow all the right prospective employers/people on Periscope, create some buzz about your upcoming 5-minute pitch to be their companies next stand-out employee, then nail your live ‘performance’! Hey presto you’ve just effectively interviewed for all the companies you want to work for in one go & got a jump on your fellow graduates (anyone reading this that actually follows this through please let me know & also credit me in your interview) you can have it for free! I suppose the real key is to play to your strengths & align those to the interests of your prospective employers. In other words: don’t be someone or something you’re not in Social Media as in life. It’s never a recipe that succeeds - trust me!

Whatever you do, don’t bombard the company with unsolicited requests & I would certainly advise against using social media ads to ‘get yourself out there’ - I don’t think they are suitable for your situation.

What about a handwritten letter?

Regarding [a] handwritten letter - that’s fine but I’ve seen too many terrible ones, it has to be spot on. If your writing is illegible or even too neat, if you are dyslexic or just rubbish at spelling then don’t do it. To be honest, a well constructed electronic letter may give me some insight into your design proclivities. I’ll judge you by the fonts you use, line spacing, kerning & general design. Sorry, but it’s the truth! Clue - most ‘creatives’ like simplicity (I’m sure you know that).

So I have rambled a bit, it’s been a long week but, I want to leave you with this: it’s a bit of life advice really, but allies to this situation. Live by this & you will go far. It’s a conflict resolution model by Don Miguel Ruiz & it’s at the heart of who I am & the ideals of my company:

  1. Be IMPECCABLE with your word
  2. Don’t make assumptions
  3. Don’t take things personally
  4. ALWAYS do your best

Best of luck in your search.

Author’s note: Hopefully this answer gives you some hope in your job search. Always try new things, you never know until you do it.

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Personal Website Kenny Soto

The 6 Steps to Building a Personal Website

You have to market yourself.


You already understand the importance of a 
personal website if you clicked to read this article (or you’re curious). Minda Zetlin from Inc.com comments on a survey of 300 HR professionals that shows that 30% of them see a personal website as a key advantage for job applicants however, less than 1% actually have one. If you want a leg up on your competition, it’s time to invest in a website.

1. Buying a domain

When setting up your website the first thing the you need to do is compare the pricing options on different domain extensions attached to your first & last name. The best domain extensions to use are .com, .me, or .info for a personal website (the complete list can be found here). Once you’ve decided which extension you’ll be using the next best course of action is to choose from the large list of domain name providers. My suggestion is to either use godaddy.com, namecheap.com or bluehost.com. It is advised that you make your first purchase for owning the website for 2 years because people with your name can bid for your site and put it on hold until your subscription expires and if you mistakenly forget to renew they will grab it.

2. Hosting to go with your domain

After carefully choosing your domain name the next thing you need to purchase is a hosting package. The best ones provide these services:

  • 24/7 Customer service Monthly or Bi-monthly discounts
  • Server space packages
  • Migration services (just in case you need to switch an already owned domain to another provider)
  • Security Services

The main reason why these four aspects should be prioritized over all others is because without these aspects you will have a longer process in setting up your site and you want to avoid as many hiccups as possible to save your time.

3. Can’t code? Use a CMS!

The easiest way to build a unique & well-designed website is to use a content management system such as WordPress & SquareSpace  (these are all in one packages that also provide hosting and domain purchasing). The best one is my opinion is WordPress for its ability to easily manage and customize the backend aspects of your website. For this article, I will be mainly referencing WordPress for adding your plugins and pages to your website.

There really is no reason for anyone not to have a website, regardless of your skills in coding. If you do however want to learn to code from scratch, you can use CodeAcademy for free. For a personal website all you need to know is HTML & CSS.

4. Who are you building it for?

There multiple reasons for you to have a personal website. One thing you must consider is who you are building it for, and not only why. The best thing you can do before beginning the overall design & structure for your site you need to develop a content marketing plan for your intended audience. For example, if you are a law student creating a blog based on general law knowledge you believe people should know, you can then market yourself to law firms (it’s great to have graduate from a great school but, if you don’t graduate from Harvard or Yale, you should consider increasing your edge). If you want to get into creating infographics for your blog, services such as Canva or Vengage can help. Building the website is half of the battle, marketing it is just as important.

