Self education Kenny Soto

Creating Your Own Curriculum For Self-Education After College

“Knowing what you don’t know is more useful than being brilliant.”

 

Self-education changed my life

Let me preface this article with the story of how I am starting my career in digital marketing. I didn’t study marketing in college (besides that one elective course I took during my junior year). My major was in music theory and composition. The only reason I was able to jump into the marketing realm after graduation was because I took the liberty of supplementing my education with an internship that then developed into my own curriculum.

I will admit that none of this would have been possible if it weren’t for my mentor, Maurice Bretzfield. However, at the end of the day I had the understanding that the only person who was in charge of the trajectory of my career was me. And if I didn’t take the initiative to leverage the resources that all of us have at our disposal, I would still be looking for a job. More importantly, I would still be looking for a pathway to growth, that is designed by someone else.

Self-education means moving forward with calculated purpose

Most of us who undergo formal education have all learned how to follow systems. These systems help us to align our dreams and daily actions with the whole of society, making use accustomed to daily routines. One thing that is good about our formal education is that it helps us gain the core competencies needed to join the workforce and contribute to our communities. However, our current system of education is limiting us.

Graduating from the standard educational path of elementary school, high school, and then college is a good starting point but, we eventually have to take control of our intellectual and mental growth when becoming young professionals. In the age of information, we now have the ability to create our own curriculums and learn associative skills that increase our value. Curriculums that can further enhance our education and provide more control over the direction our careers take.

 

Being prepared as opportunities arise

Creating a curriculum of self-study can help you prepare for opportunities as they present themselves. There comes a time when a potential client or business partner will ask for help on a project and if you don’t have the necessary skills to execute on it—the opportunity will pass you by. We no longer have to give ourselves excuses when it comes to learning the necessary skills we need to have as we develop throughout our careers. Going back to school to supplement your education will always be an option but, this is no longer the only route one can take.

We now have the possibility of using the Internet to learn new skills that can increase our value for little to no cost. Online courses, networking events, and finding mentors online can be great substitutes to a formal education in graduate school. At the end of the day, people get paid to think. The more useful your thinking is to the right people, the more value you will gain throughout your career. Find people who are just as hungry for knowledge and spend as much time with them as you possibly can. Part of setting up your own curriculum is having partners that can hold you accountable over time.

Related: “People Get Paid To Think”

 

Learn how you learn best

The Internet is our best friend when wanting to learn something new. However, one can waste a lot their time if they do not know the most efficient way they can acquire knowledge. Understanding whether or not we combine several media formats such as audio, written, video, or physical practice is a vital step in self-education.

Personal resources I currently use are as follows:

Written content – For online resources, I use Medium and Feedly to organize my blog subscriptions. For physical books I have h a list of books I plan to buy on a Amazon on my wish list categorized by fiction, business, and law. The way I retain what I learn from each book is by cataloging my lessons as book reviews.

Podcasts – The podcast application I use is the one that comes with the Apple iPhone however a great alternative is the Stitcher app. Below is a list of my top podcasts:

Video – For video content I primarily use YouTube however, a new platform I’ve been using to educate myself using video content is the LinkedIn Learning Center, available to users with a premium subscription.

I mainly gravitate to reading for my education, the reason I know this is through the audit of my own performance in school. If I read something, I soak up the information faster. Also, and more importantly, it’s easier for me to find appropriate uses for the information I am acquiring. But everyone is different, and experimentation is critical.

Fitting self-education into your Daily schedule

No matter what your professional goals are in life, if they aren’t tied to tangible daily, monthly, and quarterly learning goals, you will hinder your growth. There is no reason why we can’t set aside, at the very least, 30 minutes each day dedicated to learning a new skill and learning new habits. Whenever we aspire to reach the next level in our career, we want to establish what necessary skills we need in order to get there. This becomes clearer if we also begin to consider how are we going to design a curriculum so that we can take charge of learning these skills.

If we don’t set realistic deadlines and self-examinations for the skills we need to acquire, we won’t get to where we need to go. Time management plays a significant role in this. Try to set some time aside to do an audit of how you’re spending your week. What urgent tasks do you usually tackle that aren’t immediately relevant? Think about things you can delegate, defer, and deny (saying no is an essential strategy in saving time). Once you have made space in your schedule to set aside for learning, start considering how you want to break up your curriculum. What are the several stages of learning the skills you want to obtain? What are reasonable time periods for achieving them (sometimes this can be as long as 4-5 years so take this into account)?

Related: Time Management: A 6-Step Guide For Millennials

You can reach out to any expert you want to learn from

Another tactic to consider, as you venture off into new avenues for personal growth, is seeking knowledge from those who have created their own paths. A way to do this with the smallest amount of effort needed (if you’re an avid reader) is to buy books from notable experts in your industry. However, I find this to be limiting if your only approach for learning from experts is to read their literature or to consume their content (videos and podcasts). We now have the ability to reach out to anyone we want to. There is nothing separating you from your idols and heroes.

