Note: This is an older blog post from when I was finding my way as a recent college grad. I hope this resonates with someone starting their journey! Enjoy!
I officially graduated from college this past August. I had it all planned out. I was going to study in Spain for the summer and when I returned, I would start my career in a month. I just knew everything would fall into place because I had two great internships under my belt, an above average GPA and I was very involved in extracurricular activities. I was ready to take on the world.
By the title of the article, you can guess I was in for a rude awakening. When I returned home, I was fortunate enough to continue my internship while I was supposed to find the career of my life. I would intern during the day and fill out applications after work and on the weekends.
The first reality check happened when I found the job of my dreams. I would be doing everything I wanted and loved doing. It was in the city and with some research, I found that I would be making enough money to even travel on the weekends. It was all going to be amazing, until I looked at the job qualifications. Okay, I didn’t have 3-5 years of experience, but I was amazing. They would just know that I was perfect. I turned in the application and waited. I was rejected. It was the first of many to come.
I started doubting myself. Before graduation I decided to get work experience before starting graduate school to make myself more marketable. However, entry level jobs required 3-5 years of experience and the graduate schools I wanted to attend required 5-7 years of professional experience. I was at a lost. I was still interning during this time, but as the grace period on student loans started to disappear, I needed a full time position and some motivation for the extraneous journey of job searching in the 21st century.
That’s when I started to think about the process. I started to think of all the mistakes I had made during my job search. All the cover letters I sent with errors, resumes that were inappropriate for the job postings and my overall lack of attentiveness to specifics. I realized while I was looking for a full time position, I was learning so much about life, work environments and myself through my internships and daily life. I realized that sharing my wisdom, mistakes, failures and shortcomings could help someone on their journey.
I decided to start Everything’s ART (my initials). ART stands for taking every lesson, success, mistake, trial, or obstacle and turning it into something worthwhile. My outlet was showing people instead of being down in the dumps about life, I would inspire others through my trials and motivate them to continue their journey, no matter if it was in the office, classroom, at home or internal. Since my passion is marketing, it is a great way to show people that I am creative, consistent, thoughtful and passionate about people. I also wanted future employers, friends and colleagues to see what type of person I am; positively optimistic. While everyone won’t understand, the point is to get to the people who would.
Since I have started Everything’s ART, I have started freelancing for some social media accounts, began implementing a social media plan for one of my internships and most of all, I have received a lot of positive feedback on my project. This has helped with my branding, business skills and professional esteem.
The point of this post is not to start what I started, but find something you are good at and make it your employment while you are looking for your next professional move. Be productive. When the time comes for me to interview, I want employers to know that I am a self-starter. I can take any situation and find the positive in it and grow. You can too. You never know where your outlet can take you, so don’t be afraid to try something new and productive.
Think about what you would like to do and think of unconventional ways you can get there. You can be productive even in the down times. Even if it doesn’t take you exactly where you want to go, you will have great story to tell at an interview to your future employer. Who knows, you could eventually become your own employer because of your can-do attitude and determination.