5. Essential pages your site should have (after choosing a theme)

You can have multiple web pages on your site however, there are four that you must consider carefully. To save yourself time, make sure all the design planning is done using wireframe and then you implement everything you had in mind about the pages that you want.

The first and most important page is your home page, the one thing that can kill your bounce rate (tips for understanding that here). If you want your visitors to stay, make sure your homepage has content including your current blog posts, site news, or even your social media news feeds. After that, make sure you have a blog page. It is up to you whether you only want your posts or a sidebar/footer for your widgets. Don’t forget that in addition to these pages you should include a professional resume/portfolio. It can be the same information that you provide on your LinkedIn profile. Finally, don’t forget a contact page so people can reach you (you’re doing this to promote yourself after all).

6. Other key elements

You want people to follow you  so social media buttons are vital to your promotional success. If your WordPress theme doesn’t provide this functionality you can use the plugin Shareoholic or AddThis. Having a newsletter to keep people who are interested in you updated is also very important. After creating an opt-in button (could be labeled subscribe here), utilize services such as MailChimp or ConstantContact to design your newsletter emails.

Finally, to truly manage your website effectively I highly recommend learning Google Analytics. Google Analytics will help you to:

  • Manage where people are putting your links
  • Understanding how people interact with your site
  • Know where your audience is located and where they are coming from
  • Know what sites are bringing the most referrals

It will also help you to understand what website elements are working, what colors are working, where you’re not getting clicks, where you are getting clicks, etc. Keep in mind that this is a tool to focus on after building your website; once you begin content development and promotion.

If you have around $50 you can certainly get started today. So many of us use the internet however, we do not use it to truly promote ourselves and gain opportunities to further our success. If you want to continue to learn more about marketing yourself effectively online make sure to subscribe for more articles.

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Personal Branding Tips For College Students

A Personal Branding Campaign Is Vital For College Seniors & Graduates 

Have you ever wondered what was the exact number of job applications you’ve completed, that have never received any attention or have gotten a reply? If I had to estimate it, the number of applications for me would be over 120. Searching for a new job can be a very depressing process, especially for recent college graduates who need to pay off their student loans and want to start an independent life. The value of a college degree still stands, but it is steadily declining each year.

There are more than 2.8 million college graduates entering the workforce this year alone. That’s only a small fraction of the competition you’ll have to deal with if you factor in the rest of the citizens that are also competing for your dream job (or any job for that matter). So, what can someone do to help increase his or her chances of employment in today’s noisy job search environment?

The Hiring Process

I dread job hunting simply because of all the deterrents that exist that stop me from becoming employed. For starters, there are resume tracking systems that allow hiring managers (at large corporations such as Twitter, Apple, and Google) to sift through thousands of applicants so that only 10 to 20 resumes ever end up on their desks. And get this—the very first thing a hiring manager does today before they even view your resume, is Google your name. That means that online reputation management is now more important than ever before.

Every one of us produces content on a daily basis, whether it is a status update, video, or a photo and all of it is being indexed the very moment we post it (and it never gets removed). Think about it; your name is a keyword that is going to have all the relevant content related to it readily available when someone searches you. Remember that photo you took at your spring break party that you deleted after posting it by accident? It’s still in Google Search’s archives. But don’t fret, there are things you can do that can help you increase your job hunt success!

Why do you need to build your personal brand?

First impressions are no longer made based on face-to-face interactions. Before you are even invited to an interview, you need to pass the “online tests” that are imposed on you. Hiring managers are supposed to acquire the best potential team members possible. To make a good impression, you need to create and manage your own personal brand. Sadly, LinkedIn is not enough to show whom you truly are. Not only as the ideal employee but also, as a really amazing person. Your personal brand needs to be a combination of your resume, your LinkedIn profile, and most importantly your very own personal website (ideally, firstnamelastname.com).

