Portent Staff // Jun 5 2008
You’re about to graduate college, so in no time at all you’ll be a master in the post-grad basics. You’ll learn to dress up for interviews, even though you may wear flip flops for the rest of your career. You’ll learn that in the roshambo of the real world, connections always trump resumes. You’ll learn that every single character on The Office is real, and probably sitting next to you.These learning curves will be the cartography of your first career. Here’s some advice for grads about to make that leap:
Work in Marketing. When I was a post-college job-seeker aka waitress, my friends and I all dreamed about the two M’s: “marriage” and “Master’s degrees,” the magical terms that would deliver us from a life of fried onions and uniform flare. Little did we know there was a third “M” that could accomplish this brilliant deliverance: marketing! Why? Because we take anyone! And not in a bad way. Marketing is just a really diverse field in which almost all talents and fields of study prove valuable. At my Internet marketing firm we have hired ex legal assistants, waitresses (ahem), used car salesmen, and yes, people fresh out of college, all of whom have gone on to have inspired marketing careers. Best of all, marketing is a reasonably fun, reasonably well paying career field, so it’s a good first job for those new to the nine to five gig.
Think of your talent, not your title. When I started my first real job I was a copywriter, because my major was Creative Writing. Natural progression, right? Kind of. My mistake here was focusing on the conduit (writing) rather than the core talent that drove it (creativity.) If I had taken a step back, I would have realized writing was just one offshoot of the thing that really moved me: creative pursuits. Now, I direct photo shoots, help design web pages and landing pages, write sonnets and jingles, produce YouTube videos, and am generally both happier and more valuable to my organization. Moral? When you are job hunting, don’t search “Accountant.” Search “meticulous” or “detail oriented.” If you were a Kinesiology major, search “active” or “physical.” You could up being a store window designer or an event planner just as easily as a soccer coach or physical therapist-and be much happier!
This may seem contrary. You may think that once you have found out all there is to know about your field, you will finally be on top of your game. Wrong. Once you’ve learned all you can, you’ve exhausted what you have to offer to your industry. I work in Internet marketing, a job where it is virtually impossible (har har) to know it all, and that fact alone ensures me gainful employment for the rest of the foreseeable future. As long as there is more to discover, I will always be relevant and useful. Equally important, jobs where you can never learn everything keep you challenged, dazzled and humbled-a recipe for lifelong job satisfaction.