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!

If you found this article useful, click here to subscribe to my newsletter: SUBSCRIBE

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?
Baim Hanif Kenny Soto Graduating College

How I Got Employed After Two Weeks Of Graduating College.

If you’ve heard or read my rants for the past 6-8 months, I’m constantly trying to convince people to begin working on their personal brands. Until now, the only results I could show on the benefits of working on my personal brand is being ranked number one for my own name on Google SERPs (search engine return pages). However, now I actually can prove that what I’m alluding to when I’m speaking about my brand is the fact that it only took me two weeks to get a job after I graduated. Mind you; I didn’t even apply for the position.

Read More
Pr2politics Kenny Soto Raven Robinson

Pr2Politics: Interview With Raven Robinson

Public Relations, The Political Arena, Advice For College Students, and More…

“Never plan, always be prepared.” - We still haven’t found out…go figure.

Raven Robinson

Episode 2 is here! Raven Robinson is the owner of Pr2Politics, a consulting firm that offers public relations services to political candidates and emerging public figures. She currently holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from The City College of New York, where she served as the President of their Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter. She is also the author of “Your Campaign: A business owner’s guide to understanding public relations”, a workbook that helps entrepreneurs with their public relations strategies. In 2015, Raven was featured in City & State Magazine as a “Top 40 under 40 Rising Star in Government”. Ms. Robinson is currently the Vice President of Government Affairs for The Women In Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN).


 


Show Notes:

  • Interview starts. [0:00]
  • Raven’s background. [0:33]
  • How she began to “bridge the gap.” [6:30]
  • Her experience with “Early Twitter.” [8:00]
  • Her observations on social media usage from college students. [10:50]
  • What should someone consider if they plan to start a career in public relations?  [14:24]
  • What does entrepreneurship mean to you? [17:15]
  • What is a successful life? [22:17]
  • What is a personal brand? [23:04]
  • Raven’s question for the audience… [24:44]

Book mentioned at the end: “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person” by Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes Year of The Yes Kenny Soto

Recommended Articles:

  1. Why Every Marketing Major Should Toss Their Textbooks In The Trash
  2. 5 Tips for Politicians Using Social Media
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.
  2. 5 Tips On How To Get a Job (Or Anything Else You Want) Without a Formal Credential
  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
Job search tips 2016 Kenny Soto

Are You Ready For The 2016 Job Hunt? (12 Min. Read)

The Times Have Changed…. It’s time to fix your job hunting techniques.

The year is almost ending, and it’s time to start thinking about what companies we are going to apply to after graduation. However, there’s one big issue: our resumes just don’t cut it anymore. 93% of all Hiring Managers use resume scanning software to filter candidates from the application pool. I was recently told this by TopResume, a company that reviews resumes to be up to ATS (applicant tracking system)  standards.


What alarmed me the most is that I learned that most companies use these resume scanning software systems. I would love to work for, Apple, Amazon, and Google to name a few. So what is one to do when attempting to apply for a job in a time and age where just this year, college graduates have made up 40% of the unemployment population in the US? As young professionals, we need to change our job hunting strategies and begin using the internet to stand out from the crowd.Why it’s time for a personal brand.

Why it’s time for a personal brand.

There is one thing you need to stop believing and that is that a well-constructed resume will help you get the interview. Although it is still important to develop your work experience and have a crisp resume, you need to know that everyone and their mother has one as well…and she is most likely applying to your dream job as well (here’s a PDF you can read later to see why I say this). The number one way to stand out from the sea of resumes that make it after the dreaded ATS’s scan through everyone else’s is a personal brand! Creating your personal brand online can help your job hunt tremendously, and it doesn’t take that much money to start.

I highly recommend creating a website through a CMS (content management system) such as WordPress or SquareSpace that don’t require any coding skills to enable you to start putting who you are on the internet. The very first thing an employer who sees your resume does is Google you! You need to make sure that you are in control of your digital persona. People will take photos of you and build content about you via social media that you will be indexed for on Google. Either you take control of your image or others will do it for you, and your hiring manager will see it.

Kenny Soto Job Hunt Help

There are many ways to get started!

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’ve just spent an all-nighter writing this 10-page essay, I got my B+, now what?” Well, the coolest thing about a blog is that if you don’t have anything to showcase right away, use your old homework (make sure it pertains to what you are interested in doing in the future) and use the content as an article.