The question that you need to ask yourself before you even apply for a job is “what is my value proposition?” thinking through the eyes of an employer. If you do not present yourself online as someone who can provide added value to their company, they will not waste their time interviewing you. They must ensure that your personality is a good match for whatever team you are applying to join.

There are college students that have honors, several awards, are a part of many clubs and organizations and have completed many internships. At the end of the day, you will always be in competition for the jobs you apply for, so you need to add as many key advantages as possible to get yourself in front of the employment line. It’s time you leverage your online presence to stand out from the crowd.

How to build your personal brand

The first thing you must consider is that resumes aren’t as important as what a potential employer sees online. The most important thing you must do is create a website. You don’t need to learn how to code to create one now; there are many content management systems that can allow you to post content and design your website very quickly (such as SquareSpace and WordPress). The biggest investment you can ever make as a college student is buying a domain and hosting your website.

I have had my website for almost a year now, and it has allowed me to show who I am as a young professional in a much grander way than a resume ever will. What you should think about is how you are currently conveying to an employer (and everyone else), who are you and what makes you so unique. Why are you more of a potential asset to the company than the other thousand applicants who applied last month?

If I were hiring someone, and I saw two resumes with the same skills, job experience, and degree (even though GPA or school doesn’t bring much merit anymore), if one candidate had a website, and the other didn’t—I would definitely giving the first interview to the applicant who has their own site.

What Employers Want To See

Considering that a degree is no longer the only thing needed for your professional success, there has to be something else that you can do to increase your chances of landing the right job. The key to doing so is leveraging what you already use every day: the Internet.

In our culture, all of our attention is now focused on our mobile devices, so we must know how to use this to our advantage. The purpose of creating a personal branding campaign that includes a website, great LinkedIn profile, other Social Media channels, and a resume that speaks to an employer is to show your value proposition. The key to success after college and beyond is to consistently showcase (online) why anyone should give a damn about you.

Building these things is fairly easy; the main issue is committing your time to get these things done. If you aren’t being hired for the job, someone else will be!

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1.     The College Degrees And Skills Employers Most Want

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3.     What I (Really) Wish I’d Known As A Freshman In College.

Kenny Soto 4 areas of Inbound marketing

The Four Areas of Inbound Marketing: The Keys to Online Positioning

Customers have complete power

As an entrepreneur, there are many challenges that you may face promoting your product or services. All companies need to be discoverable in today’s marketplace and inbound marketing is at the core of it all. Today customers have a vast amount of choices for all their consumer needs. Being the company with the best product is not enough anymore. Inbound marketing is the practice of positioning yourself so customers always find you. There are four key areas of focus that are in the heart of this field of marketing.

Search Engine Optimization: Inbound marketing science

Everyone at this point uses Google, Bing, and Yahoo to find out information about everything. If you are selling anything you need to learn how to position yourself at the top of every search query relatable to you. There are many factors that determine how you rank on search pages that are always updated regularly (such as Google Panda). There are both on-page and off page factors that one has to consider to optimize your website’s SEO. For example, the on-page factors include: having a meta description with an excellent call to action that breeds curiosity to learn more about you and your product, doing substantial keyword research (using tools such as SEMRush, Longtailpro and Ubersuggest) to find out with search queries you can target with low-quality content, etc. The off-page factors include (but are not limited to): site history, bounce rate, session rate, ad quotient, location, does the site have shares on social media, spam, broken links, piracy, and much more.

SEO is one of the most important fields of digital technology, marketing, and science to date. No one will ever have a complete understanding and access to any search engine’s crawlers and predictive analysis can only take you so far. At the end of the day, the key component to SEO is user experience. If you cannot provide your customers the information they need exactly when they need it, providing the optimized experience they desire, you not only fail them but, you also fail yourself. Search engine optimization is not something that can be avoided. In addition, simple pay-per-click campaigns through tools such as Google Adwords don’t provide substantial growth models over time. One must consider all facets of SEO that help their business grow, especially since it important for all professionals to know something about the subject.

