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I've been looking for a job for the last couple of weeks as a Junior Growth Hacker (or similar job title). However, as I have no experience working as one, it's hard to prove my worth.

I have a couple of years of experience doing SEO and PPC consulting, and I'm also a Certified Web Analyst (by Market Motive). I can also handle HTML/CSS, Excel, A/B testings, SQL querying, plus I'm learning to code in Ruby.

What else do you think it's needed to land a Junior Growth Hacker job? What other skills would you recommend someone like me who's trying to "get in the game"? And if I can't make the specific job of a Junior Growth Hacker, what other similar jobs would you recommend me to focus on?

  • AU

    Aaron Upright

    almost 5 years ago #

    Hey Ivan! I was the one who started that original thread that @everette shared, so I'm eager to jump in and help out here! Aside from all of the connections that I made through posting that and getting involved here in the GH community, my two biggest takeaways were:

    1) Start writing/keep writing - It's a great practice to get into for several different reasons. It can help you formulate your thoughts, test and validate ideas that you might have, and seek out feedback. I hadn't written much at the time when I originally posted, but since, I've been trying put pen to paper as often as I can. I've been published twice now since August on some pretty high profile blogs in Canada (where I live) which have been great talking points in interviews and job applications.

    2) Be willing to prove yourself - hiring a growth hacker/head of growth can be a difficult thing for a company these days. If you can't bring a proven track record of results to the table (not many people can at this stage in their career) than be willing to go out and prove yourself. This might mean taking an internship, part-time role, or consulting gig at first in order to get your feet wet and get some experience. I made the mistake of targeting large-scale companies early on in my job search so I naturally ran into the problem of never having enough experience. Once I adjusted my search and focused on smaller roles I had a lot more success.

    Good luck on your job hunt, hope I could help!

    • GS

      Gregory Schnese

      almost 5 years ago #

      +1 for #2. Find a blog, startup, side project, etc. that you've created or already exists and help them grow it. Almost everyone will accept free/cheap help here. Once you have a few successes, then you're off to the races!

    • IK

      Ivan Kreimer

      almost 5 years ago #

      Thanks Aaron for the kind words. I completely agree with what you say.

      Writing is super important nowadays, it's almost like an equivalent of GitHub for non-programmers. I'm already writing a blog (http://ivankreimer.com/), in which I share my thoughts on becoming a growth hacker.

      I also need to lower my expectations a little bit and go for a smaller role for a while, so I can learn and prove my worth. This is I think the most important lesson I've got so far from this question.

      Again, thank you very much!

      • AU

        Aaron Upright

        almost 5 years ago #

        Always happy to help Ivan! In terms of your writing/blog try and change up the format of your content every once and a while. For example, try putting together a guide, whitepaper, e-book, or multi-part blog to switch things up. While these types of content often require more writing/work, they allow you to go into more detail and really demonstrate that you know the subject. From a readers perspective, there's usually a lot more actionable take-aways from these types of content compared to a normal blog post.

        Also, another important thing to consider when writing is where/how you are going to distribute your work. Right now you're just publishing on your personal blog, but if you want to start drawing more attention to yourself (and your work) you'll need to get creative. Why not create a slideshow to post on Slideshare or a video for Youtube? Start answering questions on Quora, Stackoverflow and pointing people back to your work as well!

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    almost 5 years ago #

    Thanks for posting the question Ivan. We've had a few discussions around this topic (I'll try to dig them up and post the link). A lot of the success in growth and marketing is based on soft skills.

    I hope you don't mind, but I'd essentially like to interview you through this AskGH (asking the same questions that I'd probably ask in an interview). I encourage others to jump in and ask questions too.

    Your answers might help you land the desired role. Here's three questions I'd start with:

    1. Why you think you'll be an effective growth hacker.
    2. Did you like your SEO and PPC consulting roles?
    3. Were you effective in your SEO and PPC roles? If so, why?'

    I'm sure I'll have follow up questions. Again, hopefully others will pile in with questions too.

