Big Idea Monday-Outside The Box Thinking
I hope your weekend was amazing and productive. I was thinking today would be a little different of a Big Idea Monday. Recently I gave a 45 minute lecture on social media at my old college and I was asked to talk about my how I got a job in social media, which even now, is not that easy to get.
It’s funny because at the moment I was doing everything to be in social media, I didn’t realize how much I was really doing.
My last year of school I was the president of the fashion club and the main content editor and creator of my school’s fashion blog on top of the classes I was taking for my fashion degree.This is the year I really learned how to take on a LOT of a workload. I thought I had been lazy by only working full time and going to school, but as it turns out, I could handle a lot more than that but only if those were things I wanted.
I remember shyly asking on of my professors if I could take care of our blog and they said yes, it was fine. She was relieved to have someone that could dedicate time to it and I knew that I wanted to try and either get a job in fashion or social media after graduation.
Well things happened, I ended up working for free on the fashion blog for a year. I called it free work.This is different than freelancing and internships.
Most people think that to make it in their desired field they can only work in it, freelance or get an internship but what if you can’t get any of those opportunities? What if no one wants to hire you, even part time, or for free, to do something? That was my case, all the internships were at a time I had to be at my job that paid the bills and I was highly unqualified for any social media job out there. No one wanted me to freelance for them and instead of giving up on my dream I took on the only thing i could take on: free work. This basically means work that you love doing and is possibly a field you want to be in. This is free work but you get a ton of value from it.
I worked tirelessly on my school’s fashion blog for a year. I researched, came up with content and when something didn’t work, I tried a new angle. I redesigned the blog and made it more friendly, and I pouted my heart into it. When I wasn’t working or going to school, I was obsessed with the blog. It worked. Soon people started noticing and our little blog went from 60 views a day to 500. It grew to levels I didn’t think it would ever grow and I was so happy.
Fast forward to when I finish school and suddenly the company I worked for was sold off. They laid everyone off. I went looking for work everywhere and I found nothing. I was offered many pity jobs from friends and family but I knew that I had to decline them.
I was severely judged for my reaction. My parents and I had a falling out even. They couldn’t believe I would reject a job that was being practically handed down to me just to wait to find a job I wanted to work in – in a field I had never worked in before. They said I should take what I could now and look for my dream job later.
Ladies, that is pure bullshit. You should never do that. Don’t waste that company or your time unless you severely need a job, as in I’m going to be out on the street tomorrow severe. If you know what you want and you believe you can do it, you will make it happen.
The day I found the company I work for I:
- was planning my wedding
- was running out of unemployment in exactly one week and had no other income coming in
- Did not believe in myself (but did not refuse to look for work in my field either)
- had faced 60 rejections
- did not know what I was going to do in exactly one week when I ran out of money
It was tough, needless to say. But a previous teacher of mine found me through linked in and suddenly there it was: the opportunity I had been waiting for.
I looked at the requirements and realized I was incredibly under qualified. I tried anyways. I wrote the most amazing cover letter I had ever written and sent off my measly resume and I got a response. The interview was set, all I had to do was wow them.
I came at it with everything I had. Examples upon examples of things I had written, done and stats. I wanted my resume to be something I showed them, not some list of things I never wanted to do again.
And I didn’t get the job. I was instead offered a brand new position that in my eyes, was much better. They tailored a position for me, it was not the other way around.
I am so grateful and excited to be working where I do, doing something I so adore, but I always look back and am reminded of the fact that it all started with free work.
Had I not written for my school’s blog my old teacher wouldn’t have recommended me to work for this company and where would I be now?
So ladies, think outside the box. Make opportunities for yourself, even if at first, that means not getting paid. Give it your all and you will be rewarded.
Have you ever experienced something like this? What’s your story of success?