If you are looking for mentorship, seek it out and start off small. Try reaching out to the top 100 industry experts and work your way up to the top. We use social media every day to connect with our friends and family, why not use it to connect with people who can point us in the right direction?

Sure you might not be able to get Evan Spiegel to reply to your tweet on starting a business, but with enough research and effort you can find his team members online and reach out to them. There is no excuse for you not to start creating conversations with other industry professionals. They are people just like you, and if you can find a way to make the conversation you are seeking valuable to both parties, you will win. But that comes from trial and error. Try to consider what criteria they use to determine whether or not the conversation may be of use to them. Ask yourself, “how do they qualify other people who ask them for their time?”

Creating your own curriculum for learning is difficult but, the effort taken in investing in your personal growth will pay tremendous dividends over time. Every notably successful person never stops learning, why should you?
The bottom line is, graduating from college is only the first step in your learning experience.

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surviving life after college kenny soto

5 Tips To Use When Surviving Life After College

Surviving Life After College Isn’t Easy

I recently started the journey of living life as a college graduate and one day something dawned on me. As I was in my room thinking about all of the hard lessons I had recently experienced I got the inspiration to create a series of articles logging the insights I’m getting to make life easier for anyone who is a recent college graduate or just someone starting their 20s. As time goes on, I’ll be creating separate articles on each of the subjects discussed below. I’d love your feedback in the comments section after reading this (or you can reach out to me on social media as well). The more feedback I get from you, my audience, the more useful these articles become!

Getting A Job: Using LinkedIn & Networking Events

  • LinkedIn

It’s the best platform to apply for jobs. With a click of a button, you can send over your profile and resume to countless organizations who are hiring. When I got my job at ThomasNet, I submitted 162 applications in a day to get the opportunity for an interview — all through LinkedIn. And that took me only an hour and a half to do.

  • Networking

Networking is essential to getting a job. While you’re prospecting online, don’t forget also to put yourself out there in the real world. Opportunities come from your network, and if you’re not growing it — you won’t have any opportunities presented to you. I still get freelance gigs offered to me on a monthly basis because when people think of someone who can help them with their social media marketing, I’m one of the first names that come to mind. Below is a list of tips you can use when you begin networking.

  • MeetUp & Eventbrite are your best friends. Use these platforms to make your event search easy and manageable.
  • When going to networking events, have a clear objective. Who is that you want to meet? People have the issue of wanting to speak to every single person in the room, and that’s not the approach that leads to results. Having 1-2 meaningful conversations with people that you’ve done research on is what you should be aiming for. Look for group organizers and search for them on LinkedIn to find out more about what companies they are associated with. If you can’t connect with them at the event, thank them on LinkedIn after, letting them know you enjoyed the event and that you’d love to follow up and speak to them personally.
  • Have a clear way to follow up. No connection works, regardless of who exchanges their business card with you, if you don’t have a clear “to-do” so that both of you follow up with each other. Grab a cup a coffee or grab lunch with them.
  • Connect online, either on LinkedIn (preferably) or on another social media platform.
  • Networking doesn’t work if you only meet with them once or twice. You want to see and connect with them at multiple events.
  • DON’T ASK FOR OPPORTUNITIES. Seek to learn from your connections, the opportunities come from the growth of the relationship you create with your new connections.

Budgeting: The Best Way to Keep Your Sanity

Don’t learn this the hard way. 40% of every paycheck you get should be allocated to your savings and assets. I won’t go into too many details as far as which savings account would be right for you, but I would recommend using Acorns and Robinhood for your assets. Acorns allows you to save money based off of cents you allocate from purchases that get rounded up to the nearest dollar and Robinhood allows you to invest in the stock market by giving you specific companies to choose from. I always follow the rule of — only investing in companies that I am a customer of.

As far as creating a budget that works for you, I suggest just having money set aside for these essential categories (ordered in priority):

  • Rent
  • Savings
  • Food
  • Personal Care
  • Phone Bill
  • House cleaning products
  • Wifi
  • Gym or Yoga Membership
  • Student Loans
  • Credit Card
  • Misc Expenses – Books, Movies, Bars, etc.

The online tool I use to track all of my expenses is Mint. They have a mobile app that can help me not only see if I’m spending too much money on one particular category, but it also gives me reminders of when my bills are due so I can plan ahead.

Food Shopping & Cooking: Do It The Right Way

Never go food shopping if you can’t get at least one item on sale, coupons are everything when it comes to saving money. Another great tip that is often overlooked is NEVER GO FOOD SHOPPING IF YOU’RE HUNGRY. You end up shopping with your eyes and ignoring the essentials on your list. I usually only purchase groceries to last me two weeks. Often, if you buy too much food, you can let things go to waste.

For cooking, regardless of what you’re making for dinner, one money saving tip I use is setting aside a portion of what I make in a Tupperware for lunch the following day. This is a habit I picked up from my Mother, and I don’t regret doing so. It’s helped me save 15% of my total food budget, which I’ve now allocated to my emergency fund.

