This is the first time I have written on this blog since I graduated college.
Sorry for ghosting.
Obviously a lot of time has passed. In my latest post, I was talking about how I had graduated college (Cornell Class of 2017, woot woot!) and lamenting about the difficulties of finding a job. I guess to the maybe 2-3 people that read this blog or even know what I am talking about (read my last post)…here’s an update?
My professional journey – My first job out of college.
I started working at a place called Katana Media in 2017, it was a small agency in downtown San Diego, with an office in the old NBC building. Imagine a less eccentric 30 Rock, but instead of the TV industry, it’s a 25 person company working on digital pay-per-click ad campaigns.
I applied to this company and made it to the final round when I got that disappointing email a week later telling me that they decided to go with the other, more experienced candidate. I decided to do an exercise I learned in college of asking for constructive feedback on how I interviewed. I sent an email to the ladies who did my final interview and one of them responded, with a detailed email about how to go about the job hunting process. She told me she was in the exact same boat as me many years ago, and even included some connections she had that could be a good job match for me.
And then about two weeks later, I got a call from that same job, offering me the position! From what I could gather about the hiring process, the guy they offered the job to declined, so I guess I was in luck?
I did the Content Marketing for them, which I learned is a fancy Marketing industry term for a writer, haha. I wrote all their articles for their blog (or ghost-wrote them, I didn’t always get author credit), applied for awards, created case studies, and regularly posted on their social media accounts. Marketing and advertising agencies are a crowded market, so I had to get a solid understanding of what separated this agency from every other agency in San Diego. A lot harder than you think.
The office walls were slated with sharp-edged, framed Elon Musk quotes with the company colors, yellow and white. The tone was of agency was sleek, focused, cutting-edge, and technologically sophisticated. I quite enjoyed this aspect of marketing, which the industry would call “branding”. I likened it to creating a fashion line. Every line of clothing has a statement to make, a look that means either you’re ready to party or interviewing for the VP position at a large tech company. You have a look that you go for, and it draws in the people that you intend to attract–that’s kind of how I saw branding when I was 22. It’s a polished and planned, yet semi-authentic way to show who you are, while identifying key differentiators to ensure you stand out enough to get the right attention, from the right people.
One awesome thing about working at a super small company, is that you get to acquire a lot of different skills, compared to a large company where your job is very granular and limited to a specific scope and need for the company. I was a writer and social media planner primarily, but sometimes I was a saleswoman, reaching out to people to garner interest in attending our marketing events, sometimes I was a journalist, interviewing marketing professionals on #KatanaTalks, I was an event coordinator once, making sure we had all the materials for our Higher Ed marketing event, ThinkEd Summit. After a year, I shifted into PPC (pay-per-click) marketing where I helped the company with the core part of the business: Paid ads for clients and generating growth through online advertising.
I loved working at a small company because I got to wear many different hats and become acquainted with many aspects of running a small business. I highly recommend working at smaller companies at the beginning of your career because it’s an excellent learning process.
After shifting to paid media I thought I was ready for a new adventure elsewhere. I left Katana in January of 2019 and was excited to begin my career in PPC marketing. My 22 year old (naive) self felt like PPC marketing was nerdier, more challenging and yielded more respect because of the analytical and powerful nature of the job. I mean, you are handling a company’s money and promising them powerful results to their business–that sounds pretty impactful. In my next blog post, I’ll dig into why that mentality wasn’t the right one to have, and how it impacted my career.