In this week’s edition of the Vertical Measures employee interview series, I sit down with Abby Gilmore to discuss how she used social media to land her job at VM, her love of classic rock, Super Bowl XXXVIII and anniversary skydiving.
Michael Schwartz: There’s only one way to start this interview. You are the only Vertical Measures intern to become a full-time employee, and you did it in not much more than a month. What was the key to your quick promotion?
Abby Gilmore: When I was hired as an intern after graduating from ASU in May, I was very eager to learn the ins and outs of the Internet marketing industry. I knew a bit about the industry through previous endeavors and my own curiosity, but not much. As soon as I started, I immersed myself in all things Internet marketing and volunteered to help with any project I could. As a result, I was able to learn from each department and member of the Vertical Measures team. I was involved in it all, from link building and SEO to content marketing and promotions. I worked really hard, and it paid off!
Michael: You won the Vertical Measures “Ode to SEO” poetry contest with your creative piece, “Social Media Overload.” You have also written about how social media helped you get this job. Why did you feel so strongly about going the social route to a job and how can other recent graduates replicate your results?
Abby: I love interacting on social sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for a few reasons. I live 3,000 miles away from home, so it is nice to keep in touch with family and friends back east. Also, I have connected with many people in the industry through social media, which led me to my job here at VM. I started following Content Strategist Elise Redlin-Cook on Twitter and eventually met her at an AZIMA event. I then found out about the “Ode to SEO” contest through her Twitter, and eventually found out about VM’s internship program through Twitter as well.
So many businesses post jobs on social media sites nowadays, job seekers are missing out if they are not checking Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for opportunities. Also, there are many recruiters actively searching social media sites for candidates. My advice to recent graduates looking for a job would be to build a professional presence on social media sites, connect with locals in your industry and search, search, search!
Michael: You studied journalism with an emphasis in public relations at ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism. How has that background helped you in the Internet marketing field?
Abby: At the Cronkite School I learned how to be a great writer by bringing color and splendor to each and every piece I write, no matter the subject matter. I think that carries over into many fields, not just journalism. This has proven to be true, as now in the Internet marketing field I find myself writing every single day. Whether it is a blog post, link request, content piece or promotional copy, I am using the writing skills I developed at Cronkite on a daily basis.
Michael: As one of our two resident Bostonians in the office, you have a love of all things Boston sports, Tom Brady and Rajon Rondo in particular. Same question I asked David. What’s the greatest Boston sports moment of the past decade?
Abby: Though I love the Red Sox and Celtics with all my heart, the greatest Boston sports moment for me was when the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Carolina Panthers, though for more personal reasons. In 2003 my little sister, Olivia (who was 11 at the time), was diagnosed with cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments for months and was in and out of the hospital constantly. It was a really hard time in my life, though it brought my family even closer together.
I remember spending that Super Bowl with my family, cheering on the Patriots and Tom Brady <3 as usual, and then going absolutely nuts when they won. But the best part was being able to go to the Patriots parade in Boston a few days after the big win. Olivia was nearing the end of her treatments and was well enough to go to the parade with my other sister, Alex, my dad and I. It was one of the first times I realized that Olivia really was going to be okay, and she is… cancer free to this day! It was just a great few days with my family, and of course, the Pats pulled out the win…so it was awesome!
Michael: You recently celebrated your one-year anniversary with your boyfriend Keegan. To commemorate that you jumped out of a plane. Am I crazy for thinking you’re crazy for doing that?
Abby: Hahah! Keegan and I agreed that we would rather make another unforgettable memory together instead of getting each other gifts to celebrate our first year of dating. And let me tell you, it was incredible! It was nothing that can be explained in words… so I suggest everyone trying it for themselves! It is truly worth the money and the hype. I had a blast and can’t wait to go skydiving again!
Michael: When you first started working at Vertical Measures a quote on your Facebook profile exclaimed: “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” How well does Keegan’s weirdness match up with your weirdness?
Abby: You know, I will probably always get teased for having that quote publicly displayed on my Facebook page, but I don’t care! Keegan and I are just very compatible. I stress about pretty much everything in my life and he is extremely laid back. He makes me worry less about the things I shouldn’t stress about and thinks my idiosyncrasies are cute, so I’m super lucky. What can I say, I love him!
Michael: Music is a major part of your life. You have religiously followed Phish around the country and seem to include them in every third tweet. What about Phish resonates with you so much?
Abby: Well, I grew up listening to classic rock, specifically the Grateful Dead. My parents and I used to make tie-dye T-shirts and sell them at concerts. The cultural aspect of Grateful Dead shows is what made them so fun (along with the great music, of course), and Phish shows have that same sort of community element. My parents never really got into Phish, until now! Also, I love Twitter, and lucky for me, Phish has a large Twitter following. I talk to “phans” around the world daily and have met quite a few of them at shows or tweet-ups, which has made the music experience even better for me.
Michael: In your free time you write for the local environmental magazine Green Living AZ. What’s your favorite story that you’ve written for the publication?
Abby: Hmm, that is a tough question! My favorite piece is titled, “You Sit You Die.” Sounds pretty intense, huh? It’s about how living a sedentary lifestyle or just sitting down for eight hours a day can shorten your lifespan. I found this fascinating, as I am working behind a computer for at least eight hours a day. It opened my eyes to ways I can get my metabolism pumping throughout the work day.
Michael: This is your sixth month at Vertical Measures, and in that time you’ve delved into everything from link building to social media to link worthy content creation. What attracts you to the Internet marketing field?
Abby: Yes, I am fortunate in that I have been able to work with so many aspects of Internet marketing in just six months. To be honest, I love all of it. Social media is something that I love personally and I am fascinated with how it is used in marketing. Also, I love the content creation portion of my position, because it allows me to be creative and usually involves a bit of research and writing, which I also really enjoy. The Internet marketing industry is attractive to me in general because I feel it is what is happening now and it is the future of marketing. Also, since the industry changes literally every day, it keeps me on my toes and I am continuously learning.
Michael: And finally what do you like most about working at Vertical Measures?
Abby: I like the work environment at Vertical Measures in that I can ask others for help when I need it and I am surrounded by such knowledgeable people. I look up to my colleagues and know some are the best in the industry, and being able to learn from the best is always a good thing!