Finding A Place To Live

I have come to the conclusion that there are only two rules you need to remember. The context for finding a room or apartment is different for everyone, but I find these two tips to be extremely applicable, regardless of the situation:

  1. See the apartment in person before discussing the logistics of payment.
  2. Move in with people you know or that a friend/family member can vouch for (saves you the stress of worrying whether or not your roommate is a crazy person).

Living With Roommates

As far as living with roommates goes, I suggest three things.

  1. Have a rotating chore list so everyone does their fair share of the housework.
  2. Always let each other know when you’re having guests over so there are no unpleasant surprises.
  3. Have a shared budget for groceries, it decreases the burden of having to worry about food.

The reason I haven’t put any advice in regards to living on your own in this article is simply because I don’t have that experience yet to give anything of value. Once I cross that bridge, I’ll create some content around that.

Recommended articles:

  1. Time Management: A 6-Step Guide For Millennials
  2. Getting a Job After College, Spec Work is The Best Method
  3. The 8 Health Habits Experts Say You Need in Your 20s

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How Landed My First Paid Account as a Consultant at 22 Kenny Soto

My 1st Client as a Digital Marketing Consultant at 22

Believe it or not, I was able to convince my college to hire me. I’m not talking about work study, being a bookstore stockboy, or being a research assistant for a professor. I’m talking about closing a deal for thousands of dollars. In this post, I’ll provide some back story as to how I was able to have the opportunity to even come up with the pitch, the pitch itself, and the lessons learned from the work. As a small disclaimer, as a student I respect my university tremendously—as a consultant, I learned from them what it means when people say large organizations are “slow.”

It all starts with finding a need.

How did I come up with the idea of even pursuing this pitch? It all started with accessing the problem my college had—we had severe budget cuts during the fiscal year. The only reason I was privy to this information was due to my role as student body president. During the first few meetings with school administration during my last academic year in college, I learned that our college, along with other CUNYs, hadn’t met their goal that the Board of Trustees set for getting more students.

The lack of increase in tuition was one of four factors that contributed to the millions in budget cuts that we’re going to occur. After sitting down and actually contemplating on why this particular problem was occurring, it dawned on me that I should check out the college’s social media & paid search marketing efforts. Low and behold, they weren’t launching any paid ads or producing content of any value to potential students or the parents of those students. This was my in, the opportunity I was looking for.

Devising the pitch.

Coming up with something of real worth to present to school administration wasn’t easy. It took me two weeks just to have the stones even to share this idea with my Fraternity brothers for feedback. After carefully thinking about what I learned from both my internship and doing pro bono digital marketing for a bar near campus (I still got something out of it, free food and free beer which wasn’t a bad deal if I do say so myself) I came up with a 43-slide deck for my presentation.

The reason why this deck was so long, and by all means I don’t recommend doing something this long for any presentation, was because I knew I wouldn’t have been taken seriously (at the end of the day, I’m too young to be taken seriously for anything right now). If I didn’t make sure I showed both school admin and the marketing department that not only I knew what I was talking about—but, that I also put it into the context of their specific needs, none of this would have worked. Also, I had already assembled a small team of two other student government members that would help me in my efforts; this increased their confidence in my ability to not only create a sound project but, also execute on it.

Negotiating the price.

The two most important lessons I gained from the overall experience was:

  1. Always write the service contract yourself.
  2. Bid high for a high price.

If it weren’t for a close friend of mine, I would have left a considerable amount of money on the table. I believe the main reason why the college administration agreed to pay my team and me as much as they did, was because the labor was relatively cheap in terms of industry standards and we wrote the whole contract ourselves. It also helps that they didn’t go through the hassle of signing it but, that’s beside the point. If a client is willing to pay you without signing a contract for whatever reason you still want them to do so, it puts both of you in a position where each party is fully committed to each other’s success. I believe this was the first sign that there was only going to be so much we could have done for them.

The challenge I’m glad I faced early on.

The biggest challenge with working for any big client as a digital markeitng consultant is this—the internal communications process is slow as hell, meaning that you’re going to have to plan at least two weeks ahead to get anything approved for launch. I lacked experience in this one aspect of doing digital marketing consulting; I didn’t anticipate that the one deterrent to my success would be not preparing for slow communication in between tasks. Although, I wasn’t successful in fully executing on the marketing plan I was at the very least, able to show the importance of why their efforts should be focused primarily on social and search advertising and not on subway or television ads.

Other lessons I learned were:

Your client, regardless of their size, will want all reports on a consistent basis. It’s important to let them know early on that marketing is a marathon and not a sprint. Metrics don’t improve overnight. You want to at least report on new ideas you’re working on so they can add their insight into the mix.
Have a dedicated team member to set up phone calls for Q & A whenever needed. If you’re this person, you have the hardest job. Client retention is key to recurring income. My biggest regret is not giving enough attention to thinking about building a long term relationship with my college so I could have had them as a client after I graduated.* Your team’s size should reflect the size of the account.

