Hiring During COVID-19: 3 Lessons Learned From Digital Marketing Boot Camp — and the Resulting Job Search for Fernando Cisneros
Fernando Cisneros grew up and completed his bachelor’s degree in business administration in Mexico, but when he moved to the U.S., he struggled to put it to use. He applied to countless jobs, but employers in the states didn’t seem to recognize its merit the same way they did back home. In Mexico, he had co-owned a dental practice; in the U.S., he became an oral surgery manager who spent most of his time sitting behind the front desk — and he didn’t see a path forward.
“Sitting at the front desk didn’t match up with how I saw myself,” said Fernando. He knew that if he wanted to find fulfillment, he needed to make a career transition. But he also knew he needed something to spruce up his resume if he wanted to overcome the hurdles he met in his last job search. A boot camp fit the bill. He discovered The Digital Marketing Boot Camp at Texas McCombs, and decided to enroll. These are the top three lessons he learned along the way.
1. Weigh your options carefully and take advantage of every opportunity.
During his initial boot camp search, Fernando came close to enrolling in UT Austin’s data analytics program — The Data Analysis and Visualization Boot Camp at Texas McCombs. While he didn’t have prior experience in data analysis, he was prepared to go in blind if it would result in the career change he wanted. Just before enrolling, he saw advertisements for the new digital marketing program that seemed more aligned with his education and experience.
“I wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity,” said Fernando, “and receive the most [payoff] possible. I did most of the interview practice they offered, and over five months, I pumped out almost ten versions of my resume. I listened to every tip they gave me — even for things as seemingly small as font size and color. The difference in responses was immediate. I also dedicated my winter break to getting my Google Adword and Google Analytics certifications — something that a TA recommended we do early on. I took all of the career advice really seriously. Eventually, I felt confident enough to quit my job. It was a weight lifted off my shoulders.”
2. Be creative and apply your learnings to real-life businesses.
Early on, Fernando noticed some of his classmates struggling with course material. He realized it was because they weren’t finding ways to apply their new skills outside the classroom. “How much you learn is directly related to the amount of work you put in,” he said. “Especially in the boot camp. After each class, I read, studied, and researched what we learned, and I found creative ways to apply my knowledge in real life.”
Fernando still helped with marketing for his dental practice in Mexico. He dedicated Sunday to implementing every new unit, topic, skill, and strategy covered in the boot camp. He built the practice a website, applied Google Analytics, and incorporated every SEO tactic he’d learned. “The thing is, you didn’t have to be the owner of a business to be able to do this throughout the boot camp,” said Fernando. “There are a ton of companies out there without budgets for digital marketing that would love the help. And in the end, it would benefit both you and the business.”
3. Don’t give up, even in unexpected circumstances.
Fernando’s job search wasn’t simple. As he began to get more responses to his applications, he started honing in on what interested him. He went through two rounds of interviews for a digital marketing analyst position at Practice Cafe — a marketing agency that, fittingly for Fernando, works with dental practices all over the country. He received an offer, and accepted it.
Immediately afterward, the COVID-19 crisis hit. “A week before my start date, they told me they’d need to put my offer on an indefinite hold,” said Fernando. “So I kept updating my resume, applying to jobs, and doing interviews. Practice Cafe recently got back in touch with me, and I started last Monday.”
So far, Fernando’s role at Practice Cafe is a perfect fit. “Ninety percent of the materials I was given to review for my new position were topics I covered in the boot camp,” said Fernando. “I definitely feel prepared to take on this role. It’s been emotional for me to finally see how the boot camp paid off. Even though I doubted myself at times, it’s truly helped me achieve my goals.”