Amanda Tessier

Marketer & More

Author: Amanda

The Beginner’s Stack

When the office interns approach me each year and ask where I learned this marketing schtuff, there’s no short response.

With a hodge-podge of a background in social, SEO, content, community, growth, websites, emails, and things-that-do-not-scale, my answer is the nondescript, “It depends.”

I learned some of it in college, some of it in practice, and some of it online. One lesson built on another until I had an arsenal of facts available at a moment’s notice.

To showcase it all, I’ve compiled The Beginner’s Stack.

Not only were they useful resources as as a beginner, but they continue to deliver meaningful information over time.

From marketing technology tutorials to landing a job to getting paid what you deserve, here are the tired-and-true resources that first taught me what I know now.

Blogs for startups & marketing

Buffer Open + Social Blogs

When I ran a sports marketing group in college, I used the principles of team building and culture that the Buffer founders outlined. They worked and I grew the team from me to a dozen people. More on their salary calculator later.

Suggested read: The Power of Every Word: Why I Stopped Using “But” and “Actually” in My Customer Service Emails

First Round Review

Learn the hard lessons of entrepreneurship the easier way with longform articles from the prominent professionals on how they built something — a company, a career, or a product.

Suggested read: “Give Away Your Legos” and Other Commandments for Scaling Startups

Moz Blog

If you want to see marketing geeks start feuds, it’s usually over SEO on Twitter. This blog covers beginner topics all the way to advanced methods.

Suggested read: Beginner’s Guide to SEO

Email Newsletters

The Hustle

A conference and newsletter built for non-technical founders, now more heavily focused on tech business headlines.

Belle B. Cooper

Writer and developer, her writing delves into productivity and learning hacks (that aren’t hacky at all).

Books

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

The book is approaching 90 years old and it still works like a charm. It’s so effective it’s scary.

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

How and why to ask for what you want. She was doing things-that-do-not-scale way before startups commoditized it.

Overwhelmed by Brigid Schulte

Scrap the old mantra that hustle is everything and working 20 hours a day is worth it. This book shows the data explaining why leisure is healthy.

Blockbusters by Anita Elberse

Do you know the long tail theory? Anita debunks it in one read that’s well worth it.

Gender, Branding, and the Modern Music Industry by Kristin Lieb

Your music tastes are probably predictable; mine are. After learning the lifecycle of a female pop star, you’ll never listen to music the same way again.

Ignore Everybody by Hugh McLeod

His sex & cash theory shows up again and again. In a nutshell, if you make your passion your day job, it won’t be fun anymore.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

If you want to change your life, change your habits. Cue, routine, reward, and repeat.

Resources to Salary Negotiation & Benchmarking Compensation

Salary.com

This is employer reported data and is more comprehensive than most salary estimates available online. It’s even recommended by negotiation coaches.

Buffer’s Transparent Salary Calculator

Calculate yours by role, city, and seniority level.

How I negotiated for an additional $15k at Yammer by Anna Marie Clifton

If you need a script for negotiating, follow this to the letter.

The hourly wage needed to rent a 2 bedroom apartment

For those thinking of relocating and new to the rental markets, this gives you benchmarks of what you can afford. Rent should be approximately 1/3 of your monthly take-home salary, so you can do the math from there.

The gender wage gap in silicon valley by Rasty Turek

It exists and he crunched the numbers to verify it.

Networking & Conferences

TechLadies

Online and in-person, these events bring together technical professionals from AI engineers to digital marketers alike.

OutOfOfficeHours

An online community connecting newcomers interested in tech and veterans who are working in the industry. These people are so impressive, I want to be a “newcomer” just so I can pick their brains.

BostonTweetUp — Boston-based

While this is a newsletter, it’s event-specific for Boston and Cambridge.

Growth Hacking Breakfast — Boston-based

Held every few months at the Cambridge Innovation Center in Kendall Square, this event hosts a growth marketer once every few months for a event over breakfast. You’ll be back to the office by 10AM.

Young Women in Digital — Boston-based

Boston-based events centered around all topics of digital marketing careers

FutureM — Boston-based

During the fall in Boston, this event brings together local speakers to showcase, you guessed it, the future of marketing

INBOUND — Boston-based

Competing with FutureM, INBOUND is HubSpot’s annual marketing conference that draws 10,000+ people to Boston each autumn

Job Boards & Hiring

AngelList

A job board for startups and talent to connect. I found my startup role here.

