Taking your first steps towards the creative career you want is much easier with some great tips from experts – like CAT’s Marketing Consultant ‘Ninja’ Emily Chow.
Emily Chow is a marketing strategist, copy-writing unicorn, and owner of marketing agency, Emily Chow Marketing. Her mission: To help business owners reinvent the way they show up and stand out online –“because we all deserve to get seen, loved, and selling with our ideal customers”.
Emily is also Digital Marketing guru to the CAT marketing team, so for this blog post we asked her to put her considerable knowledge, experience and expertise into creating some words of wisdom for our students – especially those about to graduate. Here are Emily’s 5 ‘Top Tips’ for career building!
Over to you Emily!
I’m gonna come right now and say it: I didn’t really enjoy school.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I got awesome grades, landed some sweet practicums, and took advantage of my school’s exchange program so that I studied and travelled for a year in Australia and the South Pacific. Amazing, right?
Because, here’s the thing: School is so much more than just…school. It’s a place to make lifelong connections, figure out what you actually like (not what other people tell you you should like), and be part of something greater than you.
And, I just knew there was more to my future than studying hard and acing a final exam. So as soon as school was over (cue victory dance) and I got my degree, here’s what I did to plan my next steps in building a career and a life that felt RIGHT for me:
- Get To Work (like, NOW)
I immediately started looking for a job. Actually, I started seriously looking for a job in my field about a year and a half before graduation because, hey, I’m a planner like that. Skills are transferable so even if you’re not working your dream job now, don’t sweat it. Learn all that you can where you are so that you have as many useful skills under your belt. And, keep pounding the pavement to figure out what kind of jobs are out there that you can see yourself working in that ALSO make you happy. You might not land your dream job right away so manage your expectations.
- Take Unpaid Internships (and keep them short).
Here’s the thing about internships: You make no money, but you learn EVERYTHING. And you’re going to need every edge you can get over the competition, which as you know, is fierce. Think about it: You’re learning in a real-life work environment and being exposed to all the skills you may or may not have learned in school, but are clearly important to the kind of work you want to do. This is juicy, valuable stuff, folks. Listen, learn, and watch. Observe office dynamics and learn how your colleagues work together to do great things. It’s not just about the hard, technical skills that you do on your own that make your work great. It’s also about how well you get along with others and whether you’re liked or not.
- Network. ASAP.
Start this right now. Go onto LinkedIn and start researching the different companies you want to work for. See if you know anyone who works there by first-degree or second-degree association. Then reach out, introduce yourself, share your career goals, and ask for a 10-minute phone call, an online meeting, or a face-to-face coffee if possible. Join different associations and boards of trade too. The more people you know, the more doors open.
- Be OK Where You Are
Realistically, you may not get a job right away, let alone your dream job. That’s cool. So, what can you do now while you’re working your way up to where you want to be? Keep doing step 3 and keep your eye on the prize. Accept where you are. Not doing exactly what you want right away is normal, and does not mean you failed or are doomed to never work in a career you love. Rarely is the game of life linear. Snuggle into the imperfection of your journey and surround yourself with cheerleaders and supporters who will help you stay the course. Life isn’t just about work. It’s about figuring out all the things that bring you joy and satisfaction. So, do THAT.
- Habits and Discipline (Mmmhmm, yep, I’m going there)
Look, if you want to do big things that are bad@ss and amazing, you’re going to have to develop the discipline and good habits necessary to make that happen. Basic disciplinary things like showing up to work on time, doing what you said you were going to do (#HelloIntegrity), creating a system for organizing your workflow – these are all the little things that will go a long way in establishing you as a reliable, organized, easy-to-work-with person. And, of course, good habits like staying up to date on industry trends and best practices and keeping your skills up to par with ongoing training are all great everyday habits to keep going.
Just because you stop school doesn’t mean the learning ends. If anything, it’s the beginning of the next chapter in your life and career.