Content Writing interview at an SAAS this week and my plans for improvement

Picture of a road from street level in a artic location with mountains in the distance

This Monday I interviewed for a content-writer position at an up-and-coming SAAS company. 

I spent four days researching the company website and Googling the hell out of the team members. I soon discovered my interviewer was responsible for a local viral post [insert onslaught of terrified excitement].

amusement park ride people upside down about to be dropped straight down
https://unsplash.com/@punttim

During the four days leading up to the interview, I researched the site, created a corpus of their highest ranking keywords, and started writing non-stop with only breaks for food, mate or for those brief moments—sleeping.

My wife got jealous a couple of times, so I had to make time to give her a hug, now-and-then again.

two people sitting across from each other on a bench; one is writing the other has a tablet in front of them but hands appear to be unsure of what to do
https://unsplash.com/@alvaroserrano

Over the last couple days of writing, I contacted a few writer colleagues from my publishing job and a writer friend that I knew from undergrad. My friend didn’t comment much on problem areas, but the time he took to listen to me talk out my writing process was a great calmer and confidence booster. 

And after all the work, the writing sample felt good.

The interview went well: when I needed time to think about a hypothetical situation, I took my time and responded. In some cases he interjected with agreements or supplemented ideas that they had put into practice.

Everything was good, everything EXCEPT my lack of applicable experience with SEO.

Picture of a cellphone with Google open and 'Analytics' typed into the SERP
https://unsplash.com/@edhoradic

I emphasized my enthusiasm to learn and write for a new genre, which seemed to leave a somewhat positive impression. But, as an experienced recruiter, you want someone to fill the role that can take ownership of their role ASAP. 

Otherwise, a new candidate ends up becoming a liability.

I don’t want to be that ‘guy,’ so regardless of whether I get the position or not,  I am back at the drawing table–planning out my study and writing plans. So far, it’s a checkerboard of genre-writing research and full-on writing days.

The goal is to write one piece each week with the goal of having showcase samples ready for my website in five weeks’ time.

 

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A Venture into the Project Planning phase


When you are in the process of job hunting every day is a different animal. There are some that seem to make sense and everything is on track (and then there are the others). Based on advice from a theMuse article: 6 Free Online Courses That’ll Teach You the Same Skills You’d Learn in Business School I decided to start a couple of the suggested online courses: Intro to Project Management and Intro to Marketing.

Project Management seems like a no-brainer to me at the moment. I’m constantly trying to arrange my schedule in order not to feel completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks that I set out for myself. Just to give you an idea of what I mean by that–I literally alphabetically categorized my goals for the day up to H (and I hadn’t even gotten past my writing goals).

Based on what I’ve gained in my vast hour of experience in the Project Management class, I’m currently in the initialization phase. They let you use this nifty guide called the Canvas framework:

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I’m hoping to manage my writing, job search, social media, language learning and (that is if I can find enough time) my website. I justified buying a site to my wife before we got married, butat this moment only has a construction image (worthy of a circa 1995 Geocities account).

A man who learns never grows old

Recently been caught up in a research loop—

Guess that makes sense as loops are a common variable in coding languages. It’s not just coding though. I’m diligently factoring in everything I can in the free time that I have to try to improve my knowledge.

Basically all my free time at the office, I’m researching social media in ways to improve my company’s social presence. Then after work, I’m taking what I have gathered to improve my knowledge of how it extends beyond the scope of my business and into the social media realms of Twitter, Blogging and into the sphere of writing: listicles, infographics, white papers, just to name a few.

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I’m doing what I can, but it always seems like there’s never enough time in the day. Recently I added studying math on Khan Academy to improve my ability to make better sense of SEO analytics. Math was the largest impediment to my studying CS back in the college days. It was that and the smell of the server room. I honestly remember the warmth and the smell of a vacuum sealed room of crusty pizza and locker room body odor. It stopped my dream at that time, but I never stopped loving computers. I just was unable to take that step to becoming a computer scientist.

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Now, I’m trying to find a way to take that love I had before and branch it into my life now. I think that’s the question you may have, READER, what exactly is it that I do in my life. The answer to that is not an easy question to answer as it’s a myriad of answers. I do work at a company and I do have office hours, but those are mostly determined by me and I’m given a large amount of space to create my own projects to help improve the presence of my company. I handle engagement, hiring, coaching, training, workshops, presentations, contest hosting, podcasting, voice recording, podcasting, and a wide assortment of writing and editing projects. I’d never complain about what I do. It gives me the time I need to learn and a chance to draw upon my enthusiasm to find new innovative ways of interacting with our clients. I am excited to find out more and more about avenues to be able to share some of my methods and to learn more about how social media involvement will help me to develop as a creative content manager.

Thanks to all the people that have been helping. I’m especially indebted to the help on Twitter by Sam Hurley and the articles off of jeffbullas

http://dailybunny.org/2014/01/27/bunny-knows-how-to-turn-her-humans-attention-back-to-where-it-should-be/

Busy Day ( a f e w t h o u g h t s )

Totally didn’t even get more than a couple of glances at some code today. Stuck doing what I love to be doing, which is writing creative content, albeit about a Pokemon apocalypse, and also finalized a Twitter account with loaded content for a podcast that I did with a colleague that also has DJ experience. It should be fun. The first one went pretty well, especially after his final cut.

I wanna say though, that although I didn’t get any coding done today, I keep trying to insert HTML in everything I’m doing. Like, for instance, a job posting that I wrote up for FB. I wrote HTML code all the way through it which I felt pretty proud of, until I realized that HTML code doesn’t work. That resulted in a pretty quick–EDIT-COPY-DELETE.

And as quick as that happened, so must I end this post. I’ve got a moment to sleep and I’d better not pass it up. Tomorrow everyone’s going to be watching me and I’m supposed to look like I know what I am talking about

Full day of coding ergo the coding

Literally spent the whole day researching social media. Spent a lot of that time looking at other’s Twitter feeds and blogs to understand a little bit more about social media and of course about coding.

There were some surprises and also even came across a few writers that write quite impressively. One such writer, Sacha Black, wrote a post on how to make characters memorable, without needing to hit the reader over the head. It’s quite an interesting read and the writer seems to be quite an interesting person. Definitely something to check out if you like good writerly advice written by a qualified writer.

On the coding vain I got some good info from talking to a few people on Twitter that code professionally, are still learning, and from a bootcamp academy and a online learning site. Bootcamps are not really something I can afford: time or moneywise. It was still a nice dream for all of 20 minutes while watching the intro video on Fullstack Academy’s website. The $16,000 price tag was a bit unsettling and also the idea of quitting my job for 10-14 weeks are probably not on the TO-DO list for maintaining a healthy relationship…

I was really surprised though by their free coding resources after filling in my email.

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You can find it at the bottom of their website.

They didn’t scrimp on any of it. Apparently it’s exactly what they give to preboot camp students, so if you have the dedication it’s a great path to getting on the right track. I think I might be busy for 10 weeks just trying to click all of them. I’m encouraged. Just will have to keep the caffeination pump on tap. I might be studying independently, but with the role of social media I look forward to getting to a point of being able to work remotely with other coders. Still a while off from that, but it makes me excited to get to that level.

Social media really is social. I’ve been learning that in the last two days. I know that sounds weird and oxymoronic, but I just never really realized how much of a community it really is here when you put the time into it. So thank you fellow bloggers and tweeters for your comments likes and follows. If I haven’t checked out your sites or we haven’t talked, give me a shout. I’m looking forward to getting to know as many of you as I can.

Social J