Indeed

The generic, catch-all job board where I found a gig in digital marketing.

LinkedIn

Social network and job board. It’s worth investing some time in updating yours — it’s one of the first places recruiters and you future coworkers search for you.

Young Women In Digital

For those local to Boston, you might have a contact in the group who can make an introduction to a role you want.

TechLadies

From the big wigs of tech to the scrappy startup, this group’s weekly newsletter hands you the job opening and the point of contact.

Hireable

Receive weekly or monthly job postings in your inbox. It’s a great way to keep tabs on the job market, even if you’re not actively looking.

Use this stack, share it, and tell me what you think. How’d you learn to be a marketer?

Related reads:

Reads worth rereading

Once I no longer had a syllabus of required reading, I began devouring books fast and furiously. I read more in 2016 than I think I did in 2012–2015 combined.

These favorite books turned my 45 minute commute into the turn of a page, brought sleep faster than scrolling through Twitter, and were free with a library card — or $4 used on Amazon.

With genres including memoir, productivity, and comedic short fiction, these reads will keep you laughing while making you think.

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

A powerful read for anyone grappling with creative agency or just having a hard time asking for what they want. Amanda Palmer’s memoir details her scooping ice cream at Toscanini’s in Cambridge, working as a street performer in Harvard Square, and embarking on a successful music career with the Dresden Dolls. Her non-linear career trajectory has a single defining characteristic — she becomes especially skillful at garnering support through asking for help.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This was a reread for me in 2016 and each time I learn something new from it. Using the tactics at work, they work like a charm. These methods are even effective in email correspondence. So much so, I started keeping a folder of examples where I’ve started keeping a folder of good examples in my inbox as a reminder of best practices. It’s a favorite on many people’s lists for a reason — the book delivers exactly what the title says.

Spinster by Kate Bolick

Being single is fun but everyone is telling us over and over that we should couple up. I even had a family member tell me I was so smart I’d marry a CEO (I then told her I’ll be the CEO).

Kate Bolick owns the Single Lady status like nobody’s business. Her memoir intertwines her personal conflict between single status and marriage opportunities with the history of women in the workforce. It researches the rise of women, yet how we’re still subjected to unrealistic expectations (like marrying a CEO as an aspiration…)

Overwhelmed by Brigid Schulte

If you don’t have time to read a book, read this one twice. Its research encompasses how we manage time, why the “ideal worker” construct is ruining both men and women, and what we can do to remedy burnout.

One More Thing by BJ Novak

BJ Novak, an alum of The Office, writes hilarious pieces of short fiction that vary in length from one paragraph to a chapter. They’re thought-provoking and fun-sized, so they’re prefect to read on your beach vacation (which is what I did) or your morning commute.

Harry Potter

There are so many details I missed the first time I read this series 10 years ago. Pick it up again and you’ll see how Joanne Rowling wove in more plot twists than you can possibly remember. Now please excuse me, I have to go reread why the Snitch opens at the close.

PS: Get favorite reads, cool articles, and product tips every week in the newsletter helping marketers be more than ordinary.

Related reads:

The Conversion Rate Optimization of a Job Hunt

Talking about yourself is hard. “How To Objectively Sell Oneself” is a blog – no, a novel – of its own. Yet here I was, filling out job applications again and again, tweaking my resume and rewriting my cover letter in the hopes that my “personal branding” would strike a chord.

After an 8-week period of juggling phone interviews, networking events, and compensation conversations, I signed a job offer. It’s a relatively short period of time to be on the job hunt, especially as a recent college graduate. Nevertheless, it was the first time since I started working that I was without a paycheck. It was time to rejoin the workforce.

Here’s the story of how I tried to hack the job hunt, what was effective, and what I wouldn’t do the next time around.

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job hunt cro

The Math

Alright, here are the numbers for you. I applied to 60 jobs. Yes, 6-0. I’m a very aggressive job hunter.

Out of those 60 applications, I landed 8 phone interviews. Those translated into 6 in-person interviews. Those amounted to 1 formal offer.

From application to phone call, that’s approximately a 13% conversion rate.

From phone call to interview, that’s a 75% conversion rate.

Interview to offer is about a 17% conversion rate.

Is this good? Is this bad? I don’t know. Next time you job hunt, let me know how it goes.