The hardest part about building a personal brand and using a blog is creating content but, don’t let that stop you from using old work to kickstart your content creation. If you write about what you’re interested in, it will be enjoyable, just be authentic.

If you don’t have the money right now to set up a website, there are two alternatives you can use! Don’t give yourself an excuse not to do this today:

Kenny Soto Job Hunt Help

Use the posts option on your LinkedIn and Medium accounts to create a personal website substitute while you save up around $50 to make your personal branding website. You need to begin today to make your job hunt easier in the future.

Up next…drum roll… researching your target companies

The next step as you journey off into creating an awesome personal brand is to begin finding out more about the culture of the companies you want to work for in the future. It can all start with a Tweet or InMail (LinkedIn message) directly to someone in the business you feel may answer you. The secret to increasing your chances to getting a response is to NEVER ASK FOR A JOB REFERRAL, instead ask them:

  • What do they think about the industry?
  • Where do yourself in the company?
  • What do you believe was a contributing to your success in establishing and advancing your career?

There are more questions you can ask but ultimately the reason they will answer you is because you will always begin or end the interaction with, “I wanted to know if you had the time to answer a few questions so I can put the content on my blog to help my viewers.” Or, “…so I can get other ideas to help build new content.” This technique has worked for me and if all else fails on Twitter and LinkedIn, then just use Quora.

Kenny Soto Job Hunt Help

Quora is a platform that allows you to ask anyone in the world any question you may have as well as enable you to answer any question that they have posted. The network on this platform is full of amazing and intelligent people who, when engaged correctly, can also be asked for a short 15-minute phone call or quick conversation over a cup of coffee. This provides you the opportunity for  you to expand your network before applying for jobs. Heck, even if they don’t help you get the job you do three crucial things:

  • Help grow your content on your site.
  • Learn more about the industry you are entering.
  • Increase the size of your professional network.

Speaking of networking for your job hunt…

Kenny Soto Job Hunt Advice

Another resource you can use to help your job hunt is networking websites. It’s not what you know or even who you know, it’s who knows you! What you need to do is take the initiative to actually go out and meet other business professionals if you really want to get the needed connections to help your job hunt. I recommend choosing MeetUp as your main platform for networking. You can search via any topic you want to learn about or any industry you wish to join. At the very minimum, you will expand your knowledge around your particular field and meet new people.

The challenge you need to be aware of as you go into the new year is that a resume is no longer enough. These are a few of the many steps you need to take in order to have a better chance at landing the job you want in the coming year. I hope this was some help and feel free to click in the articles below to learn more about personal branding and job hunt techniques.

 

Recommended Articles:

  1. The 6 Steps to Building a Personal Website
  2. Beat the Robots: How to Get Your Resume Past the System & Into Human Hand
  3. How I got famous executives to answer my emails when I was an unknown 21-year-old entrepreneur

Get Free Updates

You know you want to...

Get Free Updates

		
LinkedIn Help Kenny Soto

How to Use LinkedIn to Get Interviews

This question was one I asked via Quora in September 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 Paulo Tanaka, Software Engineer at LinkedIn.

Paulo Tanaka Quora“I can tell you first hand, as I used LinkedIn during school to get an internship at LinkedIn, which turned into a full-time job. Also, I should note that the entire process was done through LinkedIn, as the company did not have a presence in my school.

The first thing to do is to keep an up to date profile. Throughout school, I’d always be updating my profile and adding more connections. This is crucial, as it will make you look a lot better in the eyes of recruiters, as well as placing you higher in search results.

The second thing is to leverage LinkedIn groups (communities) to your advantage. Join groups of topics that interest you. This will also help you place higher in search results.

Third is to always add any recruiter who contacts you and any interviewer that interviews you. This will make your profile more credible and make you better connected, again making you rank higher in results.

Fourth, and most important, don’t rely on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is merely a tool. Make sure you’re always attending career fairs, talking to recruiters (and adding them on LinkedIn). Be always on the lookout for new opportunities that can make your resume really stand out. This is what will really set you apart.

I hope that helps!”