This is something I’ve debated with my colleagues for quite some time now. I still believe that we could have done a better job if we had at least three to four more students on our team. A team of three college students wasn’t enough to solve the problems a big institution like my college had.

Moving forward.

In the end, although I wasn’t successful in the execution of my first account, I at least learned how to get one. That experience has proved invaluable as I continue getting new clients and building my team at digiquation.com, the startup I work at now. Whether it’s in digital marketing or any other consulting practice, it never hurts to start early. Regardless of your age, there is something that you know; that is intrinsic in the experiences you’ve had that can be of value to a client. You just have to figure out how to successfully communicate that—and then have the team and knowledge to execute the plan you’re being paid to do.

*The experience gained from this one part of my collegiate career was the most valuable by far, and I am forever indebted to the City College of New York for giving me a chance to help them. If you check their Facebook page now, you can see the ads they are launching to get more attention. A special thanks to Tammie and Safiyyah, without your help, none of this would have been accomplished.


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Recommended articles:

    1. How I Got Employed After Two Weeks Of Graduating College.
    2. Emoji As a Professional Language
    3. A Digital Marketer’s Most Important Asset: Their Curiosity
Why Every Marketing Major Should Toss Their Textbooks In The Trash Kenny Soto

Why Every Marketing Major Should Toss Their Textbooks In The Trash

I have a serious issue with textbooks. As college students, we have to pay for books made 2-3 years ago that decrease in value over time, yet it is still standard practice to teach us with textbooks. My frustration comes from textbooks being used in a particular field of study: marketing. Marketing majors should only get textbooks that cover the history of marketing up to the 1,990’s. After that, there is no point in making books.

They are slowly becoming obsolete

Take, for example, as a college student purchasing a textbook on Facebook marketing. As of right now, you will get information on EdgeRank (Facebook’s algorithm/add hyperlink for more research), best practices for Facebook’s Boost Posts and Ad targeting features, and useful tips on community management on the platform. However, that very same textbook can lose value over a period of just two months. The reason is that like all other social media platforms (let’s not even go into websites in general), Facebook has updates on a weekly basis. Some of these updates are announced beforehand. However, the real challenge the marketing professor who wrote the book faces is predicting the updates that Facebook will implement in response to its competition (i.e., it’s quick update of “Live Video” in response to Periscope). And this goes for Snapchat, Peach, Musical.ly, Twitter, Instagram, and every other platform that is currently used.

What are the next steps?

We need to begin thinking of new tactics in which the education of digital marketing can be deployed to college students that meet the needs of the constantly evolving market. As with business owners, educators need to understand that the market doesn’t give a damn about all the research you conducted while creating your textbooks. If the market shifts from Snapchat to an entirely new app, your textbook on Snapchat still has some value, but not as much as it used to. Our textbooks need to “evolve” at the same pace as the needs of the market, or we will continue to see a continuing trend of marketing students not being prepared to work in their field after graduation.

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Kenny Soto End of 2015

2015 End of The Year Review: The Experiences and Lessons Learned

This blog post is an entry reviewing some of the many experiences I had over the past year and what knowledge I gained from them.


 

First Internship Experience: SCORE

SCORE NYC is a branch of the Small Business Administration (a government entity) that helps small business owners grow their businesses through one-on-one free consultations, workshops, and online webinars.

SCORE NYC was a very special place for me this year for all of the people I was able to meet. I was able to have the opportunity to surround myself with retired business executives who came from industries ranging from corporate law and hedge fund management to digital marketing and construction. I was also able to interact with aspiring entrepreneurs who came to SCORE with questions regarding their businesses and was able to see firsthand the challenges small business owners have to endure just to serve the market. In addition to all of the opportunities to grow and learn that I gained from the people I met, I also learned a lot about two subjects I never really put that much thought into before.

What the heck is the Internet?

The first thing that I learned from my experience at SCORE is that I knew only a small amount of information when it came to what exactly the internet is. Thanks to my mentor, Maurice Bretzfield, I was able to begin to understand the importance of not only knowing the difference between the internet, www, https, FTP, mobile, and wifi but, also identifying the importance of why I should know the differences. The first month studying under him showed me how little formal education had taught me on tools that I use every single day, and it helped me understand why learning about coding, digital design, and digital marketing is vital to how I interact through the internet.

Digital Marketing and what did it have to do with me?

My primary reason for applying for the internship was because under its description it stated that all interns would learn about digital marketing. As a music major, I have learned a lot about song composition, musical theory, and performance methodology, but I did not know how I would survive in the search for a job after receiving my Bachelor’s degree. Digital marketing showed me that it’s an essential skill to at least be aware of in today’s information economy. I learned over the eight months I was at SCORE how many people were having issues just getting their businesses to be known by potential customers. Eventually, I saw that the same concerns that these entrepreneurs were facing correlated with the issues myself and some of my friends at my college where dealing with: how do we stand out from the pack? Through my eight months of diligent work, I am now able to say with confidence that I have a good grasp of Digital Marketing overall and a niche part of it – personal branding.