    • ET

      Everette Taylor

      almost 5 years ago #

      Our most in-depth conversation around the subject that @sean is referring to I believe is this one: http://growthhackers.com/questions/ask-gh-how-can-i-land-an-entry-level-job-in-growth-marketing/

      Hope it helps!

    • IK

      Ivan Kreimer

      almost 5 years ago #

      Interesting questions, Sean. My answers would be:
      1. I'd be a great growth hacker because I'm extremely curious and passionate about startups, growth and online marketing. I've done SEO and PPC in the past as a consultant, and to be honest, it bored me. I want to do more, I want to make an impact and help a company grow. Also, as a college dropout and avid learner, I'm not only a growth hacker, but a LIFE hacker. I'm always thinking on ways to do things better and more effectively with the minimum input possible.
      2. I did like them, but as I said, they ended up boring me. Specially because here in Argentina the companies don't need the level of SEO that you'll find in the US. They simply want a very basic type of SEO, even a black-hat one. They don't care, which really annoyed me. Again, if I'm going to do SEO and PPC, it has to make an impact on the company overall, and it has to be done well.
      3. I think I was. I did positioned my clients, and help them increase their traffic while lowering their costs. However, I must say I worked mostly with small clients, so my experience is managing small campaigns. Still, I feel confident I know how to develop and manage SEO and PPC campaigns. It's just a matter of exposure. If I have to manage bigger campaigns, I can do it perfectly.

      I hope I've answered your questions, Sean. Thanks a lot for asking them on the first place.

      If anyone have more questions to ask me, please don't be shy and ask them.

  • MB

    Morgan Brown

    almost 5 years ago #

    Ivan,

    Can you explain 1) how you'd go about evaluating a potential channel for growth and 2) how you'd devise a plan for using that channel?

    • IK

      Ivan Kreimer

      almost 5 years ago #

      Morgan, great questions.

      1. To evaluate a potential channel I'd start analyzing their current acquisition strategy, and what other companies in the space have done to acquire their users. After that initial and basic analysis, I'd use something like the Bullseye Framework, where I'd put all the different growth channels, and choose those that can be used given their costs, feasibility, and the analysis previously mentioned. The more information I've got to analyze a channel for that specific company and vertical, the better.
      2. It depends a lot on the channel. There are channels that I have experience with, and some that I don't. There are channels that can be managed and strategizied alone, and others that requiere a team. For example, I could devise an SEO/PPC plan by myself, whereas planning on doing Biz Dev or a more offline channel would imply a team of more specialized people.

      I feel like I'm not answering the last question very well, maybe you could be more specific, or ask me more questions to dig in. Can you, @morgan?

      • JE

        Jason Ephraim

        almost 5 years ago #

        I hope you don't mind me butting in since the question was for @ivankreimer, but I'd love to take this one as well. Please let me know if I am way off base, as well!:
        1. To evaluate a potential channel for growth, I always first build 5-8 user profiles. I generate classifications based around demographics and characteristics of the of the types of people who would use the service in any capacity (free trial, long term, multiple purchases, etc). If it's not a brand new service I will segment existing customers into these classifications. These have the benefit of allowing me to assign LTV and CPA figures to each. I'd then research channels based on each classification's behavior. Are they social media active? Do they use apps? Do they use google or bing?. I try to look for the most specific details I can from these groups and their behavior that might lead them to the service. I also pay particular attention to those groups that have proven to have a greater ROI, social presence, and affluence. I then draw a diagram with all the main channel points going through each funnel for each demographic, trickling all the way down to acquisition (lots of color coding). I then look for commonalities among as many of the groups as I can find, or "hubs". I target channels with the greatest degree of commonality. This way, I either work on a channel with the greatest volume of potential customers or I work on one that has the potential to attract many more users likely to use the service themselves. After working in the medical industry for awhile, I also have a few "break points" I I guess you could say I use the ground-up approach.
        2. Using my information above, I first look at if this single channel can be optimized. I then look at the other "hubs" to determine optimal focal points for incorporating into the growth strategy. This usually leads to 1-2 main channels with 3-5 common hubs. The plan is then how to generate exposure in these hubs by leveraging those that enter through the main channel.

