Aaron Upright is a digital marketing professional and a recent graduate of the University of Alberta’s Alberta School of Business. Currently, Aaron is looking to get involved with a growing online startup and learn more in the areas of growth hacking and growth marketing.
Recently, I reached out to the community at Growthhackers.com to ask what it takes to land an entry-level role in growth marketing (link here). Although it was my first time posting as a member of the community, the response I received was nothing short of inspiring.
After dozens of comments from some of the industry’s most recognized thought leaders, I wanted to take the time to summarize and share some of the feedback I received. Below are five tips on how to better position yourself to land an entry level role in growth marketing.
Make yourself easy to find
One of the recurring points of feedback that I received from the Growthhackers.com community was how little I had done to make myself visible on networks like LinkedIn. As one commenter put it, “if I wanted to contact you about an opportunity right now, how would I do it?” At the time, my profile was seriously lacking in several key areas, and was missing contact information. Regardless of the job you’re trying to land, go out your way to make it easy for people to reach out—no one has the time or desire to track you down. At minimum, ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and lists at least one way that people can directly contact you.
Update: I’ve since addressed most of these areas thanks to some personalized feedback from Bertrand Hazard and others. I also found Nebojsa Radovic’s article on boosting the visibility of your LinkedIn profile incredibly helpful in optimizing traffic to my page.
Don’t limit your search
When I first started looking for a job in growth marketing, I was only targeting big name companies and positions that had some combination of “growth” and “hacker” in the title. It’s no wonder every job I came across required 5+ years of experience and/or an MBA. Instead of looking for that lucrative title with a big name company, Sean Ellis and Patrick McKenzie suggest seeking out a high impact opportunity with a small business or early stage startup. It’s these type of positions that offer you the opportunity to take ownership over the growth process while still having the freedom to explore and learn in your daily role.
Take on side projects
As Everette Taylor puts it, “one of the best ways to learn growth is experimenting with your own ideas and projects”. Although ‘becoming your own client’ may not seem enticing, developing and testing your own methods is a great way to demonstrate your instincts for growth. If you’re looking for work that is more results oriented, Chris Clark suggests taking on ad-hoc projects for local or independent not-for-profit organizations. As these organizations typically don’t have the budget for full-time staff, these projects are both a great learning opportunity and a way to give back to your community. Who doesn’t like a win-win?
Start creating content
Not only is writing an excellent way to demonstrate your understanding of growth, it’s a great opportunity to show prospective employers samples of your work. Although your content may not be particularly insightful at first, Harris Reynolds comments, “the more you force yourself to formulate your ideas through writing, the more you will learn”. If the quality of your content improves enough over time, there’s also the possibility that it will be featured on other websites and online publications. Not only will this help draw attention to your work, it will provide you with more credibility as an author and prospective growth marketer.
Being rejected sucks, period. Unfortunately, it’s something that every job seeker will have to deal with at some point during their search for employment. Although rejection can be tough to deal with, it should never be used as an excuse to stop trying. Just because a company has said “no” once, doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) apply a second or third time. If you come across a company that you want to work for, don’t be afraid to reach out—even if you don’t see an opening. As Luke Thomas points out, “just because a company doesn’t have a job posting does not mean that they wouldn’t be interested in hiring you.”
Although this list is by no means exhaustive, it’s a great starting point for those trying to break into the world of growth marketing. Thanks again to everyone from the Growthhackers.com community who offered their feedback, I really appreciate all of your support and advice!