How I Got My Dream Growth Marketing Job

Three weeks ago I received my official letter of acceptance for the role of Senior Growth Marketer at Runn.

The company was like a breath of fresh air.

An inclusive job description, transparent salary, a funny job ad, an awesome product. Each element making me more excited than the last!

And along with excitement, that feeling of existential dread that you won't get the thing you really want. 😂

But more on that later.

In this post I wanted to share how I got my dream job as a growth marketer!

Apparently the demand for positions around growth marketing are accelerating quickly.

Startups are realizing how important this role can be for their overall success.

So I wanted to write about how I got this job, and how you can you potentially find yourself in this wonderful world as well!

What Does A Growth Marketer Actually Do?

Before we dive into how I got the role, let's start by laying the foundations.

Growth marketing as a concept is still relatively new.

And being a growth marketer is even newer.

While you can see that 'growth marketing' has been growing consistently since 2012, the position of 'growth marketer' is just starting to take off.

Compare that to 'digital marketing' you can see that both are still tiny compared to the market as a whole.

Growth marketers essentially oversee all growth activities, from generating awareness to revenue.

This differs from a traditional digital marketer who focuses mostly on the top of the funnel, driving acquisition.

The other thing that differentiates a growth marketer compared to a digital marketer is the increased focus on experimentation.

Where a digital marketer might be hired to run a paid acquisition campaign, a growth marketer would be the one running the experiment to see whether or not paid acquisition is even a valid growth strategy for the business.

And this leads to the inevitable question.

Since I need to be across everything... do I need to then be the best at everything?!

Like how can I be good enough at not only paid acquisition to manage that channel properly, but also SEO? And what about a/b testing? And user experience?! Email marketing?!! Nurture funnels?!?! AND THEY NEED PRIORY SHOPIFY EXPERIENCE BUT ONLY IN FRENCH? 😬

Luckily our role doesn't require us to be the great at everything.

Which brings me onto the concept of a T-Shaped Growth Marketer.

The T Is Your Best Friend 🤗

Like I just said, luckily for us, we don't need to be the best at everything.

But a good starting point is to have a strong understanding of the foundations.

Depending on the size of the company, you'll usually be working across a lot of different departments.

And with multiple departments, comes multiple priorities.

And it's your job to figure out how to bring each department on the journey of growth, and sometimes which departments or growth ideas get funding.

The UX team might have built an awesome new homepage, but maybe they left out that sales copy that was critical for conversion. And did we really need to spend that much on a redesign? Maybe a simple refresh could have delivered better results.

And now your paid acquisition team is asking for all the budget. They're delivering really good results, but the frequency of the ads is getting high which might start to compromise your long term growth. Also, do they need all the budget? What if we gave half of it to the content team instead, could they deliver something even better?

Or maybe you could bring the three teams together to create a landing page that will really help reduce your cost per acquisition.

By having a strong understanding of the foundations, you can make decisions based on the whole picture and ensure the team is along for the journey.

And while a strong foundation is important, usually you've also got a secret weapon up your sleeve.

As you can see below, I've gone and helped Buffer update their T-Shaped Marketer Framework a bit by drawing on the T and adding the word growth 😂

You can tell my secret weapon is not my drawing ability!

Generally a growth marketer has deep knowledge in one field, and a strong foundation in the rest.

For me, I've spent the last few years building websites, getting them to rank, and more recently, running some juicy paid ad campaigns.

So while I would probably run the worlds worst in-person events, or PR campaigns, I have a lot of competence running ads, and I'm pretty solid at SEO.

But this whole section begs the question, if you don't have the job yet, how do you learn?!

Personally? I'm a big believer of launching your own stuff, having a blast, failing, and documenting the journey!

How Do I Practice & Learn? 😬

While I never had a formal position as a growth marketer, I always had some passion projects on the side.

Whether it was selling candy at school that I bought from the dairy in the morning.

Or building an affiliate site to sell dog products (my low point).

Or building a wholesome marketing agency working with incredible companies we believed in (my high point).

I've always been experimenting and every failure simply led to a great story.

Through each endeavor I learned more and more about how to sell things online, AKA digital marketing.

And when I started to document the journey, I turned it into one big experiment, AKA growth marketing.

When I applied for the job, they didn't seem to care about the failures along the way.

In fact, they were impressed because through failing so much, I had some pretty awesome wins!

My advice if you're just starting out is to try to launch something.

Sign-up to a free account on Shopify and build an eCommerce site.

Try to simply make one sale.

That's it!

Or sign-up to a Squarespace account, and attempt to create a website.

Write a few blog posts about something you're really into at the moment.

As you do that, you'll hit roadblocks.

Simply jump on YouTube, watch a video, learn, and improve.

Boom, another roadblock?! Yeap! Time for another video.