Clearly, I’m better at landing interviews than jobs – here are some, but not all, of the reasons why the coveted offer was rather elusive.

The Challenges

This job hunt had 2 prominent challenges:

1. An appropriate job title
2. An acceptable pay range

My experience is far from a linear trajectory. I’ve been a social media manager for a hair salon, a SEO Specialist in a B2B digital marketing agency, a marketer at an early stage SaaS startup, and a freelancer in between.

I could apply to jobs for social media, SEO, content marketing, digital marketing, or marketing coordination and do them all with equal proficiency. Those skills were disguised in a lot of fancy titles:

  • Digital Strategy Associate
  • Account Executive
  • Digital Marketing Associate
  • Media Platform Assistant
  • Analyst, Strategy & Analysis
  • Web Content & Online Community Coordinator
  • Product Marketing Manager
  • Full Stack Marketer
  • Senior SEO Manager
  • Digital Marketing Manager
  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Product Marketing Associate
  • Research Associate, Supporting Chief Marketing Officers
  • Product Associate
  • Senior Digital Marketing Associate
  • Marketing Associate Project Manager
  • Consumer Marketing (Circulation)
  • Marketing Analyst
  • Digital Media Expert
  • Associate Marketing Manager – B2B Digital
  • Content Marketing Specialist
  • Senior Associate, Social Content Systems
  • Online Marketing Specialist, Traffic Acquisition
  • Marketing Project Manager
  • Marketing Communications Manager
  • Social Media Specialist
  • Performance Marketing Manager
  • Assistant Account Executive
  • Digital Project Coordinator
  • Marketing Programs Associate
  • Account Manager, SMB, New Grad
  • Associate Digital Marketing Manager
  • Marketing Technologist Coordinator
  • Digital Marketing Campaign Planner – Manager
  • Associate, Growth Marketing and Strategy
  • Digital Marketing Strategist
  • University Grads in Marketing
  • Brand Strategy Associate
  • Interactive Marketing Associate
  • Product Marketing Manager
  • Event Coordinator

That’s 42 titles across 60 jobs! How’s anybody supposed to know what they’re applying for?! Maybe this is why it’s so tough to hire a marketer.

The latter challenge was pay – firms who deemed themselves “competitive” were 20% below my minimum acceptable salary. Timing the compensation discussion could make or break the deal.

Know Thy Worth

Best practices in salary negotiation involve having a minimum acceptable, target, and reach compensation. I would ask for the range between target and reach, knowing most places probably fall between them.

Based on quotes previous employers had given me, I knew what was appropriate, commendable, or downright deplorable. Thinking about the total compensation package, salary could rise or fall based on benefits including insurance, equity, and vacation time.

Resources like Salary.com make it easy to look up median income levels for specific job titles based on city. It’s employer-reported, so you don’t have to worry about angry ex-employers posting their salaries haphazardly.

I also read a lot about the gender pay gap. It exists, it’s a problem, and I felt compelled to do my part to close it. That was a huge motivating factor. If you’re nervous about asking for even more money, read how Anna Marie negotiated for an addition $15k at Yammer.

Now listen to Nike and just do it.

My dilemma was when to broach the money issue. For some firms, the salary range at entry level was unmovable. If I waited until a later interview to ask for their range, they wouldn’t be able to match my request and we both would have wasted a lot of time.

Others had some negotiating opportunity, but if I asked too early, I risked making money the priority before establishing why I might be the right candidate.

If employers post the range with the job listing, this problem would be solved. And guess what? This could be put into effect in 2016 in Massachusetts. Contact your rep directly to improve pay transparency. 2 minutes to fairer compensation.

The Interview

Sitting in front of a hiring manager, recruiter, or CEO is like customer service – you get feedback really damn quick. From their eyes glancing towards your resume to their glazed over look as you speak, you learn what holds their attention and what’s missing the mark.

These were my top answers to have at the ready before every meeting:

  • What you want

“Product-market fit, a leadership team I can learn form, and the opportunity to have a hands-on impact with company projects”

  • Your weaknesses – and your solutions

“I can be too much of a perfectionist and devote too much time to a task, so I like to over-communicate deadlines. I’m chronically late so I set my clocks back five minutes. If something isn’t going well for me, I hesitate to speak up in case the issue resolves itself. In the meantime, I like to maintain regular meetings with my manager to keep communication open.”