Buying My Name Online

In regards to personal branding, I believe another pivotal point of this past year is when I purchased my URL and built this website. The benefits of using this website are tremendous. I am now able to google myself and what I want people to see is the only thing that is shown. Controlling my online presence was one of the first things that my mentor Maurice, advised me to do. In addition to this, blogging has helped me question my ideas and develop them even more. Without this platform, I would not have been able to gather my thoughts and had others comment and provide feedback on them. I strive to not only use my website to showcase what makes me unique and why I could be of value to teams but also to help a growing community learn with me. The World Wide Web is constantly growing with pools of both high quality and mediocre content, I want to become someone who contributes to the former. Let’s not forget to mention that blogging has also helped me with my writing and grammar. Finally, it’s helping me create connections with others that otherwise wouldn’t happen. I have had the opportunity to not only interview individuals online about their experience working companies such as Google but, also get good advice on what I should do to get a job after college (which in turn provides you, the reader, with valuable content).

Starting my school year as USG President

Many challenges were thrust upon me this semester. As my college experience rapidly comes to an end, I have the privilege to lead an exceptional team as the president of the undergraduate student government at the City College of New York, and it has certainly been a role that has helped me grow as a person. From improving my time management skills, delegating tasks, making sure the entire team is aligned, managing team stress, etc. I have been exposed to a lot of real life situations that I will have to deal with after college. I consider my experience in this role as an accelerated MBA, learning how to manage a team of people and not only serve them but, serve a whole community of people (the student body) as well. I’ll certainly use the skills I am learning as president in the future, and I will be forever grateful to undergo such an incredible growth period in my life.

Reading “Think On These Things” By Jidda Krishnamurti

Think On These Things Krishnamurti

This book changed my views on our current educational system and helped me understand why it’s important to question all information was given to me, and how to integrate that process into my daily life. It was the first time I ever experience a writer pierce through the veil of what should matter most in life, which is not necessarily the answer to questions we have but, instead finding the reasons to the questions themselves first. This book is a useful resource for anyone interested in getting a fresh perspective on what it means to be essentially a creative individual.

 

As the new year begins I will continue to provide as much valuable content to you, the reader, whenever I can. It helps me tremendously if you provide your feedback and thoughts in the comments section below. Let’s have an amazing 2016 everyone.

 

Cheers,

Kenny S.

 

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Bareburger HQ NYC

Director of Marketing at BareBurger: Interview With Nabeel Alamgir

First Ever Podcast Episode!

"Youth is no promise of innovation and age is no promise of experience." - Nabeel Alamgir

Nabeel Alamgir Kenny Soto

This post is very special as it is the very first podcast episode that I have done. Nabeel Alamgir is a good friend of mine who is an excellent example of what it means to be an innovator and leader. As Director of Marketing at BareBurger, I wanted to interview him to see what his thoughts were on college and what he believes to be good advice that all college students should listen to. Given that this is my very first podcast episode, there wasn’t necessarily any particular format I was following (I just had a list of questions I wanted to ask him).

This conversation covers surviving college, what advice he would give to his children if they were starting college, tips for student entrepreneurs, and some of his childhood history when he arrived into the United States. You can follow Nabeel on Twitter here. Also, check out his startup, Linute, and start making your campus life more lively!



Show Notes:

  • Interview Starts. [0:36]
  • Nabeel’s background. [1:10]
  • It’s actually Martin Scorsese. [2:50]
  • If Nabeel could give advice to his 18-year-old self. [7:35]
  • If Nabeel had a child. [11:44]
  • Do grades matter? [14:07]
  • What do you look for in a team member? [18:03]
  • Does a resumé accurately show a candidate’s potential? [20:20]
  • What role does a person’s social media play in the interview process? [23:19]
  • The advice he would give a student entrepreneur. [28:55]
  • Nabeel’s one book suggestion… [31:33]

*The high school program he was talking about is: https://veinternational.org/

Book mentioned at the end: “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist Paulo Coelho
I highly recommend reading this if you’re a fan of good storytelling and learning valuable life lessons.

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Recommended Articles:
  1. Are You Ready For The 2016 Job Hunt? (12 min. read)
  2. 13 Insanely Cool Resumes That Landed Interviews at Google and Other Top Jobs
  3. 10 Must-Read Business Books for 2016
 If you have any feedback please leave a comment below so I can provide better podcast episodes in the future.
Job search tips 2016 Kenny Soto

Are You Ready For The 2016 Job Hunt? (12 Min. Read)

The Times Have Changed…. It’s time to fix your job hunting techniques.

The year is almost ending, and it’s time to start thinking about what companies we are going to apply to after graduation. However, there’s one big issue: our resumes just don’t cut it anymore. 93% of all Hiring Managers use resume scanning software to filter candidates from the application pool. I was recently told this by TopResume, a company that reviews resumes to be up to ATS (applicant tracking system)  standards.


