Nate Jorgensen's Crash Course to Advancing Your Marketing Career — 5 Lessons from Miami University’s Sr. Director Of Marketing

June 12, 2024

On this week's episode of How The F*** Did You Get That Job, I sat down with Nate Jorgensen, a guy whose career journey has been filled with all sorts of ups and downs and twists and turns. From his early days as a sports information director at Defiance College to his current role as Senior Director of Academic Marketing and Communications at Miami University, Nate's path is a prime example of embracing the unexpected and turning challenges into opportunities.

In our conversation, Nate and I took an honest look at what it takes to build a fulfilling career in a field where the only constant is change. As he shared his journey, it became clear that his success isn't only a result of his impressive skills or his willingness to work hard - it's a testament to his ability to stay true to himself, to lean into his unique experiences, and to find the lesson in every turn.

You can catch the full episode with Nate here:

But in the meantime, here is some food for thought from Nate that just might change the way you think about your own career:

1. Resilience is a Muscle

For Nate, the foundation of his resilience was forged on the high school football field of all places.

"I was a really late bloomer. So to survive that [freshman football], not thrive, but just to survive. When my wife and I had triplets—which was more challenging than anything job related—I thought about freshman football all the time. I was like, I made it through freshman football, I can make it through this month of dealing with these screaming babies."

Nate's experience is a reminder that the challenges we face as kids and teens—such as brutal football practices where you get your a** kicked—aren't just silly obstacles to overcome and forget. They're opportunities to build the mental and emotional strength we'll need to deal with hard times both in our personal and professional lives as we get older.

2. Embrace the Plot Twists

Nate never expected to become a director just three months into his job at the University of Cincinnati. But when the opportunity presented itself, he didn't hesitate.

"Within three months, I went from the fourth in command to the director. I had no idea if I could do it. And I just went into it full speed and found out that I could. It was that simple."

It's a classic case of being thrown into the deep end and learning to swim. But it's also proof to the power of saying yes to opportunities, even when - especially when - we don't feel fully prepared. Nate's willingness to take on a challenge he wasn't sure he was ready for set the stage for his future success as a leader. It's a solid reminder that growth is often on the other side of discomfort.

3. Real Leaders Step Up in a Crisis

When the dual crises of COVID-19 and America’s reckoning with its racial challenges in 2020, Nate found himself at the helm of a ship in rocky waters.

"It was a lot of those times where it was, ‘We need this message from the dean by this time,’ and I'm not gonna get that approval. And so I just had to stand up.”

In moments of crisis, it's easy to panic and lose your composure. But Nate understands that sometimes you just have to make tough calls with imperfect information. He’s willing to stand up, even when it's uncomfortable, and provide the guidance his team needs. It's a skill that rarely comes naturally, but it can be developed by forcing yourself into new and challenging experiences.

4. Your Network is Your Net Worth

As Nate contemplated his next career move, he found invaluable support and guidance in his network of higher education marketing leaders.

"Hearing that other people who were in big roles like that felt that way, that just made me realize I can do it too."

It's a truth as old as time: who you know matters. But Nate's experience suggests that having a strong network goes beyond just opening doors. The right professional relationships can provide a sounding board for ideas, a source of candid feedback, and a support system that helps you deal with the ups and downs of your career.

5. Over-Prepared > Under-Prepared

When the opportunity at Miami University came knocking, Nate knew he had to come correct.

"I worked on my presentation for a month before my interview there. And so that's another thing too, that I think a lot of people don't take job interviews seriously enough."

In a competitive job market, the difference between landing it and being passed over often comes down to preparation. By investing time and effort into getting ready for his interview, Nate showed his future employer that he was taking the opportunity and was willing to go the extra mile.

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