Use This Tactic To Get Your Dream Job Or Internship

Let’s face it. No one gets lucky and gets their dream job or career. There has to be some form of preparation towards it.

I often get asked by friends how I landed my internships and always have offers on the table.

You need to know what you want to learn.

The tactic to get the job you want is to look at job descriptions of roles you see yourself in.

In my case I want to learn about growth and lead generation.

I use a job board like ventureloop to search relevant positions.

Below is an example of one I found:

how to get your dream job

The job description literally tells you what you need to know to get that position. What a concept!

Now, how do you get these skills? If you’re a college student, spend time interning at companies that will let you manage projects that will help acquire these skills.

You can also offer to do free projects for cash strapped startups or small businesses.

By the time you’re ready to graduate you will be prepared to get your dream job.

I’m always browsing around looking at job descriptions to make sure I’m updated with the current skills.

If you want to be the best at what you do, this is how you make sure that you’re upto date with your skills.

21 Things I Learned At 21

Every birthday is a moment of self reflection for me. I turned 21 on June 12 so I wanted to ink some big learnings.

1. If you try to make everyone happy, you will end up making no one happy.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask. Worst case is you will get a no. But if it’s a yes, the upside is much higher.

3. It’s okay to fail. It’s the best way to learn.

4. Experience builds confidence.

5. Get a couple mentors. They’ve been in your shoes before and will have a different perspective you might not have thought about.

6. Everything is a numbers game. The more you try, the more your chances of succeeding.

7. Never burn bridges. Do the opposite of what you would do in that scenario. It shows maturity.

8. Stop stressing. It doesn’t make you perform any better. Instead it will make you feel worse.

9. Optimism is an unfair advantage.

10. No one is going to come hand you things. If you want something, go work for it.

11. It’s not always about what you know, it’s about who you know.

12. Haters will hate. That actually means you’re doing something right. People will talk trash about you and that’s inevitable.

13. You’re the average of the 5 people you hang out with. Pick your friends wisely.

14. You don’t have to drink to be cool. Be yourself and people will respect it.

15. *Never* forget the people who were there for you in the tough times.

16. Be open to change. Life can throw you in different situations and you need to adapt quickly.

17. Always ask for feedback. It’s how you improve yourself.

18. Don’t beat yourself over a wrong decision or failure. It’s never you, it’s the circumstances.

19. Get obsessed about what you want to get good at, whether it’s your job, hobby or a new skill.

20. If you want to achieve something, you will have to make sacrifices whether its social life or video games.

21. Never stop learning :)

What It Actually Feels Like Before Success

I wonder if all successful people had those moments.

Moments of insecurity, struggle, and pushing yourself every night that you’ll figure out something the next day.

There are no clear ways to getting what you want.

You want to yell “that’s BS” every time you read about some guy on INC magazine or Techcrunch who became a millionaire overnight.

They make it seem as if they knew exactly what they were doing. BS.

Turning down work offers that could pay you $$ so you can work towards doing something you like.

It’s hard to explain this to others. You don’t want to tell your friends about anything unless you are making money.

Deep inside all your friends don’t really know much about your ambition until that one day when you become successful.

This is the struggle train. Million thoughts racing in your head.

You keep doing things hoping one of your moves works.

You keep being persistent because what if you give up right before it was going to work.

Is this what it *actually* feels like before achieving success?

Bank Those 100 People

I want to be liked. We all do. In fact “belonging” is part of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Being liked by everyone was a big deal for me. I could never stand that thought of someone not liking me.

But a few months ago when I turned 20, reality hit me.

I realized that there’s no possibility that every person I meet is going to like me. The truth is that you will click with some people and you just won’t with some.

A few incidents forced me to change.

Few friends and acquaintances I used to be close with faded away. I tried to find reasons but failed.

I couldn’t get on the same wavelength of one of the co-founders for a startup I worked with.

Most recently I wrote a blog post to stand up for young people and tell employers to understand them. A popular marketer I mentioned in the post decided to turn the topic on its head. His fans wrote lots of interesting responses to say the least. I almost didn’t sleep that night looking at them.

It bugs the hell out of me if someone gets even remotely upset with me. Then I end up wasting a lot energy thinking about it which results in stress. But I’m trying to change that.

As they say, “What people think of you is none of your business.”

Of course I will try to find the reason when someone is upset and apologize if it’s my fault but if it’s not clear, I’ll try to move on.

Though I may not be a huge fan of Paul Graham, I’ve decided to take one of his product advice and use it in my personal life: “It’s better to have 100 people love you than a 1000 people sort of like you.”

Om Malik’s grandfather told him: “Don’t bank money, bank people.”

I heard the quote recently and just couldn’t get it out of my head. I’ve always valued people and relationships more than money but that quote cemented that thought.

So my goal is to bank those 100 people. I know I’ve got two aka my parents. That’s a start.