Blogging never gets old

Blogging, many consumers would say today has become over saturated with useless information. Perhaps this is true, but one thing to consider is that corporations such as Entrepreneur or FastCompany still blog, applications such as: timely, trello, and invision all use blogs because it is an effective way to express thought leadership in your industry (that in addition to infographics makes for very useful displays of your expert insights). Blogging helps show your customers not only that you provide products and services that suit their needs but, that you also share relevant information.

Newsjacking is the act being the number one provider of new and exciting topics in your industry that will determine if users can depend on you for reliable information. “The world of marketing will need more journalists than advertising majors”, was a comment a speaker at my college told a group of students that are aspiring media communication professionals. If you do not have a set of tools, such as Google alerts or Netvibes, that allow you to be the first to see new content on a daily basis, you are surely behind your competition. Lastly, the amount of overall customers that come to your site is relevant to one very important number: the number of guest bloggers you have posting content on your site. The more people you have writing content, the more they share it with members of their own networks which then improves yours.

Social Media (Conversations and Listening)

One thing I have noticed most social media campaign managers not doing is reaching out and contacting the influencers that their followers and potential followers are viewing. If you want to grow your current customer base  on social media it never hurts to contacting other thought leaders in your industry and asking them to share your content (with the bargain that you will do the same). If your content is good enough they will certainly agree and it will boost your reach on your social media platforms.

Another technique (depending on your business model) that works well is having user-generated content on your page. If for example, you are a video hosting service mainly targeting “high schoolers” it would help your business a lot by having users of your product share the content they have made on your social media pages. You could also curate all the content they have and have them share it with each other on a forum page that you create. This works perfectly with businesses whose engines of growth rely on viral marketing (having users attract their friends for you).

Most importantly, focus on one specific platform. Not all social media platforms are built the same and you should be working on developing your customer base to make sure your inbound marketing efforts are rising on in one area. You can then use that social media to transfer your followers onto the other ones. Most businesses that provide business-to-business services would focus on LinkedIn and not Instagram or Pinterest and that is because LinkedIn would naturally provide better results. Inbound marketing requires intense strategy so one must always consider where the majority of their efforts lie on social media.

Being a thought leader: Content Development & Curation 

There is only one thing that can determine that when a customer finds you on the Internet, they will stay and interact with you: content. Content is the only thing that matters to your customers. If you cannot provide them with the content they need at the immediate point of contact they have with you online, they will find someone else who will. If you want to be successful in your inbound marketing efforts you need to provide content such as webinars on your products and services, white papers, provide content on under-served content niches, and curating useful information from other sources so your users don’t have to. Also, you need to know how to properly generate leads by knowing the right time to gate (asking the user for contact information) and when not to. If you can’t build a connection of trust between your users and your business then you need to reconsider your strategies in all your inbound marketing efforts.

Remember, because of the Internet, you don’t need to use paid marketing. Customers are looking for you; you just need to position your business at the right place and always at the right time.

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digital marketing skills post

4 Essential Marketing Skills For 2015

A skill for the future

I have been recently contemplating how would I be able to propel myself closer to success after college and it dawned on me that there are many skills that I have to capitalize on to stand out from the crowd. I want to share with you what the essential marketing skills are, whether you are looking for a job or beginning to start a business. In the modern job market, hiring managers need to see what more could you offer that makes you stand out as a valuable employee. Whichever industry you are entering it is always imperative that you show some knowledge on marketing (yourself and a company). Having marketing techniques at the very least can help you stand out from your competition when hiring managers are searching for prospective employees. Below are four essential skills/techniques you should have knowledge on if you wish to advance your career this year:

1. Understanding the keyword research and keyword planning

It has become common practice to use search engines such as Google to find all the product information you may need before deciding. Knowing the basics of keyword research is essential knowledge that everyone should educate themselves on. I am a strong advocate in teaching keyword research and keyword planning in college and high school considering search engines are an essential tool in our lives. Knowing which keywords your competitors are competing for and which ones you can use for organic and paid customer allocation is very important in whatever your endeavors are. Google is the most powerful advertising machine in the world and we all need to know how to properly use it. I highly suggest checking out Google’s Keyword Planner, Google Trends, Keywordtool.io and other tools that help generate keywords based on the business you are trying to join. You could also start to see which keywords you should consider researching by using keyword suggestion services such as KeyWordShitter. Another pricier tool I highly suggest everyone should invest in is the LongTailPro.

