Before I got out of college I got my first job offer, without applying for it at all. My second job was through some guerrilla hit and miss approach. I ended up with two offers from competing digital marketing agencies, two of the best in Nigeria at the time.
It’s been a few years I worked at those companies now, but my time there defined my career path and pushed me to do more. I’d be sharing my steps towards getting employed in my early career in this post.
Getting into Circuit Atlantic
Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I planned to start an ecommerce company while I was in my fourth year in college. Before I had to go on Industrial Training. It was an exciting time learning about online marketing and how I could use sell products online. But that quickly morphed into learning for practice sake. So I started out with a personal website I launched in 2012.
First thing I did was write a bunch of posts about things I got interested in and services I used. One of them was Circuit Atlantic. At the time, they assisted with purchasing and shipping items from the US to Nigeria.
*Spoiler alert* This is where my annoying side shows.
My friend had asked me (being the tech guy in the class), to help him get a laptop. I believe he gave me 250k don’t remember exactly how much, but it was a lot. I knew all the laptops in computer village were crap and overpriced, so I said “Hey, I should try buying from Amazon!” A few searches later and I’m on Circuit Atlantic, a site I had never heard before. I find a laptop that’s kick ass, pay the money, and hope I get it. I just threw someone’s 250k to the digital wind, this was 2012, yahoo yahoo was plenty. But like clockwork, I got a mail saying I could pickup, my friend got it in Lagos, and he loved it.
I wrote about my experience here. Adis, who ran Circuit Atlantic (CA), saw the piece, loved the writing and asked me to work for him. I started work while I served, got paid 64k, add that to service stipend and I was rich! I did some really interesting work while at CA, and I do hope I get to telling those stories as well later on.
What’s the lesson? Put yourself out there
My first job was purely on merit. I put myself out by getting started with a blog only a handful of people read, but it mattered to the people who mattered. If you can’t show what you do, either on social, your website, LinkedIn, anywhere… how do people know you’re the one for them? Be sure you put yourself out there.
Getting into Wild Fusion (the real guerrilla tactic)
I stopped working at Circuit Atlantic after a few months, and I needed a new job. Not before trying my hand at freelance, which ended up being a smart decision. But I needed more real world experience, I wanted to work with an agency, and not just any, I needed the best.
I started out with writing down a list of some of the top agencies I could find online. After that, I did something I had never done before or will ever do again. I shot my shot. Basically sliding into email DMs 😅 . But this wasn’t social, there was no way to know who to send the mail to.
Thing is, I knew sending to HR was a waste, those things almost always got ignored, so I needed to reach the ogas at the top. Found out about Abas from Wild Fusion and Bukola Akingbade of Bytesize. These were the guys I needed to pitch to. I knew I had the skill, that wasn’t the problem, I just needed to get an interview with them.
I had no email to reach out to, so I started being annoying. First thing was to create a fake gmail account that had no association to me whatsoever, lol. I think I named the mail John Kanu or something weird like that, then I sent mails to different combinations of emails, like firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com… I kept going. I installed Hubspot’s email activity tracker to see if the mail got opened, and I sent tons of emails.
Sure as hell, I found the working mails for Abas and Bukola, it was pure joy 😂. Last thing was to make sure I send the right mail to get their audience. So I sent the mail below to both parties.
Abas got back to me after an hour and Bukola after two hours. I had two offers! I almost went with bytesize, but if you’ve ever met Abas, you’d know he can sell you anything. I ended up with Wild Fusion and it was some of the best years in my career.
What’s the lesson? Go for it
Every once in a while you’d need to go the extra mile. In the responses I got immediately after sending this mail, something was common. Bukola mentioned “I will like to commend the effort and attitude”. And from Abas, “I do appreciate and recognize your tenacity”.
People recognize the extra you put in, and I believe it was one of the things that made me stand out at Wild Fusion. It still gets me going today, I generally never back down from a challenge.
What happened beyond these two companies? My profile generally spoke for me, I haven’t applied at any of the other companies I’ve worked at so far. I’ve always wanted to tell this side of my story because they’re still the most interesting, and I enjoyed the little beginnings.
If you have any questions for me, I’d be happy to respond to them in the comments section below. And if you’d like to share your own story, by all means do, I’d love to hear them.