What alarmed me the most is that I learned that most companies use these resume scanning software systems. I would love to work for, Apple, Amazon, and Google to name a few. So what is one to do when attempting to apply for a job in a time and age where just this year, college graduates have made up 40% of the unemployment population in the US? As young professionals, we need to change our job hunting strategies and begin using the internet to stand out from the crowd.Why it’s time for a personal brand.

Why it’s time for a personal brand.

There is one thing you need to stop believing and that is that a well-constructed resume will help you get the interview. Although it is still important to develop your work experience and have a crisp resume, you need to know that everyone and their mother has one as well…and she is most likely applying to your dream job as well (here’s a PDF you can read later to see why I say this). The number one way to stand out from the sea of resumes that make it after the dreaded ATS’s scan through everyone else’s is a personal brand! Creating your personal brand online can help your job hunt tremendously, and it doesn’t take that much money to start.

I highly recommend creating a website through a CMS (content management system) such as WordPress or SquareSpace that don’t require any coding skills to enable you to start putting who you are on the internet. The very first thing an employer who sees your resume does is Google you! You need to make sure that you are in control of your digital persona. People will take photos of you and build content about you via social media that you will be indexed for on Google. Either you take control of your image or others will do it for you, and your hiring manager will see it.

Kenny Soto Job Hunt Help

There are many ways to get started!

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’ve just spent an all-nighter writing this 10-page essay, I got my B+, now what?” Well, the coolest thing about a blog is that if you don’t have anything to showcase right away, use your old homework (make sure it pertains to what you are interested in doing in the future) and use the content as an article.

The hardest part about building a personal brand and using a blog is creating content but, don’t let that stop you from using old work to kickstart your content creation. If you write about what you’re interested in, it will be enjoyable, just be authentic.

If you don’t have the money right now to set up a website, there are two alternatives you can use! Don’t give yourself an excuse not to do this today:

Kenny Soto Job Hunt Help

Use the posts option on your LinkedIn and Medium accounts to create a personal website substitute while you save up around $50 to make your personal branding website. You need to begin today to make your job hunt easier in the future.

Up next…drum roll… researching your target companies

The next step as you journey off into creating an awesome personal brand is to begin finding out more about the culture of the companies you want to work for in the future. It can all start with a Tweet or InMail (LinkedIn message) directly to someone in the business you feel may answer you. The secret to increasing your chances to getting a response is to NEVER ASK FOR A JOB REFERRAL, instead ask them:

  • What do they think about the industry?
  • Where do yourself in the company?
  • What do you believe was a contributing to your success in establishing and advancing your career?

There are more questions you can ask but ultimately the reason they will answer you is because you will always begin or end the interaction with, “I wanted to know if you had the time to answer a few questions so I can put the content on my blog to help my viewers.” Or, “…so I can get other ideas to help build new content.” This technique has worked for me and if all else fails on Twitter and LinkedIn, then just use Quora.

Kenny Soto Job Hunt Help

Quora is a platform that allows you to ask anyone in the world any question you may have as well as enable you to answer any question that they have posted. The network on this platform is full of amazing and intelligent people who, when engaged correctly, can also be asked for a short 15-minute phone call or quick conversation over a cup of coffee. This provides you the opportunity for  you to expand your network before applying for jobs. Heck, even if they don’t help you get the job you do three crucial things:

  • Help grow your content on your site.
  • Learn more about the industry you are entering.
  • Increase the size of your professional network.

Speaking of networking for your job hunt…

Kenny Soto Job Hunt Advice

Another resource you can use to help your job hunt is networking websites. It’s not what you know or even who you know, it’s who knows you! What you need to do is take the initiative to actually go out and meet other business professionals if you really want to get the needed connections to help your job hunt. I recommend choosing MeetUp as your main platform for networking. You can search via any topic you want to learn about or any industry you wish to join. At the very minimum, you will expand your knowledge around your particular field and meet new people.

The challenge you need to be aware of as you go into the new year is that a resume is no longer enough. These are a few of the many steps you need to take in order to have a better chance at landing the job you want in the coming year. I hope this was some help and feel free to click in the articles below to learn more about personal branding and job hunt techniques.

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Recommended Articles:

  1. The 6 Steps to Building a Personal Website
  2. Beat the Robots: How to Get Your Resume Past the System & Into Human Hand
  3. How I got famous executives to answer my emails when I was an unknown 21-year-old entrepreneur

		
Cost Of College

The Cost of College: 4 Things You Should Be Doing So You Don’t Waste Your Money

The College Journey…

Here’s a familiar story. You just finished high school, and you’re excited to begin the next part of your journey. The majority of your peers have all gone to different colleges so you’ll be entering this new stage of your life on your own (or maybe with at least another friend). As a college freshman, all of us barely knew what was going on when we started our new journey, and we needed to cram a lot of information into our heads before we started our classes.

