Category Archives: interviewing

Persistence, Patience, and Positivity

I have to start this by saying when I started this job search I was under the impression that I would have found and started a good job within a couple of weeks. That happy little bubbled was quickly popped. When I think about it now I realize that my expectations were unrealistic, especially considering the current job market. I must admit that while I do realize that it takes more than a few weeks (its been four now for me) at times I have found it extremely discouraging.

This past weekend I found myself pretty depressed. I had sent in about thirty resumes that week and had had very little feedback by the time 5pm Friday rolled around. I was beginning to spiral downward in a self pity party, thinking maybe I would never find a job, maybe I wasn’t as smart and skilled as I thought I was. I am ashamed to admit that this pity party lasted the better part of the weekend. By Sunday afternoon, with the support of my family, I decided I was done being a downer. Being sorry for myself would not help my situation in any shape or form and honestly I was disgusted with myself because I do think very highly of myself and believe I can be successful in whatever I apply myself to.

Monday morning began with a new determination, persistence, and attitude. This is a marathon, not a sprint (which is actually better for me because I have short legs). I had an interview on Monday which I think went very well. I really liked the company and felt that I would fit well with them on an interpersonal level and that the position, Assistant Media Buyer, would be a great place for me to start my career. The only bummer was that they said they wouldn’t be able to get back to me for two weeks. My new attitude has me spinning this in a positive light: the wait gives me the chance to find another job so that when they offer me the position (because of course they will, I’m pretty awesome) I will be able to choose which job is better for me. And I have another interview tomorrow that seems promising.

As stressful and emotionally taxing as this job hunt has been so far, the lessons to be learned have not been lost on me. I am fortunate to say that in the past disappointment has been mostly a stranger to me. I have always been a smart, academically advanced student, only once had I applied to a job/internship that I did not receive, I have always been proud of my accomplishments and willingly shared them. This job hunt has taught me lessons in modesty, humility, and patience. While many of my friends have already begun exciting jobs or their first classes as grad students I have had to admit that no, I’m not working yet. I’m still looking. It has been an ego check but it has also made me realize how much I want a job where I can learn, grow, gain experience, and begin a lasting career with a stable company.

I am going to find a job that will be the perfect job for me at this point in my life. It will be perfect because it will set me on the road to reach my career goals. I might not find a job this week or next but I will find one. I will find one because I am persistent. I am patience. I will remain positive. And because I want it, I want it badly.

“Experience”

As a recent grad trying to land my first real job I have found ‘experience’ (or lack thereof in my case) the most difficult obstacle to overcome in my job search. Yes, I had three internships throughout college in marketing and sales positions and yes I have worked as a sales associate for Nordstrom on and off for the past four years whenever my class schedule permitted a job. However, I do lack professional experience. Not because I don’t want it, not because I am not qualified, and not because I haven’t tried but for the simple reason that most companies would rather hire someone who already has the experience. And with the job market and the economy the way it is, there is usually an applicant that has more experience.

I interviewed for a position as a Marketing Specialist this past week where that was just the case. I knew I could excel at that job. They wanted to begin using social media and had no idea how to go about it. Social media is, as I believe, the one key advantage younger job seekers have over the more experienced applicants. We have grownup with social media and know how to use it to reach wide and targeted audiences. Still, as my interviewer pointed out, I was going for my first job out of college, I lacked experience.

The funny thing is that I do have experience researching consumers and target audiences, finding out their demographics, their interests, what media sources they turn to in their free time. I do have experience formatting surveys, gathering data, analyzing data and using it to create effect campaigns. I do have experience creating powerpoint presentations for clients. I do have experience with account management, managing distribution teams, networking, cold calling, composing competitor analysis charts, and annual marketing reports. Problem is, that I gained all of this experience in the classroom or at an internship and thus employers see it as lacking real-world applicability.

I disagree. On each of those school projects I got a grade, feedback from professors who had had, or still had, careers in marketing. They critiqued my work, showed me where I could improve and areas I had succeeded in. I embraced their feedback and applied it to the next project, and took those skills to my internships where I could apply them in real life situations. From each class project, from each internship  I grew. I got better. I learned from my experiences. True, I still have unlimited amounts of learning ahead of me and I will for the rest of my career because the marketplace we work in is constantly evolving. But I have a strong foundation to build on. I am confident in my skills and abilities. I am confident in myself.

So here I am, continuing the search, pushing forward. I can’t lie, it isn’t always easy. At times I find myself discouraged and have to remind myself that I am talented, I am motivated, I am determined, and that I will get a job that will allow me to utilize my current skills, enhance and sharpen them, and gain invaluable experience. Yesterday I submitted eight more applications, today six. I am continuing to push forward, to do my research, to stay positive. I want a rewarding career that I can be proud of and that I want to work hard in.

As Theodore Roosevelt said: “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…”

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Up Until Now…

After I graduated in June I traveled around Europe for a month with my two roommates, Sarah and Allison, and a group of other recent UCSB grads. The trip was amazing, we hit ten countries (which almost made the trip exhausting!) including: England, France, Brussels, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Lichenstein, Italy, and Greece. As a history and food lover I can easily say that Paris and Rome were my favorite cities and I will definitely be going back to both at some point. When I got back to the States at the end of July it was time to start my job search.

As a Communications major I have always wanted to pursue a career in marketing but I still was not sure what I specifically wanted to do. I knew I wanted to work on the more analytical, business/management side of marketing rather than the creative but I still wanted to know more about the daily tasks of certain positions. I began by positing my resume on LinkedIn and on Monster, applying for entry level marketing positions. I quickly got a lot of responses for outside sales positions due to my experience as an Account Executive. I knew I did not want a career in sales but I had been told by some that in order to get to the positions I wanted (I still only had a vague idea of what that was however) I would need to put in my time doing sales for a year or two to gain experience. I understood and accepted this as I believe that in order to achieve something worthwhile one must work hard and start from the bottom. As a result I spent a couple weeks interviewing with four different companies for outside sales positions.

During the time I spent interviewing I was meeting with a contact in the marketing industry who provided me with invaluable information. From her guidance I was able to determine that I wanted a career as a marketing strategist or project manager. With these positions I would be able to work with a variety of department and compile research and data that would contribute to the marketing campaigns. I would be able to work on the campaigns dealing with the statistics and analytical data that would help shape the creative aspects. She explained that for strategist and project management positions I did not need to start in sales. While this was good news it also left me with a choice to make. I had just finished the third interview for an outside sales position which was an all-day field interview and was basically guaranteed the job. I had to decide if I should take the sales position that was in front of me right now because

1. It’s a job (a valuable thing in today’s economy)

2. I could stop feeling like such a bum

3. What if I don’t get the positions I want and am left with no job

or do I put my excitement and motivation from figuring out what positions I actually want into an even more aggressive job search because

1. It’s what I actually want to do

2. I will push myself everyday to make sure I am a competitive candidate

3. When (not if) I get the job I will continue to push myself each day to learn and grow as much as I can

I decided to take the risk. And this is where I currently am. Today begins my hunt for a position as a marketing strategist, project manager, or a more entry level position where I will be able to grow into one of those positions. This blog will outline my journey throughout that process. It will discuss all of the social media articles I feel are worth sharing and my experiences in interviews as I learn more about what it takes to make it into the marketing industry. I may be relatively inexperienced but I am young, motivated, and most importantly am integrated with and proficient in social media, utlizing its value.