None of this means that I’m going to be a snob and say “I am who I am” and “Haters gonna hate.” I am constantly trying to grow as a person and a professional.

Constructive criticism is always welcome and I always love to ask for feedback to improve myself.

What I will stop caring about is if someone mistakes my honest nature for being arrogant.

What I will stop caring about is if someone doesn’t like my writing. I write from the heart. Hey you might not like this post and that’s completely acceptable.

I obviously won’t be keeping an actual list of 100 people that love me but I hope to get to that number through helping, writing, my project, sticking to my values, accepting mistakes, taking a stand, and being myself ;)

p.s Tweet me your thoughts @thesmitpatel

Self Awareness: It Can Make or Break You

I love music. I’d love to rock the stage like Jay-Z but I can’t. I’m self aware that I will never be Jay-Z so I don’t aspire to be him. But….I do have the skills to aspire to be the next Neil Patel (even our last names are the same ;) ).

When you’re young, your parents send you to play soccer and learn piano like every kid in the neighborhood. Apart from 3-4 kids, chances are most of you sucked at both and yet parents sent you there.

OK Smit, what are you trying to say?

Stop doing things which you aren’t going to be one of the best at.

Just because the average surgeon makes 6 figures or the average engineer gets a cushy job easily doesn’t mean you will be one of them. For every Jobs and Zuckerberg, there’s a million failed ones. Why? Because they thought they could do it too without realizing what their strengths are.

Self awareness can make or break you. If you are self aware, you will realize what you’re good at and not so good at. Being true to yourself will push you in the right direction.

It is the reason I decided not to become an engineer like most of my fellow Indians. I tried my hand at coding and quickly realized that that I couldn’t become the best at it because I was never an arithmetic or logic type of a guy. I was always on the creative and tactical side so I focused my energies on what I could become good at: marketing and business development.

Lying to yourself about what you’re good at will take you down the wrong path where the end result will be failure from the day you begin. But…you can make money even by sharpening pencils if you are the best at it.

Why I’m Excited About the Twitter IPO

If you read my blog posts, it should come as no surprise how bullish I’m on Twitter.

Today Twitter announced (via a tweet of course) that they’ve filed for an IPO and I couldn’t be more pumped. Here’s why:

  • Twitter is the future of news: Being a Bostonian, I saw the power of Twitter first hand during the Marathon bombings. I knew about the bombing through Twitter at least 20-30 minutes before any news channel had “rumors” about it. Not only that, people from around the globe could keep tabs on the event by following the Police and Boston citizens on Twitter. Stranded marathon attendees received shelter offered by Bostonians because of a widespread form on Twitter. We all know about the part Twitter played to accelerate the revolution in Egypt. Heck, even CNN came to know about the raid on Osama through a tweet by a Pakistani citizen. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Twitter is slowly going to replace news channels because of its speed and widespread distribution i.e over 200 million users.
  • Twitter is creating a job market: Social media has disrupted the way businesses do marketing and Twitter is a big part of it. It’s allowed businesses to connect with consumers like never before. That has opened up a whole new market for “social media” jobs. Just a quick search on Indeed shows almost 40,000 social media related jobs in the US alone. Very few companies make an impact such that they become means for people to make money and get jobs. Not to forget the 1000 jobs that Twitter has also created by hiring it’s employees.
  • Twitter is connecting the world: Facebook may have have over a billion users but you are rarely going to connect with strangers on Facebook. On the other hand, Twitter has opened up the opportunity for strangers to connect, learn from each other, and make new friends. Whether you have ten, hundreds or thousands of followers, it’s mind boggling that you can connect with people you might have never been able to connect otherwise. Yesterday a follower of mine tweeted this to me and I was so humbled. I’m not sharing this to show off or to brag about myself. It just blew my mind that I could make an impact on someone who I don’t know only because they follow me on Twitter. It wouldn’t have happened if Twitter hadn’t existed.

There have been enough praises of Twitter as a product but these are my two cents on the Twitter IPO. If you believe what I said, go buy some Twitter stock when its public because a few tweets can even move billions on Wall Street ;)

Quora = Distribution Goldmine

As a marketer or entrepreneur, you always need to be looking for new distribution channels to take advantage of.

Quora is a new channel which I believe has great potential especially from a thought leadership standpoint.

It might not be the right channel for every market so let me show you the easiest way to see how to find market size for your company on Quora.

Let’s say you sell a product or service for dogs. Go on Quora. On the right you will see a box to type a question.

quora marketing

 

Go on the “topic” box and type keywords related to your market.

quora marketing channel

 

Here I’ve typed “dogs” and it estimates a reach of over 26,000. That is the number of people who follow the topic “dogs” on Quora.

A scrappy marketer will look at that and realize that it’s a free channel worth experimenting on. Getting onto a platform early has its payoffs.

So what can you do to take advantage of Quora?

Find questions related to your market and answer them. To get traffic back, you can link to any relevant content from your website in the answer.

