My first encounter with the term “growth hacker” was in my second year of business school.
I was looking to land a summer internship in marketing and came across Sean Ellis’ post on hiring a marketer to lead the growth charge—incidentally, the post where the term was first coined.
Given my lack of technical expertise, I hadn’t ever considered the possibility of joining a startup. It wasn’t until I read Sean’s post that I began to think about it as a career path.
Almost two years later, I’m now officially the owner of a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Like so many new grads, however, I’m finding it difficult to turn what I’m passionate about into a career. While there is no shortage of startups looking to fill growth positions, it’s rare to encounter a job description that doesn’t require some combination of prior experience and a postgraduate degree. After months of failed approaches, I decided it was time to ask for help.
Going straight to the source, I reached out to the community at Growthhackers.com and asked what it takes to land an entry-level role in growth marketing (original discussion here). Although it wasn’t possible to include everyone’s advice in a single article, I wanted to summarize and share some of the feedback that I received. Below are five tips from the Growthhackers team on how to increase your chances of landing an entry-level job.
As Growthhackers.com’s growth and user acquisition specialist (and a recent grad himself), Everette Taylor has a lot to say about landing an entry level job in growth marketing.
First and foremost, he points to the importance of being relentless in your search. Like many grads, Everette applied for countless jobs before landing a role on the marketing team at Qualaroo. While he acknowledges that it’s easy to get discouraged, he also points to the importance of pushing forward. “Have faith in yourself and keep believing. Trust me, things will work out.”
TAKE ON SIDE PROJECTS
As he puts it, “one of the best ways to learn growth is experimenting with your own ideas and projects.”
Although this might not seem enticing to a young job seeker, developing and testing your own methods is a great way to demonstrate your instincts for growth. In the long run, the work you do might even help attract the attention of prospective employers. “If you come up with a cool idea that a company you aspire to work for can use—try to present it to them, never say never.”
CONSIDER AN INTERNSHIP
Nichole Elizabeth is Growthhacker.com’s quality manager and moderator—it’s because of her that the content on the site is some of the best on the web for growth hacking.
Before transitioning into a more growth-oriented role, Nichole was working in online marketing. In making that transition, she points to the value of internships in helping her gain experience. As she puts it, “I took on two internships and within a year am doing growth hacking through attracting the right kinds of clients and hiring the right kind of talent for my team.”
KEEP OPTIONS OPEN
As Growthhackers.com’s founder, Sean Ellis has a lot to say about breaking into the industry and landing an entry-level role. Like Nichole, he emphasizes the value of internships and the importance of not limiting your job search.
Instead of only looking for positions with the Facebook’s and Google’s of the world, he suggests seeking out high impact opportunities with early stage startups. It’s these positions that offer you the opportunity to take ownership of the growth process while still having the freedom to learn and explore.
BECOME AN AFFILIATE
To land entry-level role, Sean also suggests trying to become an affiliate for a product or service that you’re passionate about. Affiliate marketing is not only a great way to earn a possible commission; it’s an opportunity to demonstrate your ability as a growth hacker.
If done properly, it’s likely that you can drive demand and conversions without having to spend any of your own cash. “Through content marketing, social, SEO, etc, you can earn some commissions without needing to spend any money on marketing,” he says.
While there is no guaranteed way to land a growth position in today’s job market, the suggestions above provide a great framework to increase your chances of getting hired. Beyond what’s already been said, make an effort to be personable and reach out to people in the industry (online and offline)—you would be surprised how powerful the right connections can be.
If you’re able to do all that, it’s just a matter of time before companies start coming to you.
Good luck and happy hunting!