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“Career Time Traveling”: Use this Exercise to Land Your Dream Job in Digital Marketing (Even if You Have Limited Experience)

“The point where those two things come together is the secret sauce to finding jobs that work for you. If you want to work remote, if you want to work in person, if you want to get a new job in a new industry, you can find these things.” – John Grimshaw

Are you looking for a new job? In particular, are you looking to break into the exciting world of digital marketing?

If you’re having a hard time landing the position you want, then this post is for you.

I’m going to tell you about an exercise I call Career Time Traveling that can help you:

  • Find the Right Job
  • Elevate Your Résumé
  • Impress During Interviews

Most importantly, it can help you prioritize your own happiness instead of someone else’s. Now let’s dive in!

How to Find the Right Job

The first mistake people make when looking for a job is exactly that — they’re looking for a job.

They’re not looking for what is going to make them happy.

So instead of simply looking at the jobs that exist, flip this process on its head and start the other way around.

I talked to Molly about this, and she said:

“The job you want is a two-way street. This isn’t just about finding the position that’s the most prestigious or impressing someone or making the most money. This is also about you, and what you want and making sure that you are valuing what’s going to make you happy.

If you’re not sure what makes you happy or how to turn it into a viable career path, don’t worry: I’ll help you with both of those things in just a second.

How to Elevate Your Resumé

A family friend came to me for help recently. They had been applying for jobs without any success, and they were feeling stuck.

So I looked over their résumé, and it was… fine.

It had their education and their work history, and they seemed qualified for the jobs they were applying for.

But there were a couple of problems.

1. Don’t Use “Corpo-speak”

People love to clutter their résumés with abstract and overcomplicated language.

They’ll say things like, “I leveraged and distributed tree systems to communicate core concepts to friends and colleagues,” when really what they’re saying is they printed and handed out memos.

Try to say things as plainly and clearly as you can.

2. Be Enthusiastic

An even bigger problem I see is that people’s résumés don’t reflect their enthusiasm for their work or the specific skills they were bringing to the table.

People are so concerned with how much experience they have, but they don’t realize how much employers care about hiring team members who are passionate about what they do.

To help you find the right job and elevate your résumé, I want to share an exercise with you.

I call it Career Time Traveling.

Career Time Traveling

This exercise will help you pinpoint the intersection of where you find joy and where you can make the most impact.

To do that we’re going to reflect on what we’ve done, what we’ve done well, and where we’ve seen success.

Part 1: Take Inventory of Your Career

First, sit down and think about everything you’ve done in your career.

Write down all the jobs you’ve had and projects you’ve worked on, paying special attention to the things you’ve enjoyed.

This might sound daunting, but here’s my advice: just start writing.

It’s okay if this exercise begins as a brain dump. Just get ideas on the page and eventually you’ll get to the good stuff.

(If you’re just getting started in your career, that’s okay. Think about things you’ve done in school, in internships, or in your early jobs. I share more tips later in the article.)

Part 2: Highlight Where You’ve Made a Measurable Impact

Next, highlight examples on your list where you had a positive, measurable impact on the outcome.

Focus on specific and quantifiable results, things like:

  • Impact on Revenue
  • Managing Budgets
  • Number of Clients
  • Content Views
  • Tools Leveraged

In this exercise, we’re looking for things that make us happy and that show what we bring to the table.

And that confluence — that point where those two things come together — is the secret sauce to finding jobs that work for you, whether you want to work remotely, in person, or in a new industry altogether.

My Own Adventure in Career Time Traveling

When I worked at DigitalMarketer, I came up with this insight: if we led with a dollar trial instead of our more expensive products, we actually had a higher retention rate overall and acquired customers at half the cost.

I calculated the impact of this insight at half a million per year in increased revenue.

This is an example of a confluence between something I enjoy (analyzing data) and somewhere I had a measurable impact (increasing revenue and lowering acquisition costs).

How to Impress During a Job Interview

You should now have a list of 10-40 projects.

Next, create a master document of tasks you enjoyed and succeeded at, and anytime you apply for a job, take things from your list that apply to that role and highlight them in your résumé.

Not only will this help elevate your résumé, you will come into your next job interview with an entirely different energy than the other candidates.

This doesn’t always translate on paper — there’s no thermometer for excitement level — but the energy you bring into an interview is something that interviewers really pick up on.

“That’s the #1 thing I look for,” Molly says.

“I’m reading the person’s energy. Is this someone I think will complement and add to the team? Is this the vibe we’re looking for? And the rest of it of course comes. Everyone who is interviewing at least subconsciously doing that.”

This approach to interviews can also help you better communicate your value, which is something people really struggle with.

Here’s Molly again:

“I talk to friends every week who are looking to get new clients or new jobs, and I know how amazing they are — I’ve worked with them, I’ve seen it — but they sometimes struggle to communicate their value. This exercise is a great way to do that.”

Nothing will make you look and sound more professional than showing you’ve done this reflection.

This also applies if you’re not looking for a new job, but want to rise up the ranks of your current team.

If you sit down with your manager at your next check-in and say, “Hey, I really think I carried more than my weight this year, and you can see that reflected in X, Y, and Z” then they should reward that impact.

What to Do if You Lack Relevant Job Experience

I touched on this above, but I want to go a little deeper.

If you completed this exercise and your list of projects is short, that’s okay. Here are some tips to help you get value from this article.

  1. Flesh out your list.

    Include events from school, internships and jobs that might not be relevant to what you’re applying for.

    I’ve hired people that were transitioning industries. Even though their skillset didn’t directly relate to the job I was hiring for, they were able to communicate their enthusiasm and their impact, and I knew that would translate to whatever job they did.
  2. Use this exercise to your advantage.

    It’s important to have relevant experience when applying for a job, but if you don’t, that’s all the more reason to do this exercise because it can help you stand out from other candidates who are more experienced on paper.
  3. Show an eagerness to learn and to grow.

    9–10 years ago, Facebook ads as we know them didn’t exist. This industry is constantly changing and evolving, which makes adaptability one of the key skills in all of digital marketing.

    I think one of the best hires we ever made was someone who was transitioning from recruiting, but we brought him into the marketing world and he became a marketing manager.

    Never stop learning. Never stop growing. Never stop exploring.
    • A Summary (And a Celebration)

      If you set out to look for jobs with the biggest salaries or for positions available in your area, you will likely get lost in the weeds of serving other people’s needs.

      That’s why I think Career Time Traveling can be a game changer for people who feel stuck or want to switch things up.

      And while doing this exercise, don’t forget that your top priority is to focus on what’s fun and meaningful to you.

      Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you should make it your job, so remember to evaluate your successes through the lens of what work makes you happy.

      To wrap up this post, I want take a moment to celebrate the opportunity available to all of us as digital marketers — yes, even if you’re just getting started in the game.

      Take it from Molly:

      “We should be grateful… these skillsets that we’re learning are so valuable in our current economy and we’re just getting started.”

      That’s it — thanks for reading!

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