2. Effective Social Media Campaigning

It has become a need for all businesses now to use social media platforms to reduce customer acquisition costs and to promote a product. Many people do not use social media other than to see how their family and friends are doing, however, there are so many ways to market yourself on social media. Social Media Optimization has become an increasingly important need in any  job, especially in 2015. Here are a list of tools you can use to increase the amount followers you gain in your endeavors. Buffer is a wonderful application that allows the user to plan their posts ahead of time, its free membership features are great for building up a toolkit (they also have a mobile application for iPhone and Android. Two other tools that work wonders with Twitter are TweetDeck and Sumall, which help with managing your account and giving you accurate analytics.

3. Creating Buyer Personas

The power of the buyer persona is strong. A buyer persona is a fictional profile of a person you attempt to engage in your marketing efforts. Using this marketing technique can help you in finding out who you should be marketing to as a customer and/or a hiring manager. Here is a wonderful article that goes more in-depth on the subject. I also recommend utilizing these links as well to  gain more knowledge on buyer personas (I am still learning myself at the moment):

4. Clear and persuasive writing

Lastly, of all the essential marketing skills listed above, the most important one  is simply effective writing. All communication begins with writing and to truly communicate your goals to how you will be an asset to a company and your customers you must be able to express yourself clearly and persuasively. It is imperative that you constantly attend workshops throughout your area and take grammar classes to routinely work on your writing. If there is anything you take from this article is that you should always focus on the basics first which is writing.

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Learn Digital Marketing kenny soto

3 Reasons Why You Have to Learn Digital Marketing

Today, everyone is their own media company.

[Editor’s note: Posted originally on February 8th, 2015]

“To me, job titles don’t matter. Everyone is in sales. It’s the only way we stay in business.”Harvey Mackay

I am currently an intern at SCORE NYC, a not-for-profit small business consulting agency right in the heart of New York City. As an intern, I am being exposed to what digital marketing is and how the marketing world has changed dramatically. Here are the top three reasons why I believe no matter what industry or profession you are going into, you have to be savvy in digital marketing.

Everything is sold on the internet.

Whether you like it or not, most professions rely on the art of selling. When someone is looking for a new product or service, a nonprofit to donate to, or just a new blog to read, understanding how to market on the internet is essential to your success. The more you understand how to market yourself or a business you work for on the internet, the more valuable you become. There is a lot of white noise on the web and you want your potential customers/viewers to reach you. Digital marketing is all about optimizing your online presence.

Your information is being indexed every day.

It should come as no surprise that Google catalogs every Facebook post, Tweet, LinkedIn update and Instagram video you share online. Your information is out there and what you need to do is make sure you are in control of what people see. The first thing employers do today is the Google your name before even deciding to skim your resume (if you’re an entrepreneur looking for investors, be aware that they always do their due diligence in researching who you are before your pitch). Make sure what they see is spectacular and show them you are an asset; the right person for the position. At all costs avoid any damaging information to be posted about you online. Digital etiquette is the one thing you cannot afford to overlook.

Your competition is everywhere.

How can anyone be able to get a job in today’s ever changing job market when thousands of people are applying to the same positions daily through the internet? How do you sell a product to customers when there are thousands of competitors in the same industry creating and giving out content on a daily basis? Business professionals need to know how to stand out from the crowd and the best way to do so is to make your digital presence known. This doesn’t mean only setting up a LinkedIn account, crossing your fingers, and hoping for the best. You have to join forums or message boards and start communicating with people within your industry (creating an active presence is key). Show your potential employers, customers and business partners that you are the expert and authority in your field. It’s all about developing a personal brand that will have employers wanting to know more about you.

Don’t only spend your time on the internet scrolling through news feeds and watching countless YouTube videos. Invest your time into expanding who you are online. Trust me, if you aren’t doing so your competition is.

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