#MoreWomeninTech and WomenPreneurs Blog

A Story on How to Get a Job by Creating a Personal Blog

Posted by Sep 26, 2013 2:08:00 PM Alison Powell


Being helpful is important to so many parts of your life. I really believe that if you aren't being helpful everyday then you probably should figure out how you can be helpful doing something else. 

I had the opportunity to talk to a room full of amazing women this morning here at HubSpot. They were women who had left the workplace for one reason or the other 10 or so years ago and now ready to re-enter.  I was asked to talk to these women about the importance of blogging to help them get exposure online and how blogging can help them to get a job. I put together this presentation to teach them about the importance of blogging to get a job and the importance of blogging for your own personal branding. 

If you want to take a look at my presentation you can do so here: 

I actually hate speaking in front of groups (believe or not). I do it every once in a while because it puts me outside of my comfort zone which is good for personal and professional growth. I do sales here at HubSpot so I spend most of my days on the phone prospecting, doing exploratory calls, demos, etc. I don't get nervous doing that but when you ask me to get in front of a group and talk about something I get nervous. Also, if you ask me to talk about myself or something I have done, I also get a little strange and uncomfortable. But, when you ask me to speak in front of a crowd of women looking for help I can't say no. I had to get up there and see if I can offer something and see if I could teach people something. Women like the ones I spoke with this morning are the exact reason why I started this blog a few years ago.  I wanted to share experiences, lessons, and ideas to help women learn. We all learn something new everyday and we need to share those experiences to help others grow. 

I told my story around how I ended up here at HubSpot and why I think I am where I am today- happy professionally and personally.

It starts back when I first graduated from college. My first "real job" was at US Trust here in Boston. I worked underneath 2 very successful women in the private wealth management space. This job was where I was exposed to real work and the concepts of business. I am thankful for what this job taught me in life and in business. I think that a lot of my success here at HubSpot in dealing with businesses everyday has to do with what I learned at this first job. I learned the true value of what it means to run a business, to be a successful executive. I learned how to work with people and how to get things done quickly and under pressure. I learned the importance of a dollar and how to work hard. It is only until recently that I started to realize that this job specifically is why I am good at talking to high level execs and makes it easy for me to feel comfortable working with the types of people I work with everyday here at HubSpot. I learned that people are people, no matter their title and how much money they have. Everyone is human and if you act like a human in your job you will be successful. Being helpful and human is at the core of success. 

At US Trust I worked in client services on a small team where I serviced accounts and worked with the 2 sales people on my team to manage the accounts under us. I loved it and did well.  But, even the best that I did I would have never been promoted until probably 10 years later. I didn't like that. I still don't like the idea of not promoting people when promotion is due. I don't care how old you are, if you are qualified and have proven that you know what you are doing and can help others around you, you deserve it whether you are 22 or 43. I knew that if I stayed there I would have to work there for about 10 more years to make it to the next level in my "career path" there. I wasn't ready to do that and I wanted to work quicker than that and get somewhere faster than that. 

I decided after about 3 years there to leave and go work for Best Buddies, which is a non profit. The reason I wanted to do this is because I love to help people. Innately I have this weird thing coming from inside of me around always wanting to help people.  I can remember from a young age that I always wanted to help people. I can remember when I lived in NYC as a child that I always wanted to give homeless people change. I have always felt "bad" for those that looked like they needed help. I thought that by working at a non profit I could help people and that would fulfill me. Best Buddies still has a place in my heart and always will. We helped provide jobs to people with disabilities. I knew that the development work I was doing was helping people get jobs that deserved to be helped. The one thing I was missing there was being able to tie in my business skills. I was working with donors to get them to donate to the organization but I wasn't completely obssessed with it. This is a constant theme in my life. I want to help people but I also want to make a really, really big dent in the world somehow. As much as I loved helping people with disabilities I wasn't passionate enough about it to make it my life. I was actually laid off from this job and now it seems like a blessing now. 

At that moment I remember leaving the office crying with a box and getting into a cab. I was sad and felt like I had failed. I left US Trust where I had a good job, no probably a great job. BUT, in my eyes it was not enough and I was worthy of more. I knew that I wanted something more but guess I had not found it there either.  I was sad.  I left to go to a non profit from a job where I had a trajectory, I took a pay cut to do that as well. I was just laid off...I went home, cried and then got my head in the right place.

The next day I woke up and started to look for jobs. I knew  that I needed to do something different. No more non profits, wasn't going to go back to  a job where I couldn't get promoted without being older than I was even if I was good at what I did. 

I started to research "startups." I have no clue why and can't really remember why but this was. But that day I changed my life. I found my calling. Startups were places where I could do what I wanted. No one to tell me that I had to do something a certain way because that is the way it was done. No one to tell me to be at work by 8 in the morning because that is the way things had been done for years. YUCK. NO THANKS. No one to answer my questions with, that is the way it is done here. I don't like that answer and don't believe that is an answer. I still don't. If something is not working well you should change it. If something is stupid, why keep doing it. I have always believed in change, doing things on your own time, working hard and getting stuff done. I work smart and hard. Startups were where I could be myself, work my way up and show my moves while helping people. I Just had to find what that place would be that would allow me to build something, do sales, and help people. 

So I started a job at UPS. I know, UPS is not a startup...That was my first mistake looking back. Yes, UPS. I have no passion around shipping. I have no passion for UPS as a business model either. I still don't really, really know why I went there. What I did think was that this is a good paying job, I will be working with good accounts in downtown boston and I have never done outside sales. So I did it. I was set on learning something from this huge company. I didn't like it from day one. I liked the people I worked with and worked for but that was about it. I learned quite a bit here in those 7 or so months that I did it. I learned that I don't like corporate jobs. I learned that I need to enable change. I learned that I needed to find a job where I could make a difference in someone's life. Shipping would not be that. So I started to attend startup events here in Boston and Cambridge. 

In that process I started my first blog - www.thealipowell.com. This was my first blog. I started to write about what I was learning at the events I was going to. People started to read them and I started to learn more about how startups worked. I did this for about a year. I would go to work during the day and at night I would go to events and then come home and write up a blog post for BostInno on the event. I thought at the time that doing this would enable me to meet startups where maybe I would find my dream job. Slowly but surely I started to meet people in startups, started to get noticed and recruiters started to reach out to me. YES!

HubSpot reached out. Thank you. I thought I was qualified to work here. I told the recruiter (he knows who he is) that I was going through HubSpot Inbound Marketing University because I wanted to be qualified when I applied. He told me I was qualified so I started the process. 

Thankfully they saw something in me and now it has been over 3 years. I love what I do and I found a job where I can help companies with their marketing. I spend my time diagnosing if a company needs help with their marketing and needs help growing. I love that. I get to help companies grow by using our software to market their businesses online. I also am fulfilled by working with other smart people and helping those people grow as well here. I had the luxury of helping build out a team here at HubSpot. When I started here I was one of the first of a couple entry level sales people. I Worked my way up over the years and feel happy to have done what I have done here. 

If I had never started my blog, I don't think I would be doing sales here at HubSpot. I don't think I would have figured out what my way of helping people was. 

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