The cost of college is tremendous. Here are four pieces of advice every college student (especially freshman) should know, so they don’t waste their money and most importantly their time:

1. Meet People & Leverage Relationships

I have heard this line countless times during freshman year, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters.” This may be true but, only to a certain extent. What is truly important is who knows you. You can know a countless number of people before graduating college but, if none of those people are valuable connections who can’t remember who you are, you can’t leverage any of the opportunities they might be able to offer. It is or you to make sure you are making your mark on campus. When meeting someone always ask, “How can I bring value to this person?” Doing this will help solidify that you’re not only thinking about yourself but that you care about the other person. Only after you’ve created value for the person should you then ask them for a favor (the usual one being a connection to a job or some other opportunity).

2. Join a Club or Organization

I believe the majority of valuable information anyone can attain from their college experiences doesn’t just come from their professors, it comes from peers. Once you graduate and join the workforce, no matter what your career choice may be, you will begin to work as a member of a team. The best way to gain prior experience in working in a team (outside of college sports) is to join a club or organization. You will gain invaluable knowledge in how effective (or ineffective) teams are run. Associating the experiences, you get from being a club leader to what your intended career path may be can also help you tremendously. My desired path in life after college is to start my own company and as Richard Branson says, “A company is a group of people.” If you don’t know how to work with people now, clubs are a great starting point outside of the classroom. They also have the added bonus of extending your network.

3. Do An Internship

The best opportunity I had to learn about the practical uses of what I was gaining from my courses came from an internship. The ideal internship (which has nothing to do with getting someone coffee) allows you to learn, as you do the job. As a music major, there aren’t many internship opportunities available for me, so I had to leverage my network to take on another path: digital marketing. From my experience, I learned that the best way to truly know if what you’re studying is right for you, you need to do it. Sitting in a classroom learning theories will never give you the value of experience. And if you’re like me who’s constantly trying to learn new things, do an internship that is completely outside of your field. If it weren’t for the eight-month internship I had, you wouldn’t be reading this (because this website wouldn’t even exist). Consider an internship (paid or free) as the best college course you’ll ever take and not pay for.

Note: Student research is a good substitute for internships.

4. Figure Out What Are Your Strengths & Focus Your Studies On Enhancing Them.

Don’t concentrate on getting a job that can get you into your desired tax bracket. The cost of college is extremely high today, and no one should be wasting their money. The main reason you should be going to college is to learn how to learn and to become an observer of the universe. We are entering an era in which employers are caring less about the degree you have and more about how you showcase what you know. It helps if you’ve gained experience via an internship or research opportunity and if you’ve developed friendships that you can utilize to help advance your career.

If you just work on stuff that you like, and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out. – Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook.

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Personal Branding Tips For College Students

A Personal Branding Campaign Is Vital For College Seniors & Graduates 

Have you ever wondered what was the exact number of job applications you’ve completed, that have never received any attention or have gotten a reply? If I had to estimate it, the number of applications for me would be over 120. Searching for a new job can be a very depressing process, especially for recent college graduates who need to pay off their student loans and want to start an independent life. The value of a college degree still stands, but it is steadily declining each year.

There are more than 2.8 million college graduates entering the workforce this year alone. That’s only a small fraction of the competition you’ll have to deal with if you factor in the rest of the citizens that are also competing for your dream job (or any job for that matter). So, what can someone do to help increase his or her chances of employment in today’s noisy job search environment?

The Hiring Process

I dread job hunting simply because of all the deterrents that exist that stop me from becoming employed. For starters, there are resume tracking systems that allow hiring managers (at large corporations such as Twitter, Apple, and Google) to sift through thousands of applicants so that only 10 to 20 resumes ever end up on their desks. And get this—the very first thing a hiring manager does today before they even view your resume, is Google your name. That means that online reputation management is now more important than ever before.

Every one of us produces content on a daily basis, whether it is a status update, video, or a photo and all of it is being indexed the very moment we post it (and it never gets removed). Think about it; your name is a keyword that is going to have all the relevant content related to it readily available when someone searches you. Remember that photo you took at your spring break party that you deleted after posting it by accident? It’s still in Google Search’s archives. But don’t fret, there are things you can do that can help you increase your job hunt success!

Why do you need to build your personal brand?

First impressions are no longer made based on face-to-face interactions. Before you are even invited to an interview, you need to pass the “online tests” that are imposed on you. Hiring managers are supposed to acquire the best potential team members possible. To make a good impression, you need to create and manage your own personal brand. Sadly, LinkedIn is not enough to show whom you truly are. Not only as the ideal employee but also, as a really amazing person. Your personal brand needs to be a combination of your resume, your LinkedIn profile, and most importantly your very own personal website (ideally, firstnamelastname.com).

The question that you need to ask yourself before you even apply for a job is “what is my value proposition?” thinking through the eyes of an employer. If you do not present yourself online as someone who can provide added value to their company, they will not waste their time interviewing you. They must ensure that your personality is a good match for whatever team you are applying to join.

