The Google Sheet that landed my dream content marketing job

On Monday the 27th of November, 2017, I started my new job as Content Manager at the UK’s fastest growing software company.

Four days later, I quit. I had no fallback.

At the time, I was certain I’d landed my dream job. I’d transitioned from small agency to rocket-ship startup. I was working with a team of seasoned startup veterans. The company had £15 million in funding, and the week of my start date, was declared the fastest growing software company in the UK. I was the company’s second marketing hire.

But I was also working in London, a 150-minute commute from doorstep to doorstep. I was out of the door at 5:30AM, and back at 8PM. I boarded at the start of one trainline, and disembarked at the end of another.

Many people deal with a similar—or much worse—reality. Others still seem to thrive on it. I am not one of those people. The idea of wasting five hours of my life, each and every day, sent me spiralling into depression. I would leave the house three hours before my wife woke, and return to barely two hours of time together. I missed her desperately.

At least I managed the classic “first day at a startup” photo opportunity

At least I managed the classic “first day at a startup” photo opportunity

By Thursday, just four days in, I had decided to quit. My manager and the company executives were empathetic and kind, but on the train ride home, my relief morphed into outright panic. I had no job, and no safety net. I had ruled out working in London, the UK’s largest startup hub. The type of job I wanted—that I had shaped my career around—didn’t exist anywhere else.

I was, it seemed, utterly fucked.

Remote work or bust

After several days of reflection (a euphemism for panicking), remote work seemed like the only desirable solution. Companies like Buffer proved that I could, theoretically, have my cake and eat it: sticking it out as a content manager, while ditching the brutal commute. But if landing my dream job at Paddle felt like a fluke, landing the same job at a remote company, working from home each day, seemed impossible.

I dealt with my anxiety the only way I knew how: by building a spreadsheet.

Job searching became my full-time pursuit. I found two dozen remote working sites. I looked up advanced search operators to help surface vacancies from company career pages. I created reusable application templates for three different types of job—copywriter, content manager and growth marketer. I created a rigorous process for managing outreach, follow-up and interview. I created a system for vetting and prioritising every vacancy. I collated it all into a beautiful colour-coded spreadsheet.

In the space of two weeks, I sent 56 job applications and queued up over two dozen more. I had phone conversations with 12 startups, and secured work from companies like Zapier and Reforge. I started the New Year with—miraculously–multiple job offers, including the company I work at today.

Still the best email I’ve ever received

Still the best email I’ve ever received

There’s nothing magical about the approach I used: it was just a way to turn something big, scary and shapeless (my vague career goals) into something manageable, rewarding and concrete (getting a remote content marketing job). This spreadsheet may not work for you—but then again, it might just provide the impetus you need to find the job you’ve always wanted.

The spreadsheet can be adapted to any job or industry, but as an added bonus for my fellow content marketers, I’ve left in a few of the fruits of my labour, including:

  • 82 companies with a track-record of hiring remote marketers

  • 22 job sources for remote marketing vacancies, including custom Google search operators

  • Email addresses for CEOs, CMOs and HR leads at most of the companies included

…and a real-life insight into exactly what it takes to land your dream job: tenacity (and a kickass spreadsheet).

By clicking the link below, you can make your own copy, and tweak it to your heart’s content.

The spreadsheet

Becoming a better content marketer

In 2019, I’m sharing a whole heap of lessons, tools, templates and resources—in short, everything that’s helped me become a better content marketer over the last eight years.

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How I became Content Manager at the UK’s fastest growing software company