CHATTANOOGA CREATIVE PROFESSIONAL LOOKING FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES
GOAL: Following 5 years at a full-service digital marketing agency with dozens of clients, I am looking for other opportunities where I can focus on marketing for one company.
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What I Want from My Next Job
I’m primarily driven by the desire to do good, creative work. I’m seeking a full-time salaried or contract position working for a company eager to grow, offering an environment where my creativity and time are appreciated and rewarded.
And What I DON'T Want
I’ve worked with people from all over the planet. I’ve gotten along with folks I share very little in common with, even people who subscribe to very different belief systems. I’ve also, unfortunately, been a part of teams in which one person creates chaos and drama. I want to avoid toxic environments.
What I offer that others do not
I’ve started businesses, so I understand the need to produce results, efficiently use resources, and find innovative ways to gain a competitive edge over the other guys. I’m not perfect, but I am very loyal and will work hard for those who treat me with professionalism and respect. YOUR goals become my goals once I join your tribe and buy into your brand.
COPYWRITING AND EDITING
I have extensive experience in blogging, social content generation, marketing emails, writing proposals, and marketing copy for online and print projects, as well as writing analytical and commentary pieces as a former journalist and current marketing blogger.
I have the capacity to think critically about the target audience and marketing message, research keywords for marketing outreach and measuring results. I can adjust my tone based on brand voice and target audience, reaching diverse readerships ranging from teenagers to retirees. My skills include getting feedback from internal stakeholders and making adjustments while keeping projects on time and budget.
Good writing comes from saying something interesting with an economy of words presented in the best voice and in the most effective formats.
SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT
I’ve managed multiple corporate Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube pages. I know the specs and best practices. My experience gives me the speed to create and share content so brands are never “out of sight, out of mind.” I make a point of knowing what matters to followers of a brand and delivering on that. Building reach and encouraging interaction drive progress toward desired results. I earned a Master’s degree in Strategic Communications and have taught college-level courses on the topic, so I know the complexities of crafting messages for niche readerships.
I monitor brand mentions online and respond to consumer reviews, primarily on Google My Business, Zenreach, TripAdvisor, Grade.us, and Yelp. I consider this one of my greatest strengths turning negative feedback into positive communications by demonstrating that brands care and want to demonstrate this to buyers. I communicate with the client, get the other side of the story, and calmly, politely respond in ways that put the brand in the best possible light under the circumstances.
One of my favorite tasks in marketing is sitting down with someone at the early stages of a concept and contributing my ideas toward making it more possible. From suggesting visual elements for a campaign to asking the critical questions that make the next steps possible, I really enjoy the branding process.
WORKING WITH THIRD-PARTY RESOURCES
Success can depend on professional relationships and the ability to maintain good communications. For years, I’ve successfully coordinated with vendors to do things like making sure print projects are completed on spec and delivered to clients on time and within budget, ensuring that time-sensitive publications are completed by deadlines, and finding what motivates stakeholders on the periphery to deliver as needed. I’m also experienced working with other creative team members, particularly editors, developers, graphic designers, and account managers. I’ve even collaborated remotely with teams on different continents.
IDENTIFYING GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES
I’ve always known that growth is key to success. Stagnation is decline. My creativity extends to researching and presenting cross-promotional opportunities. One of my sideline hustles is helping ordinary people on social media grow their follower counts and organic reach, increasing the likelihood of becoming micro-influencers.
ANALYTICS AND REPORTING
Goals are great, but success can only be verified with proper analytics and reporting systems to track results and determine areas that need any adjustment. My skills extend to collecting information on the performance of banner advertising, email marketing opens and clicks, and social media reach of promoted post content.
During my career, I’ve worked as an Account Manager coordinating tasks for double-digit clients and taken on leadership roles in pursuit of company projects. I am very confident in my ability to manage a creative team and systematically complete necessary tasks.
Interviewing: I’ve conducted interviews with public officials, celebrities, prospective employees, and personalities being featured on websites and in newspaper and magazine articles. This requires the ability to listen carefully, ask follow-up questions, verify facts and quotes, and translate the spoken word to text or video.