Author’s note:

LinkedIn is a vital resource for anyone trying to get into the workforce. College students should constantly be searching up the employees of the companies they want to join. A lot of them post informative articles about the company and what they are learning and it is a great way to connect beforehand.

Recommended articles:

  1. LinkedIn Profile Checklist College Students.pdf

  2. LinkedIn’s top talent executive shares her best career advice for college graduates
  3. 6 Steps For College Students Using LinkedIn To Connect

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.

Recommended Articles:

  1. Building a Personal Brand: It’s Your Only Option

  2. What Is the Point of College?

  3. 7 networking secrets everyone should learn in their 20s
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.

Recommended articles:

  1. Do Job Candidates With Personal Websites Have An Edge?
  2. 20 Social Networking Sites for Business Professionals
  3. 99 Sites That Every Professional Should Know About and Use
Cost Of College

The Cost of College: 4 Things You Should Be Doing So You Don’t Waste Your Money

The College Journey…

Here’s a familiar story. You just finished high school, and you’re excited to begin the next part of your journey. The majority of your peers have all gone to different colleges so you’ll be entering this new stage of your life on your own (or maybe with at least another friend). As a college freshman, all of us barely knew what was going on when we started our new journey, and we needed to cram a lot of information into our heads before we started our classes.

The cost of college is tremendous. Here are four pieces of advice every college student (especially freshman) should know, so they don’t waste their money and most importantly their time:

1. Meet People & Leverage Relationships

I have heard this line countless times during freshman year, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters.” This may be true but, only to a certain extent. What is truly important is who knows you. You can know a countless number of people before graduating college but, if none of those people are valuable connections who can’t remember who you are, you can’t leverage any of the opportunities they might be able to offer. It is or you to make sure you are making your mark on campus. When meeting someone always ask, “How can I bring value to this person?” Doing this will help solidify that you’re not only thinking about yourself but that you care about the other person. Only after you’ve created value for the person should you then ask them for a favor (the usual one being a connection to a job or some other opportunity).

2. Join a Club or Organization

I believe the majority of valuable information anyone can attain from their college experiences doesn’t just come from their professors, it comes from peers. Once you graduate and join the workforce, no matter what your career choice may be, you will begin to work as a member of a team. The best way to gain prior experience in working in a team (outside of college sports) is to join a club or organization. You will gain invaluable knowledge in how effective (or ineffective) teams are run. Associating the experiences, you get from being a club leader to what your intended career path may be can also help you tremendously. My desired path in life after college is to start my own company and as Richard Branson says, “A company is a group of people.” If you don’t know how to work with people now, clubs are a great starting point outside of the classroom. They also have the added bonus of extending your network.

3. Do An Internship

The best opportunity I had to learn about the practical uses of what I was gaining from my courses came from an internship. The ideal internship (which has nothing to do with getting someone coffee) allows you to learn, as you do the job. As a music major, there aren’t many internship opportunities available for me, so I had to leverage my network to take on another path: digital marketing. From my experience, I learned that the best way to truly know if what you’re studying is right for you, you need to do it. Sitting in a classroom learning theories will never give you the value of experience. And if you’re like me who’s constantly trying to learn new things, do an internship that is completely outside of your field. If it weren’t for the eight-month internship I had, you wouldn’t be reading this (because this website wouldn’t even exist). Consider an internship (paid or free) as the best college course you’ll ever take and not pay for.

Note: Student research is a good substitute for internships.

4. Figure Out What Are Your Strengths & Focus Your Studies On Enhancing Them.

Don’t concentrate on getting a job that can get you into your desired tax bracket. The cost of college is extremely high today, and no one should be wasting their money. The main reason you should be going to college is to learn how to learn and to become an observer of the universe. We are entering an era in which employers are caring less about the degree you have and more about how you showcase what you know. It helps if you’ve gained experience via an internship or research opportunity and if you’ve developed friendships that you can utilize to help advance your career.

If you just work on stuff that you like, and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out. - Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook.

Recommended Articles:

Other Posts

College

A lesson I learned in college: civics should be a core subject.

College is filled with life lessons.  You learn about yourself about other people and ideas, discover who you are going to be in society, and find out more about what interests you in an intellectual and professional capacity. Of the many lessons that I was able to learn, there is one that stands out the […]

Read More
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. […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More
Page 1 of 212