Want to Break Into Marketing? Crucial Things to Do in the Next 30 Days

I love Snapchat for many different reasons, not least of which is the open, honest, and non-automated interactions that happen there. No pre-scheduled sharing. No search-and-Like bots or the humans that have started acting like them on Twitter. Just actual discussion and dialogue. (They really need a name for the kind of media that enables such social interaction.)

Today, I got this great question: "I've been trying to break into marketing. Any advice?"

Hmm. Interesting. I never thought anyone would ask me this for two reasons:

1. I didn't intentionally "break into" marketing. I just kept following different roles that let me write for a living, and here we are.

2. It's weird. Who even am I? (Who is me? Who I are? Um ... who I be's?) Like, why would anyone want my advice on anything, especially something as important as their careers? Whether you think I'm being silly or I'm justifiably nervous, my point is: career questions matter to me way more than advice about marketing and creativity. Overhauling a Fortune 500 brand's approach to content? No sweat. One person with 0 years experience asking for career tips? Is it sweaty in here? It's, like ... it's SWEATY in here ...

Anywho, mini-existential crisis aside, I didn't want to leave my Snapchat friend hanging, so I offered to send him an email. I'm sharing the short note below because I've found myself giving this advice more than once, and I see them as the foundational layers you need to do anything else in your search or your career.

FAVOR: I'd love if those with experience in the field could leave a comment to supplement my answer! It'd help both my friend and anyone else reading this.

Note that instead of answering the big, scary, open-ended question, "How do I break into marketing?" I thought it'd be more useful to answer the question, "What can I do in the next 30 days to greatly increase the likelihood that a hiring manager would respond to my application?"

Okay, so my email:


  1. Fix your Google search results. The first thing good hiring managers do is search for your internet presence, not look at a resume or cover letter. In fact, you should make your cover letter a writing sample (not boilerplate Dear Sir, etc.) and resume a creative asset (maybe it's a different design, a microsite, interactive, video, whatever -- point is, make your core 2 assets stand out, and then realize most hiring managers will still go right to Google)
    1. Here's what I'd do: get proactive and set up links to appear
      1. Make sure you set up LinkedIn, Twitter, et al to reflect your best self.
      2. Open an about.me page to present the info you want to proactively share
      3. Open a personal blog. This brings me to my next thing…
  2. Create a side project. Blog, podcast, recurring series on Twitter, offline event, literally anything that I can find online to show me you can use modern channels to do marketing well today. There's nobody holding you back from creating online, so figure out what's fun and do that. Or, if you really want to engineer an end result, if a job type you crave requires something you've never done (e.g. produce video), start doing it on the side. Bottom line: Ship a ton of work and show me you can do the job
  3. Attend a ton of networking events. Good things happen when you know good people. Here's the group I started that you might consider checking out: boscontent.com // also check the events calendar at bostontweetup.com // like your content creation, start putting yourself physically out there too.

To everyone reading this in blog post form: The big message I want to send the world is to show, not tell. Create a body of work.

This work should be easily found when someone searches for you, and it's only a slight bonus if the topics are relevant to the next job. A great hiring manager and/or company will look for the underlying skills: Can you write? Can you test and tinker? Can you grow an audience? Can you move with the modern times?

(Also, if YOU are a hiring manager, know that we're facing a talent crunch. Here are some tips for attracting more creative content marketers and interviewing them effectively.) 

This idea of showing not telling also applies to that typically bland resume/cover letter combo. Make sure yours aren't boilerplate but instead reflect the skills you have. 

In the end, you have an unfair advantage compared to anyone that came before: You play on the same channels where you aspire to work. There are no gatekeepers to you quickly launching things on the side. Now it's up to you to actually put in the work before you ever get the interview. You can show, rather than tell, simply by shipping more and better work.


Good luck to this person and to anyone else trying to break into the field! And let me know how I can help: @jayacunzo on Twitter, or snapchat.com/add/jayacunzo

(Via Snapchat, take a photo of the above code to add me.)

(Via Snapchat, take a photo of the above code to add me.)

Need some inspiration to turn your intuition into action? That's why I'm building Unthinkable.

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Oh...and yes, that's my dog, Nocci, at the top :)

    Posted on June 14, 2016 .