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A Constant Learning Process

After sending out another batch of resumes last week I have interviewed with a couple really good companies and just finished a third interview with one (fingers crossed!). While this process has definitely taken longer than I initially foresaw, I am still happy that I chose to continue looking for a job that I enjoyed with a company I could learn and grow in rather than taking the outside sales job that was offered to me in the beginning.

I have learned a lot about myself along the way. In interviews potential employers ask you personality questions that force you to define yourself in short sound bites. They want to know what your strengths are, your weaknesses, how you describe yourself in three words, what conditions you work best under. This sounds like basic stuff, and it really is, yet it is not a way people tend to think about themselves in real life. Maybe the truth is that we rarely think about ourselves in quantifiable, concrete ways. From repeatedly being asked these questions and contemplating them in my own time as well I have a better understanding of the type of employee I will be and what I have to offer to the office environment of a company.

I am an outgoing, bubbly, people-person. I like a fast-paced, energetic environment. I tend to take the initiative and when I see something that needs to be done, I get it done. I do not prefer highly detailed direction. I like to be given a list or outline of tasks that I can then manage myself. My weakness is that I have no real, professional experience yet I am a fast learner and I intend to correct this sharp attention and listening skills.

I may not have landed a job yet but I am learning nevertheless. I am learning valuable skills about myself and what it takes to succeed. When I get a job, it will be these skills that I will employ that will allow me to be successful and to excel at what I do.

Who You Know

I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and one of the questions on the forms asked what my occupation was. I ended up putting student down despite the fact that I am not because I could not bring myself to write ‘unemployed’. When the doctor called me back and we started talking she asked if I had graduated and I laughingly explained my actions. She immediately went into a long discussion about how there are currently no jobs out there for college grads and how her daughter is a college senior this year and she is already worried about her for next year.

We started talking about how, for the most part, its not what you know or how many internships you held in college, it is all about who you know. Now, its not like Steve Jobs is my uncle or something. I have not been hiding some ridiculously fantastic connection away in the closet. I do have to admit though that up to this point I have been too proud to ask the people in my life (the ones with actual jobs) if they knew anyone that might be able to help.

The thing is, that I totally believe the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. And that works just fine for my friends. Problem is that I have not been ok with applying that mentality to myself. For some mixed up, psychotic reason I have felt that it doesn’t count for me if I don’t do it on my own. I tend to expect much more out of myself than I do others, which is normally fine, but in this case it could be hurting me greatly.

So I have decided that it’s time to become a little bit more humble and admit that I COULD USE A LITTLE HELP and that admitting so does not make me any less of a person or any less qualified of a candidate. Maybe in some twisted way it’s actually a lesson that makes me a better candidate because I have realized that sometimes in order to accomplish a goal you do need other people to help you, you can’t do everything on your own, and that is perfectly ok. There is nothing wrong with not being a super person.

With this in mind I have started talking to a couple people I know, just ordinary people, and I am going to keep talking to people. Admitting to them that hey, this was harder than I thought, I am open to any advice or help you have. And who knows, maybe they have a friend who has a friend that knows that one special person that is going to take a chance on a girl like me. A girl that learned it was ok to ask for help.

42 Days in

I have gotten a good amount of feedback from my last batch of applications, some turned out to be cheesy but a couple have been very promising. I got a call this morning to set up the third and final interview with a company BusinessWeek ranked in the top five best companies to start a career with. I’m really excited about that and am still waiting to hear back from an interview I went on last week that went very well. I read an article this morning that said the average job search for recent grads is eight months. After reading this I felt a little better because while I don’t have a job yet, I feel I am ahead of the curve and that I will have a job way before I hit the eight month mark.

In the mean time I am going to keep doing what I do best; submitting applications, searching for new opportunities, and knocking employers socks off in interviews.

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.