Saturday, January 03, 2015

How to land a job where you can travel and write

I'm often asked about my travels and work. For the past four years, I've been incredibly blessed to work as a strategist and writer for one of the largest academic publishing, business intelligence, and global events organizations in the world.

My work has allowed me to trip the world fantastic and go abroad to places such as Prague in Czech Republic, Zurich in Switzerland, Copenhagen in Denmark, Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Munich in Germany, usually for 5-8 consecutive, immersive days. From my very early days of wanderlust-driven, barefoot swinging, over our East Harlem fire escape, sunset-watching, I knew I wanted to be a globetrotter, an explorer. As I got older, this passion overtook me, especially in the spring and I pledged I would try to visit at least one new place or country every year.

I also visited Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, and at least half of the United States, including Hawaii, Missouri, Nashville. So far...

So how did I do it? How can you?

I'm a writer. My company was looking for a clever, communications expert with sharp editorial skills who could independently and quickly adapt coverage of live events into digital content; narratives, blog posts, tweets, interviews, podcast and video as well as someone who could align and oversee that this messaging matched the branding, mission, values and customer's needs. It was and is a great fit.

In a way, it is very much like being a journalist.

There is always something going on, something to write about, to bear witness to, every couple of months it's an actual event, and I go on location to cover the "story." For much of the year and pretty much every day, I am first brainstorming ideas and campaigns to story map content and fuel marketing at a top level and then implementing that messaging in smaller nuggets and variants across different channels and formats. It's not always easy. You have to ready at any given moment to anticipate what people/clients would be interested in reading and knowing more about and crafting the right recipe for delivery. There are many moving parts.

There were once few positions outside of traditional publishing and journalism where you got paid to write. But that's all changed. As a blogger, reviewer or analyst, today it's a very level playing field for anyone who's skilled and creative as a communicator.

Make it well known that you write well, effectively, clearly and quickly. At one of my previous jobs, the CEO gave me a special project, which involved going to many technology conferences and writing up trends and research forecasts for higher ups.

If you want to explore the world and travel, don't be afraid to match up your skill sets against market needs in hospitality and travel (think large hotel or restaurant chains, airlines), events (yes, you really can run away and join the circus, festival, conference) and event planning, or teaching/training/consultancies (running workshops or speaking), media production - event photography, video and summaries.

Oh yea and keep your passport valid and go-bag at arm's length so you're always ready to roll out.

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