  • How to explain your last exit

“I loved my role there and was really proud of the work I did to build that company. There were a lot of leadership changes. Those brought culture shifts, and I didn’t see the opportunity to learn at the same pace going forward”

  • Why you want to work here

“I’m interested in learning from people with a breadth of experience in digital marketing, I’m seeking experience at the enterprise level, and there is opportunity for professional growth here.”

I also like to remember that I’m interviewing them as much as, if not more than they’re interviewing me. Here are my favorite questions to put the interviewer on the hot seat:

  • What quality or skill do you expect candidates to have that you often see lacking in this role?
  • What’s the challenge that you’re really grappling with when you sit down at your desk every morning at 9AM?
  • Why did you join [this company]?

How they answer these questions not only tells me a lot about them, but gives me some insight into if this is a fit.

One firm was “upgrading their staff” and a lot of turnover was about to happen. Another wasn’t sure what it wanted in a marketer. The interview is supposed to be the honeymoon stage, so red flags are not to be ignored.

How to Find the Jobs

Recruiting is big business. I found niche sites had more tailored job boards and the larger sites had a greater variety of titles and industries. Here were my top sources, just to name a few:

A secret gem are email alerts. Receive them daily, weekly, or monthly. They show you the newest postings and help you keep tabs on gigs that haven’t been filled. My favorite is Hireable – their emails are well-designed and the jobs are up-to-date.

Leveraging a network I’d built over college, I reached out to a handful of contacts and received some amazing advice. One friend was kind enough to give me a thorough critique of my resume and cover letter. She made them a lot stronger. Another put in my name at some big firms. The generosity of people to extend a hand is truly humbling.

Where did I find my job? Indeed.com. The very place I least expected.

How Not to Hack the Job Hunt

A story so good, it deserved a post of its own. Let’s just say Snapchat, AdWords, and landing pages aren’t always the right combination to score an interview.

The Job

Well, I made it. Offer signed and on the table. How’d that happen?

I found the gig via Indeed. During a phone interview with the recruiter a few days later, our salaries aligned and my experience fit the job description.

Following a phone interview with my future manager, I was invited for an in-person interview. After almost two hours meeting with the HR coordinator, my future manager, the Director of Marketing, and the VP of Marketing, I left there feeling hopeful.

The offer came through shortly thereafter, at the top of my reach salary. It was too good to turn away. What almost felt better than having the job was not having to job hunt anymore.

The Falling Action

Boston is a really small town. I can walk across downtown in 45 minutes. This means I’ve met the people they hired for the jobs I applied to. Without admitting that I sought after their job, I learned the reasons why they scored the position:

  1. They had a different expertise
    Even if the position didn’t explicitly say they needed certain experience, it was the selling characteristic
  2. They knew somebody
    … who knew somebody. It’s about who you know, not what you know in some cases.
  3. You pay for the talent you get
    A particular position low-balled salary and I’ve since learned that hire hasn’t been a great fit. Good talent knows their worth.

What I Would Change

In future job hunts, I’ll start by asking within my professional network. Job boards have a very low success rate compared to friends (or friends of friends).

I’d narrow my requirements. As you can see from the vast range of titles, I was open to many positions. In hindsight, perhaps too many. Limiting my focus may have produced more fruitful results earlier on in the search.

Keep an eye on my benchmarks. Now I know the approximate conversion rates. If the number of applications skyrockets again, I’ll pause to reevaluate how my resumes represent my work.

Salary negotiation takes practice. Waiting until the in-person interview gives the advantage that you can prove your worth and show that compensation isn’t a primary motive.

Starting from a position of employment also means I can be more selective in my next job change. There’s a clearer vision of what I’ll look for professionally and how I’ll begin a search.

That’s the story of how I landed to my 9-5. I send a weekly newsletter of my interests 5-9.
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More Than A Marketer

Hi, I’m Amanda.I’m a marketer by day, but a lot more outside of that. And I find what I do 5-9 influences what I do 9-5.

Instead of sticking my favorite reads into Evernote for my eyes only, I thought I’d share them with people who want a little more out of their inbox.

Every week, your inbox will get a dose of favorite reads, handy tools, and analytical articles.



If I met you in person, you’d get a high five, and maybe I’d challenge you to a cartwheel contest. I’m just happy you’re here 🙂

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