        • JE

          Jason Ephraim

          almost 5 years ago #

          I guess I should explain "break points". There are many services that might prevent growth strategies from working in certain channels. For example, although they are avid social media users, teenagers aren't likely to help promote an acne treatment they want to use, regardless of reward. These might not often come up in general marketing but as I deal in medical a lot, they are very important to keep in mind.

  • JE

    Jason Ephraim

    almost 5 years ago #

    Thank you so much Ivan for bringing this topic up!

    I would be really interested in this information too. I have skills along the same lines as Ivan, though I am more SEM/SEO and less Programming.

    I've implemented a few growth hacking techniques, but I want to do so much more. Unfortunately, my company is locked (albeit, successfully performing) in healthcare.

    This severely limits the sort of techniques that I can implement due to both client approval and user privacy. I really want to get some experience in a more "growth hacker" friendly atmosphere.

    Unfortunately, most of the positions I find for growth hacking require experience in startups or SaaS specifically. Any suggestions on a course of action?

    I really think I have what it takes to succeed at growth hacking as my main responsibility. Today on Twitter, I was compelled to point out I thought it was weird that HelloBar didn't implement a social referral program rewarding participants with a membership discount/credit at CrazyEgg.

    I appreciate any help you can offer. Thanks growth hackers!

    • SE

      Sean Ellis

      almost 5 years ago #

      Strange how people pigeon hole your skills based on your existing role. I had this problem after five years running growth for a game company. Recruiters all told me that they didn't know any gaming companies that were hiring. I explained that I'm not a gamer, just fascinated with growth. Eventually I found opportunities outside of games, but it's crazy how much value people put on vertical experience. Growth is not that different between verticals!

      • JE

        Jason Ephraim

        almost 5 years ago #

        It really is, and speaking of vertical. I continue to be amazed by the stark differentiation many employers on horizontal versus vertical growth. I work for clients who prefer improved ROI and gradual growth (to be able to scale). It's weird to me that helping 20 medium-sized companies grow 20% seems less impressive to employers than helping one large client grow 50%. I'd think proven consistency would be a more reliable metric than large vertical growth in one instance?

  • SK

    Sieva Kozinsky

    almost 5 years ago #

    StudySoup is hiring shoot us an e-mail at info@studysoup.com :) We're in 500Startups right now!

  • MG

    Matt Gill

    almost 5 years ago #

    I was in the same position a couple of years ago, and there are a few of things that helped me both contextualize a lot of the concepts I was learning about, and aided in deciding where I really wanted to focus and what I found interesting about business building.

    IMO, growth is hugely multi-faceted and understanding the environment is really important. As Sean has said, growth is industry agnostic. But developing an understanding of how the industry works is hugely important. Growth may be industry agnostic, in that it is necessary, but you won't be really effective unless you understand the industry and how tactics might apply. Tactics for growth in enterprise is not necessarily the same as tactics for growth in consumer.

    So when you don't have the experience, you need to gain experience on your own. To truly grasp the application of concepts, I created lists of startups that I was interested in. Not because they were hot or were developing serious traction, but because I found the vision compelling, or they aligned with my personal passions and interest.

    For each of the startups on my list, I researched and developed a concept of how the operations worked, who the likely customer segments were, where adoption had been, and gleaned as many insights from interviews, articles, product pages, etc as I could. I would also sign-up for newsletters or content, in the hopes that someone from sales would reach out, and then I'd fill in gaps by asking questions. The end game here is to understand the business, so you can understand how channels are/could be utilized.

    I then worked out the most likely challenges. What issues would be faced, what the barriers to execution, adoption, retention might be, etc. Basically ripped apart the models. Startups are struggle, defeating issues and barriers as they arise in order to survive. At this point, I had a degree of understanding on how the business worked, understood appropriate channels and how they might be used, and what the obstacles would be. It's almost like I'm in the trenches with the folks who are actually executing this. AND, All of this helped me focus on a handful of companies where I knew I aligned with the vision.

    This is where my actions might be controversial, and it certainly isn't something you should for every company.

