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I’ve been using Novel Insight as the hub for my writing, marketing, and information sciences for 2013 – and it’s about time for some change!

Sure, I’ve been working with clients and showcases some of the services they could benefit from as well as using this site as a platform to build a network of awesome marketing and academic entrepreneurs.

But I also want to use Novel Insight as a platform to speak up and share insight I’ve gathered over the years. That means this blog will be updated frequently with some coverage of marketing and SEO news, but also discussions of women in marketing, entrepreneurship, and even how chronic illness can impact our work opportunities.

First, an Introduction:

I’m Nancy Roque, and I didn’t plan on being in marketing.

In fact, it wasn’t even on my radar even though I lived with someone who was killing it in the marketing game when I was in college.

I was (mostly) introverted, focused on literature in philosophy, and had plans to get a literature/philosophy PhD before becoming a professor.

Since tenured jobs in academia aren’t really an option anymore, I needed to shift my focus. Unfortunately, this revelation dawned on me about two months before I graduated so I didn’t do myself any favors in the “planning for the future” department.

After crying about this whole conundrum for a few weeks, I sent out some Hail Mary applications to graduate programs.

I got into a Library and Information Sciences program in hopes of turning my love of research into a different type of academic career. I continued to work in writing centers while I finished my Masters and truly loved how much I could help students from any background improve their ability to communicate.

At that point, I was set on becoming an academic librarian.

So…..what happened?

Life, circumstances, and – prejudice?

As one of the youngest people in my class, I found myself struggling against two major stereotypes: librarians are older, mature individuals and that all millennials are unreliable and prefer partying over work.

After a few months on the job hunt after I graduated, I needed to do something.

I ended up moving too far to reasonably commute and continue my work at the USF writing center. Academic libraries weren’t necessarily looking for someone like me and I had over $40k in student loans.

That’s when I realized I had to get creative on this job hunt if I wanted to succeed.

How a Hail Mary Application Introduced Me to Marketing

As all good careers start with, I began my foray into marketing with a Google search.

Really – I typed in “writing jobs Tampa” and clicked around to see what was out there.

From all the different job descriptions I read, I decided that my skill set closely matched what employers were describing as a copywriter or editor. Since I enjoy writing fiction (and blogs) in my free time, it seemed reasonable that I could probably succeed writing for other people.

One open position for a writing team lead caught my eye - and I applied to it almost immediately.

After some quick changes to my resume’s positioning and a new, punchy cover letter, I sent out everything out and avoided obsessively checking my email.

Pretty quickly, I was contacted and went through the interview process before starting my first role in marketing.

Now, it wasn’t exactly a great fit, but I found myself enamored with the entire process. Getting to know a client, capturing their voice, checking out their analytics, and shifting the plan was all so new and exciting. I loved working with a team, reviewing their work, and sending out a finished product we were all proud of.

In other words: I was hooked.

Developing a Professional Persona

Unlike academia and library services, marketing almost requires you to have a persona in order to get your foot in the door. And I mean this as “if you want to work in the creative industry, you have to somehow show that you’re a creative person before you even get to the negotiation phase of a new job.”

It turns out that even someone who was historically super introverted like me needs to do some soul searching and find out what parts of your personality you need to spotlight to inspire someone to work with you.

For me, I do things a little bit differently. My friends know me to be a little weird and quirky, so why was I hiding that for work?

Over time, I’ve realized that people love working with someone who has the education and professional skills as well as an energetic and fun personality to keep things fresh.

So, even though it all started with a few Hail Mary applications and an interest in writing, research, and data, I’ve found a fantastic niche in the marketing world that has given me some interesting perspectives as a young person, feminist, and professional.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog, where I’ll wrap up this introduction with 26 professional tips I wish I learned before I was 26!

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