Studio Photography and Photo Art Direction: From portraiture to product photography, a major element I bring to the table is my strobe photography gear, the knowledge of studio lighting techniques, and the ability to capture still and video images of people and things that are stylish. I have no issue with utilizing my gear on an as-needed basis to produce content for my new employer if this makes me more enticing as a potential addition to your team.
Photo Editing/Retouching: At Savvy, I reviewed photo shoots, selected which images would go into photo sets and retouched the final selections before publishing to remove wrinkle lines, blemishes, smoothen skin, liquify the form, etc. When I do headshots, I produce the same effect.
Videography: Video is a long-term interest of mine, but one that I have not done nearly as much as I would like. It’s one of the reasons I left Savvy to go work for a television channel and one of my primary motivations for moving on to new things. Producing more video is absolutely one of my ambitions.
Advertising: My experience in this field comes mostly from reporting on the performance of website and email newsletter banner ads, but I’ve also undergone training on Google Adwords and finishing up the process of becoming Google certified in search ads.
Proofreading/Quality Control: In my current position, most content flows through myself to screen for spelling and grammatical errors, as well as replacing passive verbs and restructuring content. In my position with the television network, my responsibilities included watching the channel, monitoring for any technical issues, and reporting quality control issues.
Scheduling: For the television network, I was responsible for the 24/7/365 scheduling of all commercials and programming blocks.
Content Aggregation: Not only have I created original content, but I also have years of content curation experience, evaluating third-party material for sharing on publishing channels. I’ve negotiated usage rights, enforced copyright protections against content theft, and evaluated integration of others’ works into publications.
Speed: I can type at 60 WPM and mentally organize a document while writing it. Tight newspaper deadlines and timed marketing agency tasks have shaped my ability to quickly craft copy and edit initial drafts.
Industries I have experience promoting
- Retirement Communities (Assisted Living)
- Hospitality (hotels, restaurants, bars)
- Food Products (toffee maker, snack products,
- Financial Services
- Nonprofit Organizations
- Arts Organizations
- Healthcare (radiation oncologist, dentists, oral surgeon)
- Veterinary Practices
- Manufacturing (furniture, flooring, artificial turf)
- Entertainment (amusement park, marina, comedy clubs)
- Retail (furniture stores,
- Storage Vendors
- Interior Design
- Equipment and Event Rentals
- Literary Review Publications
I’ve done a variety of jobs during my career. My first job was working as the fry guy at a Wendy’s restaurant. While still in high school in my hometown, I was among one of the first delivery drivers for the local Pizza Hut franchise. While in college, I got a position on the editorial team for the Auburn Alumni Association magazine.
Upon graduation, I joined the staff of the small daily newspaper back home, covering city council and school board meetings, plus contributing opinion columns. Over the course of several years, I served as the interim managing editor on three occasions and worked successfully with four different publishers. Eager to advance my career, I accepted an offer to be the Assistant Publisher at a twice-a-week newspaper elsewhere in the same company. I became the very public face of the community, writing opinion columns, attending Rotary Club meetings, etc.
I had a sideline publishing venture online using my photography and writing skills. A company in California created a similar site and reached out to my partner and I to acquire our site and brand. I was offered a job that paid significantly more than my newspaper job and allowed me to work from home. I took that company, Xposed.com, through a rebranding into a fashion-forward men’s lifestyle website and social network, Savvy.com. The timing of this ran parallel to the emergence of Facebook. The site ranked on Alexa.com as the third most popular (visited) website in the world in the men’s lifestyle category for three consecutive years.
After about 5 years with Savvy, I was offered a position at another start-up, a television network created by a group of former Showtime executives called MavTV. In addition to promoting the channel among niche viewerships as part of the larger goal of getting it added to more cable and satellite providers, I handled their social media presence and the daily scheduling of programming and commercials. After four years of promotion, the channel grew to a point where it became an attractive acquisition for a petroleum product company that had aired its motorsports programming on it. That company shifted my position to their existing marketing department, leaving me out of work. It is at that point I decided to pursue my Master’s degree while looking for a new job in my field (during the “Great Recession”).
I entered the academic community, working as an adjunct professor in Troy University’s online program for a couple of years while also starting a new full-time position as a copywriter, photographer and social media account manager at a full-service digital marketing firm in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I just passed my five-year mark there.