I also found that documenting the journey of learning made it so much easier.

Your job application will stand out night and day compared to the rest because they can literally see that you apply the growth mindset to life.

"Hey, 3-months ago I didn't know how to launch an ad. But now look! 3-months later I made a sale. Here's all the stuff I tried. Here's everything I learned."

That's how I got all of my opportunities and that's who I'd want in my team.

It's all about experimentation.

Experimentation Station 🧪

I think the reason I love growth marketing so much is because I find it's how I grow in my personal life too.

It's all about know what you're after, taking a guess at the best way to get there, and then seeing whether it worked or not and trying again.

In other words it's about:

  1. Creating a system to prioritise growth ideas.
  2. Figuring out how to measure each experiment.
  3. Facilitating the experiment and writing down your learnings.

I write about the whole growth marketing process here if you're keen to learn so I won't dive into it too much here.

If you're keen to try it out, start with your personal life.

Experiment Idea: Giving in to my desire to eat pizza for breakfast in the morning will make me happier and more productive 🍕

ICE Score: 🧊🧊🧊

Riskiest Assumption: Food and nutrition don't matter. It's more about following my impulses.

Success: Doing 10 30-minute work sprints (pomodoros) instead of my usual 6.

Failure: Doing 4 30-minute work sprints instead of my usual 6.


Unfortunate outcome: Did none of my pomodoros. Back to eating healthy.

When in lockdown amiright?!

Okay, I didn't actually run this experiment, but you get the idea 😂

Can you optimise your sleep?

What about cold showers?

What about recording your shower thoughts and turning it into a podcast?

There are growth experiments all around us. Usually we fall into the habit of doing the same thing every day, so why not test out a few of our assumptions?

Why not document this?

And why not turn this into your job application?

Where To Find Growth Roles?

My particular journey started on Facebook.

I jumped on Facebook one morning like I do most mornings to access the Business Manager and check out how my ads are performing.

But this time, I saw the following post:

It was on a group I joined called the 'NZ Startup Ecosystem'.

Reading that post was the first time in a long time that a job ad actually made me laugh with that opening line.

I was hooked.

But apart from random chance, where can you find growth roles?

Here's a list of places to start your journey:

  • Facebook groups: Check to see if there are any startup groups in your area/country
  • LinkedIn Jobs: I'm so surprised to see LinkedIn stepping up their game so much over the past few years.
  • And my personal favourite - reaching out to people on LinkedIn who are in the position you're curious about.

The last of the three by far is probably the easiest and most value-driven way to get your next job.

Simply reach out to people in a role similar to the role you're interested in and seeing if they'd be okay for a quick 15-minute where you can ask some questions.

Then reach out to people in companies you like the look of and do the same, this time focusing on what the company culture is like.

Worst case scenario if you focus on making genuine connections is you'll have tens of people who will ping you when they spot a new opportunity.

The key here is genuine connection. Don't wast their time, don't be late, prepare some thoughtful questions, actually do your research before the call etc. I shouldn't need to write this but I think we've all experienced our fair share of time wasters 😥

Choose Company Wisely 🔥

Last but not least, one of the biggest things that anyone in marketing needs to do is choose who they work for wisely.

I've had to learn time and time again in all stages of my career.

While you can have some say, as a marketer your job is usually to amplify the amazing work the company is doing.

So if they have really bad reviews, and they're desperate for growth, no marketer in the world can help.

The biggest red flag to watch out for is when a company is hiring a marketer out of desperation.

Their sales are declining and essentially you're their last bet. 🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩

I've been in this position far too many times and it's guaranteed to create the most stressful, unpleasant environment, even if you do a great job!

But if you've read this far, you have chosen wisely.

That's it for this post!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out!

Here's my LinkedIn and Twitter, also I have a contact form too ✨

PSST: From New Zealand to New York, I’m creating a cosy Field Guide of my journey as I move across the globe in 90 days and attempt to land my dream job!
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Steven Male

Written by Steven Male

Hey I'm Steven, and I'm moving to NYC! ✌︎

I have 10 years experience in growth marketing, mostly recently the Marketing Director at Sunobi, and currently helping the digital world become more accessible through my passion project, Hello Access! We've worked with teams at Stripe, Meta, and more.


More from the Blog

Growth Marketing Meets Job Hunting: Week 2 of My NYC Job Hunt

Growth Marketing Meets Job Hunting: Week 2 of My NYC Job Hunt

From 'aha' to 'oh no' welcome to week two of my journey to move from NZ to NYC and find my dream marketing job in NYC!

Read More
A New Job And A Move To NYC 🛫

A New Job And A Move To NYC 🛫

From New Zealand to New York, I’m creating a cosy Field Guide of my journey as I move across the globe in 90 days and attempt to land my dream job!

Read More