It’s assumed that there is a natural order to success. Grade school, college, then career. The most direct path, for most people, is a fairytale. It would be nice to walk into your dream job interview still wearing your graduation cap, hand them your degree and be done with it…but what many people lack is experience.
There is a well known phrase among job seekers, “No one will hire me because I don’t have experience, but how can I get experience if no one hires me?”. There are plenty of ways to get the experience you need. Here are a few suggestions to get you on the right track.
Odds are you don’t fall into your dream job right out of the gate. If you do, congratulations you’re in the minority. Otherwise, explore every opportunity that comes your way! Realistically you may need to find another job in the meantime because scrolling through indeed.com doesn’t pay the bills. Generic business knowledge like customer service, invoicing, meeting deadlines, and management are simple but important skills to understand. In the end, you will learn something that will aid you in your future career.
2. Seek answers
For every question you have, make it your duty to find the answer. Never be content with “I don’t know”. If you have an idea but don’t know how to execute it. FIND OUT. Simple as that.
In this day and age, finding answers is child’s play. The internet is riddled with tutorials, how-to guides, and first hand experiences. It would be silly not to take advantage. There are plenty of free youtube channels that show you everything from dressing for an interview to expert level design program manipulations. A popular alternative is lydia.com.
Most credited agencies, large and small, provide internships. Use them to figure out where you fit in. Do you prefer the creative or the strategic side? Large corporations or small agencies? Fortune 500 or non-profit? There are universal marketing skills to learn but each company does things differently. Once in your internship, take advantage of everything at your disposal. Work with public relations, graphic designers, copywriters, account managers, and photography to soak up everything you can. Master your skills but don’t be afraid to wear multiple hats. The more you know, the easier you make it for people to hire you.
Volunteer your skills. Make wedding invitations for your friends that just got engaged, design business cards for your hair dresser, or create a logo for your book club. Do everything and anything even if they didn’t ask you to. Practice on family and friends that are required to still love you no matter how terrible your first attempts are. Best case scenario, they like the product and recommend you to someone and you land the perfect job. Worst case scenario, you have a skill set to add to your resume or portfolio. Win win for everyone, really. The only way to learn is to dive in and make mistakes.
The cliche saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is definitely true. Although, I wish it weren’t so that people would quit saying it so often.
- Talk to friends and family in a related field…no one will talk you up better than your own friend.
- You may already be apart of a network like an alumni association. Look for events and conventions to reconnect with these groups. Attend events with friends so you can be introduced to people with whom you wouldn’t normally be in contact.
- Everywhere you go make sure you are handing out business cards like they are candy. If you have a bland card or none at all, spend the time making something interesting and memorable.
Having a relationship with like-minded individuals gives you the opportunity to get advice. This tried and tested knowledge your associates provide can not be found in any ‘Marketing for Dummies’ book you may or may not have bought.
Experience isn’t only gaining knowledge to do your job, it’s also gaining the confidence to do it well. This trial and error period is actually exciting. You are able to try new things, learn more about your field naturally, and have the freedom of pursuing success without fear of failure.
Written by: Maddie Tieken