There are college students that have honors, several awards, are a part of many clubs and organizations and have completed many internships. At the end of the day, you will always be in competition for the jobs you apply for, so you need to add as many key advantages as possible to get yourself in front of the employment line. It’s time you leverage your online presence to stand out from the crowd.

How to build your personal brand

The first thing you must consider is that resumes aren’t as important as what a potential employer sees online. The most important thing you must do is create a website. You don’t need to learn how to code to create one now; there are many content management systems that can allow you to post content and design your website very quickly (such as SquareSpace and WordPress). The biggest investment you can ever make as a college student is buying a domain and hosting your website.

I have had my website for almost a year now, and it has allowed me to show who I am as a young professional in a much grander way than a resume ever will. What you should think about is how you are currently conveying to an employer (and everyone else), who are you and what makes you so unique. Why are you more of a potential asset to the company than the other thousand applicants who applied last month?

If I were hiring someone, and I saw two resumes with the same skills, job experience, and degree (even though GPA or school doesn’t bring much merit anymore), if one candidate had a website, and the other didn’t—I would definitely giving the first interview to the applicant who has their own site.

What Employers Want To See

Considering that a degree is no longer the only thing needed for your professional success, there has to be something else that you can do to increase your chances of landing the right job. The key to doing so is leveraging what you already use every day: the Internet.

In our culture, all of our attention is now focused on our mobile devices, so we must know how to use this to our advantage. The purpose of creating a personal branding campaign that includes a website, great LinkedIn profile, other Social Media channels, and a resume that speaks to an employer is to show your value proposition. The key to success after college and beyond is to consistently showcase (online) why anyone should give a damn about you.

Building these things is fairly easy; the main issue is committing your time to get these things done. If you aren’t being hired for the job, someone else will be!

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Recommended Articles:

1.     The College Degrees And Skills Employers Most Want

2.     Advice for College Graduates: Treat Your Career Like a Startup

3.     What I (Really) Wish I’d Known As A Freshman In College.

Kenny Soto Daily Habits Article

How Your Daily Habits Affect Your Success

Personal Success begins with your habits.

As a leader or anyone aspiring to become successful, we are all responsible for our own personal success. Oftentimes people aren’t able to be successful because they are completely unaware of how their daily habits affect their future. There are many things in our lives that are outside of our own control but, the one thing we do have a say over are the daily habits we choose to adopt every day.

You are your choices.

There have been many times when I have heard people I know complain about their lives. I would hear the usual statements, “I hate where I am at in life” or, “I am only in this situation because I don’t know the right people.” What many people don’t realize is that the reason they are stuck where they don’t want to be is because of their daily habits. What makes matters worse is most of us cannot see how our daily habits affect our lives because the basis of our habits is around processes and not outcomes. Focusing on what could you gain from making a decision hinders you from focusing on what matters. The reason why the majority of us are only focused on outcomes are because others have taught us since early childhood that what is more important is reaching a specific goal and not how we get there. Just because I get an A in a course doesn’t mean that I can actually apply my knowledge effectively on a daily basis. For many of us, the outcome of our total success is not determined by how we reach deadlines but from how effective was our process in achieving our tasks and what do we learn to increase our productivity the next time.

Effective habits save time.

The answer success does not lie in asking yourself what you need to do, but instead who you need to become. Once you have that answer, realize that you are not that person right now because when you compare your current self to your ideal personal persona, the difference is how you spend your day. Some people believe the on approach to getting to where you want to be is by using self-affirmations like in The Secret to attract success to you. I am not saying that self-affirmations aren’t useful, in fact they can be very powerful. What I am saying is that a more practical way of approaching success is adopting productive habits. This creates a structural foundation in which you can achieve that success mindset. To create that structure you need to be self-aware of what are your current habits and how other people and outside factors sway your choices on what daily habits you adopt over time.

Distractions are your biggest enemy.

One big factor that determines what daily habits you decide to adopt is codependency. Codependency is when you tend to act or feel a certain way based on whom you interact with (my interpretation of it). The reason this dysfunctional behavior is detrimental to your daily success is because most of us don’t notice our codependent tendencies when we interact and spend time with others. Jim Rohn best describes this when he states, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” As we become more hyper-connected to people through the Internet, it is now more important than ever to be aware when we are being codependent with those we are spending our time with (offline and online). In the event that you cannot do so, then you should make sure you are spending your time with people who are practicing successful habits daily (at least those habits may rub off on you). Codependency is related to why you aren’t as successful as you want to be. This is because you are allowing the habits of others govern your own. Although, this may not always be the case if you are already aware of how others in your network affect your chances of success. It helps significantly if you are learning what habits are you adopting from other people.

 

You should always be aware of what habits you currently have that may not be leading to who you want to become. Researching and meeting successful people who can mentor you are very helpful ways to figure out productive habits you can adopt yourself. However, it all comes down to self-awareness. Make sure you are auditing your habits on a regular basis and calibrating them accordingly. If you don’t create a daily regimen yourself, outside factors are doing it for you.

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