    I wrote a politely worded, but somewhat scathing pain letter to the company.

    They were pre-launch, financially constrained, but we started a dialogue because I had a real understanding of what they were doing, and instead of pitching and explaining the concept, we were quickly talking about execution. And when I got an offer, it wasn't in marketing. They gave me Ops and paid me what they could afford. I accepted, and I ran the Ops team until I left for a different opportunity about 2 years later. But when UA and Growth became necessary capabilities, I was the guy - I knew the customers (demand), I knew the users (supply), I understood where conversion issues were and why, and the company trusted me to lead national rollout. And I did well!

    I agree with the other comments: You need experience. Offer to work for free, or don't offer, just do it to aid your own understanding. Tactics are tools, and places like GH are toolboxes. But until you understand that hammers are meant for nails, and screwdrivers are meant for screws, it's hard to optimize your swing of the hammer.

  • DM

    demetrius michael

    almost 5 years ago #

    +1 @sean on soft skills.

    If you want a job, just give a lot of value specific to the company you want to work with as your resume. No one will run away with your great ideas, usually people will be impressed by them. What's really great is that the companies you'll be happiest working with would gladly pay you to implement them.

    It's also hard to be a rockstar if you're not confident in yourself. Be awesome :)

    • JE

      Jason Ephraim

      almost 5 years ago #

      @dem_z I recently tried this applying for a growth hacking position at buffer and I was worried that maybe my elevator pitch style application was inappropriate. I sent them 3 ideas that cover paid marketing combined with product rebranding, conversion optimization, and a pure growth hacking technique. I didn't get the job, and the feedback was boilerplate so I was concerned maybe this wasn't the best way to go about things. Thanks for making me feel a bit more comfortable with how I went about it!

      (if your curious, I first pitched restructuring the onboarding so that you get people to post and fill up their buffer first and then get them to attach an account. Then I suggested rebranding the "buffer for business" as "buffer for teams". Lastly, I proposed "Workday Montage" - a video contest for "teams" from other companies to enter clips of their staff dressed in 80's style clothing performing day to day tasks and auto-mix them with public domain synth-rock to develop a yearly competition, entry subject to them entering into a free trial and using social sharing numbers as a way to decide the winners. I tried to hit various aspects of their business. Admittedly,The last Idea is the most growth hacker-sh, but it can be hard to develop ideas from the outside looking in.)

      • DM

        demetrius michael

        almost 5 years ago #

        You can be surprised how deep you can be after using a product for a couple of hours. You also get an added advantage of having fresh eyes on the big picture.

        Buffer has great mentors, and they already do great hacks. I'm sure they've had 1000's of applications to go through. I wouldn't stress too much on that.

        When applying, I would focus more on things that are easy for them to connect the dots on, scales well, and deeply contextual with their product offering.

        Things like (note: these are things they already do):

        Marketing:
        - Their URL shortener was a great hack. Every time someone tweets a link, they get free marketing. It's free, easy to implement, and scales with their customer base.

        Product (say the goal is to scale the number of user actions within the platform):
        - Browser extensions to 'buffer' the page you're on.
        - Overlaying every tweet / post with your icon, so you can 'buffer' those later as well.
        - Giving auto-suggested articles to buffer to your friends.
        etc

        Of course, going deep into why they're important and how they'll dial the numbers is critical too.

  • DP

    Daniel Prol Pérez

    almost 5 years ago #

    Love your answer Ivan !

  • MI

    Milan Ilic

    almost 5 years ago #

    I just wanted to say hi and join this great topic. I previously worked at ManageWP as GH, but for some reasons I had to leave that job and focus on some other things in my life. Now, I want to continue my career as GH in SaaS business, but there is no opportunities in my country from Balkan. Few great startups from around here are looking for seniors and I am not experienced enough for them. I don't feel fulfilled with other jobs and I'll not give up from doing what makes me happy. From your perspective, are the companies willing to hire a full time GH from other side of the World?