Throughout my career, photography has been a common thread. In addition to what is above, I operated my own commercial photography studio full-time for three years, shutting it down when I had the opportunity to go work for a Master Photographer in Chattanooga. I apprenticed with him for a while, then returned to the newspaper industry at the same company where I started my writing career. In the years since, I’ve continued to do photography work as a freelancer.
BACHELOR'S DEGREE - AUBURN UNIVERSITY
I graduated from Fort Payne High School, briefly attended Northeast Alabama Community College on scholarship, then graduated from Auburn University (War Eagle!) with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications.
I studied communication in all of its forms to build communication expertise, broaden perspectives, and develop critical thinking. The curriculum is designed to examine communication in areas such as leadership, politics, health, and organizations and expand on knowledge of social discourse, research methods, rhetoric, and interpersonal or intercultural communication.
Since employers consistently rank communication skills as first among qualities they seek in future employees, the program provided me with an excellent foundation to excel in my career as a marketing account executive or project manager.
My studies at Auburn also included a number of Journalism courses to develop a thorough foundation in how to research and report news and features and the importance of grammar, spelling, word usage, and Associated Press style. This was supplemented by hands-on practical employment experience in the journalism field as a student writer at the Auburn Alumni Association publication, now called Auburn Magazine.
Public Relations courses exposed me to critical thinking, ethical reasoning, and problem solving, applying these skills to writing and strategic thinking.
Additionally, coursework included English courses in creative writing and how to successfully research complex technical and professional information and present that work effectively. Courses in Studio Art challenged me to develop my own approach to art by critically examining a diverse and dynamic mixture of stylistic and aesthetic viewpoints.
This combination of learning and experience prepared me to successfully report the news at a daily newspaper immediately upon graduation.
MASTER OF SCIENCE DEGREE - TROY UNIVERSITY
TROY’s Master of Science in Strategic Communication is a 30-credit-hour program that can be completed within one year. This graduate program appealed to me as a way of adding the skills of effective communication and creating solutions to challenging communication issues.
These skills are recognized as valued and critical to professional success in all major professions. In addition, I gained knowledge in emerging communication technologies, crisis communication management and the strategic use of social media in an innovative communication environment.
CliftonStrengths Assessment Results
In an effort to play to the strengths of staff members, one of my past employers had everyone in the organization participate in taking the CliftonStrengths assessment. The following recommendations came from that process…
The assessment determined that among my strengths is an ability to have vivid ideas about the future, fueling this by feeding my curiosity about technology, science, and research to gain knowledge to stimulate my imagination. These talents equip me to be a guide or coach for others and inspire them. It recommended I surround myself with people who are eager to put ideas into motion.
Intellection is another strength, and the findings recommend building relationships with people who are big thinkers and will inspire me to focus my own thinking. I am at my best getting involved on the front end of projects and initiatives when my insights can be most valuable. It stated that scheduling time for thinking can be energizing, so I need to use occasions to muse and reflect.
Another strength: adaptability. That is, calmly, intelligently, and readily responding to circumstances while helping friends, colleagues, and clients find ways to collect themselves and take control of situations when the pressure is on. As reflected in my past experience as a journalist and working in live television production, I am able to react fast and stay levelheaded.
“Your Adaptability talents give you an even-keel mindset that lets you ride the ups and downs without becoming an emotional volcano,” the Clifton Strengths assessment recommended. “Your ‘don’t cry over spilled milk’ approach will help you quickly recover from setbacks. Recognize this aspect of your nature, and help your friends and colleagues understand that it is productive flexibility rather than an ‘I don’t care’ attitude.”
It accurately notes my need for variety and desire for flexibility, finding creative ways to make tasks more fun in some way.
The assessment also advised me to, “Look for jobs in which you are charged with acquiring new information each day, such as teaching, research, or journalism. Your mind is open and absorbent. You naturally soak up information in the same way that a sponge soaks up water. But just as the primary purpose of the sponge is not to permanently contain what it absorbs, neither should your mind simply store information. Input without output can lead to stagnation. As you gather and absorb information, be aware of the individuals and groups that can most benefit from your knowledge, and be intentional about sharing with them.”