Remember: Don’t be too salesy but instead focus on providing real insight and becoming a thought leader.

Startup Ideas: The Billion Dollar Misconception

99% of startups fail and yet we still love to increase our chances of failure. We are surrounded by the misconception that if you want to start a company, it’s got to be a billion dollar company. NO!

The people who are telling you to do that are large VC firms who want to make lot of money.

Entrepreneurs who have done it also tell others to chase big startup ideas. But guess what? On day 1, even they didn’t know that they were starting billion dollar companies.

Are you telling me that Zuck knew he was creating a multi-billion dollar company? BS. Are you telling me that Jack Dorsey knew he was a creating a multi-billion dollar company? BS.

But wait! What about Elon Musk? He’s created not 1 but 3 billion dollar companies! If you really look carefully, he’s actually picked existing markets which were inefficient for various reasons and innovated on the product and marketing. Electric cars? They were around in the 90′s but got withdrawn due to conspiracy. Tesla brought them back by making them sleek and hopefully making them cheaper. Rockets? Elon figured out how to make rockets cheaper and better than NASA.

Look at this short rant by Dave McClure on how everything sucks about the food industry as an example.

To start is the hardest part. When you tell a 20 year old or anyone who wants to start a business that they need to create a billion dollar company, you are already setting them up for failure.

You cannot get to a billion without getting to a 100 million. And you cannot get to a 100 million without getting to 1 million.

Is working on 3d printing bad? Absolutely not. It’s probably much easier to find a niche market or one that has been dominated by dinosaur companies where you can out innovate them with better marketing, product and lower costs.

Most important is to actually start. You will be highly afraid chasing a billion dollar idea from day 1. But if you chase a 1 million dollar idea, your chances of success are going to be much higher.

You might say “Hey Smit, that’s not thinking big!” Reality is, that it’s equally hard to chase a 1 million dollar idea as it is to chase the billion dollar idea. Sure the challenges might be different but you will still need an intense work ethic and drive. Only difference is your chances of success will be slightly higher.

I’m not by any means saying that you don’t need to be passionate. You still need to have a vision for even a 1 million dollar company.

Stop listening to the noise and start something achievable first. It will build up your confidence. And no one said you can’t start a second company after succeeding with the first one. Maybe that can be the billion dollar one  = )

People Are The Biggest Marketing Distribution Channel

There isn’t a bigger marketing distribution channel than people.

Most people are stuck on attracting visitors. Very few focus on delighting. While SEO and other online channels may bring you traffic, remember people are still the best distribution channel.

Take social media for example. Who’s behind a Twitter handle or Facebook account? A human being. Back in the day “Word of Mouth” was in person but now is on the internet or social media. It’s still people who will spread the word about your company or brand. To put it in perspective, Twitter and Facebook have a more than a billion users combined.

So how do you delight them?

Have a great product or service! This is a no brainer. The easiest way to delight a customer is to give them something that makes their life better.

Write great content! If you go on inbound.org, you will find that the majority of posts are about SEO. Stop focusing on “hacking” SEO to improve your ranking but instead, focus on writing great content with SEO in mind.

Engage! Twitter and LinkedIn are still underutilized resources. Whether it’s search.twitter.com or LinkedIn groups, you’re missing out on huge opportunities to engage with your customer or potential customers.

Provide great customer service! As unappealing as it may seem, customer support is an amazing way to win the hearts of people. Don’t believe me? Listen to the folks over at HelpScout and read their ebook on customer service.

The job of a marketer has always been to communicate how a product or service can help a person. Somehow in the age of internet marketing, we’ve forgotten that behind the internet are people.

People, Not Software

Marc Andreessen says “Software is eating the world.” As a tech and startup junkie, I used to agree with Marc but I realized that business is still about people.

Think of a few key parts of your business:

Hiring: Software doesn’t hire. People do.

Employees: Business is all about the team. Sure software will help you make your business processes efficient but you will still need human beings to think of ideas and execute. You will need a human being to think of code to create software.

Marketing: While saas companies might not always need a sales team, marketing is what will get the customer to click. Today’s marketing involves channels such as content, social media, etc. On the other end of a twitter handle is a human being, making your brand feel human. Blog posts are not written by software, they are written by marketers. Their words and personality get your customer to fill out a form or buy your product.

Customers: In the new age of Inbound Marketing (which I really believe in), you generate leads online. But who are the leads? They are people! To actually make the sale, you still need a person to call the lead who is human as well. Sometimes a saas company might not need to call them but the person clicking “buy” is human not a computer.

So why am I going ra-ra about this? As someone who’s passionate about business and marketing, I see the world becoming more software and data driven. While that’s great, I’m afraid that a lot of people are running after vanity metrics and not realizing that the end user is still a human being.

What software has done is acted as a middleman that makes life easier. It has helped automate tasks and be more efficient. But at the end of the day, your end users are people, not software or computers.