    • JS

      Jit Salunke

      almost 5 years ago #

      I do think they are quite a bit of companies which are cool with remote people as long as you can create enough value.
      I remotely work with two startups. Interestingly none of them explicitely mentioned:
      1. They are cool with remote people
      2. They are looking for someone to join
      I just reached out around 10 startups I liked and offered to work for free. One was actually looking for help in marketing and I was in. One month later, it turned out in paid contract. The other one came via referral.
      This can work with you as well, just offer to work for free first and add enough value that the startup will be comfortable to pay you.

      • SF

        Steven Fitzsimmons

        almost 5 years ago #

        This is solid advice. I routinely reach out to companies & apply even if they aren't explicitly looking for someone to join. Worst case scenario you begin a dialogue. Best case, you're in before they get hundreds of resumes thrown at them from the job posting.

      • IK

        Ivan Kreimer

        almost 5 years ago #

        This is SO cool. What you did reminds me of the Recession Proof Graduate (http://recessionproofgraduate.com/). I've done something like you say in the past, and I've got to say it works. But I never thought on applying for jobs even if they aren't looking for a marketing job, neither if they specify they want a remote worker (like me). I'll do it!

        Thank you so much Jit!

        • JS

          Jit Salunke

          almost 5 years ago #

          Yeah, we tend to put too many criterias ourselves that we loose lot of good opportunities :-)

          Best of luck!

      • JE

        Jason Ephraim

        almost 5 years ago #

        Thanks for the tip. I've been looking mostly along the lines of a new career, but this makes a lot of sense. Any resources you could recommend on where to look?

        • JS

          Jit Salunke

          almost 5 years ago #

          I guess Angelist, Weworkremotely are good place to start with. Also better way is to read more and more about the area you are really interested to work in and you will definitely endup finding startups in that area.

          • JE

            Jason Ephraim

            almost 5 years ago #

            Thanks for the info @jitsalunke!

          • SF

            Steven Fitzsimmons

            almost 5 years ago #

            Angellist is a really great resource. Twitter as well (tip: build Twitter lists). I've also found Hacker News to yield some particularly good results (I've gotten two full time offers from HN despite being mostly non-technical).

      • MI

        Milan Ilic

        almost 5 years ago #

        Thank you very much for the advice. I'll give it a try, definitely. :)

  • AP

    Appah Prince

    almost 5 years ago #

    @morgan that is a really good question you ask.
    I think there are many ways to answer this question, So can you provide an answer as to how you would do it? I think that would benefit the community.

  • MC

    Matthew Capala

    almost 5 years ago #

    Great conversation, if I were back in my tweenties or just out of school I would totally want a Growth Hacker career. I would say there is only one requirement to get a job - SHOW THAT YOU BUILT SOMETHING. A lot of people want growth hacking jobs, but they have nothing to show. Growth hacking is about startups, which means that you need to show you can build something, because if they hire you that's what you gotta do. Anything. Show Twitter followers. Big presence on Quora pr Reddit. Free ebook. Email list. Website with traffic. Blog with audience. If you cannot show any of those things, I would not be interested in looking any resume or speaking with you. But it's just me, and it's not applicable to every situation.

    The best way to get a growth hacking job - in my view - is to identify 5 startups you want to work for, look at their websites, and send them 10 growth hacking ideas you could do if they hire to grow their business. It's about the value you bring, and not so much about your last internship or transferable skills. Forget about sending resumes, growth hacking jobs are not on Monster (or are they?)

    Hope it's helpful. Get my free ebook (AwayWithAverage.com) if you want to learn how to get ahead of the pack on the job market through growth hacking your 'own' brand to be choose the career you want.

    I am also sharing this with my NYU students. Tons of good advice here.
    Cheers

  • SC

    Steven Chabot

    almost 5 years ago #

    I know this is GH, but what traditional skills are you beyond technical skills?

    A lot of "growth hacking" is just "marketing" supported data.

    Anyway, I got my current job at a startup by showing off lots of PR and marketing copywriting, supported by my previous job managing communications for a small non-profit agency.

    I don't have your skills in SQL and Ruby. But I write email and landing page copy *all day*.

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