Finally, the assessment stated I am very “strategic” because I can see repercussions more clearly than others can. “You are likely to anticipate potential issues more easily than others. Though your awareness of possible danger might be viewed as negativity by some, you must share your insights if you are going to avoid these pitfalls. To prevent misperception of your intent, point out not only the future obstacle, but also a way to prevent or overcome it. Trust your insights, and use them to ensure the success of your efforts,” it read.
“Make sure that you are involved in the front end of new initiatives or enterprises. Your innovative yet procedural approach will be critical to the genesis of a new venture because it will keep its creators from developing deadly tunnel vision.”
This assessment very accurately captured the essence of my strengths. I strongly encourage any organization that wants to know its team better to invest in having everyone participate in the Clifton Strengths assessment.
Three accomplishments that have given me the most satisfaction…
- When clients give feedback that they are happy with the uptick in response from customers.
- The Savvy.com website achieving the #2 spot in the men’s lifestyle category for 3 consecutive years, just behind Askmen.com. It was a team effort, but I feel that my hard work producing content had some role in that success, working with a fraction of the other site’s production budget.
- Maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA while earning my Master’s degree in 2013.
And, of course, I am very proud of my daughter, who graduates high school in 2020.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED FROM MY EXPERIENCES
What I’ve learned from my mistakes…
I’ve learned that I can be very hard on myself. Excruciatingly so, but it usually motivates me to be proactive and address an issue before it becomes one. I’m not someone that a boss has to scream at because there’s nothing he or she can say to me that will be any harder than the sense of shame and disappointment that I will inflict upon myself. I’m so wary of letting others down that I can go overboard trying to resolve whatever issue is at hand. So, I guess you could say that failure feels really bad, but if I can avoid repeating mistakes, even the bad stuff can end up having a positive impact.
What I’ve learned from past jobs…
Even the best job in the world will have some component that no one wants to do but the greatest way I can offer value is to take on those tasks. Job security comes from making yourself so valuable to an employer that he or she will have to hire 2 or 3 people just to replace you.
Other Interesting Things You May Not Know
I am a Past-President of the Fort Payne Jaycees organization. I chaired projects such as Adopt-a-Mile roadside pickup of garbage and chaired the annual Haunted House to raise fund for a shopping tour for underprivileged children each Christmas.
In high school, I was on the Yearbook staff as a graphic designer, caption writer and layout person. I was not the staff photographer and did not discover my love of photography until I was at college.
If you Google my name, you will inevitably see some photos of models in bikinis. This is because I have several years of experience photographing swimwear from a variety of brands in a Spring Break-themed calendar, as well as art directing so much of the content for the men’s lifestyle websites and television channel that I worked for in the 2000s. If I’d know that my name would be so closely linked to these images, I would have used an alias. But not because I am ashamed of anything I’ve done. Guys who act creepy taking pictures of pretty girls ruin it for those of us who just happen to photograph models the same way I’ve photographed furniture or food. Fashion photography is about portraying a lifestyle and implying that the acquisition of a brand’s product can make the buyer more likely to attain that more ideal state. What you should take away from the images you’ll find under my name is that I have a strong ability to capture a person’s personality on camera, give direction and sustain professional relationships leading to continued long-term associations and collaborations. I hope that this photography does not disqualify me from working at your company, but if it does, we probably aren’t a good match anyway.
I am a divorced single dad. I have a 17-year-old daughter who is about to start her senior year of high school. Wherever I get a new job, she will more than likely attend college at the nearest college or university. She wants to study coding and work on computers like I do.
Wherever I do relocate to, I will be looking to buy a home shortly after getting settled. Following 5 years of commuting an hour each way 5 days a week, I want to put down roots, get involved in a community, make friends, meet the love of my life, and attain happiness doing my photography and working for you!
I’ve had the commute because my daughter lives there with my ex-wife in my hometown. There’s very few professional opportunities in Fort Payne, Alabama, and Chattanooga is the closest “large” town for me to find a job doing what I do best. I feel it has been important for me to remain close to my daughter and have a meaningful presence in her life during her adolescent years. After all, she is the very reason I’ve worked so hard, and she’s worth it. With her graduation approaching, greater flexibility of options are opening up for me/us. She remains my reason for living and constantly working to better myself.