This article is part of our Legends Interview Program. An Alumni Association initiative to record the experiences of alumni and share with our community. This interview took place on April 4th, 2022. Schedule an interview or submit your own story to us by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi Alumni! I wanted to share a couple of tips as I am currently pursuing a Bachelors in Marketing and have found success in my multiple work experiences ( hospitality, social media communications, freelance marketing, and other industries I’ve moved around) while building a career.
Take Time To Understand Yourself
During COVID, I took the opportunity to figure myself out and take care of my mental health. The pandemic was a chance to understand me better; for example, after receiving my associate’s, I found out I had a learning disability. The discovery made me know that I was too hard on myself when I struggled in subjects. But that didn’t stop my passion for learning. I took a gap year and enrolled in online courses at Harvard University before pursuing my bachelor’s in Marketing. When I was struggling, I didn’t get upset at myself anymore. I took a step back, reflected, and understood my weaknesses and strengths. Knowledge is power, and that is not just for learning subjects; it goes the same for gaining knowledge about yourself. So, when you find yourself struggling, don’t be too hard on yourself; that is an opportunity to learn and grow.
Side Note: Shout out to all my teachers who helped me learn at East Tech. They were super patient with me and helped me as much as possible. There were times when learning something just didn’t “click” with formal learning, which was very frustrating. I’m super grateful that I had East Tech teachers who were patient and helped me learn subjects differently.
Just Be You
At East Tech, you had classmates rooting for each other to succeed. Unfortunately, in the real world, that’s not always the case. When you enter different industries, there will be people with bad intentions. It’s essential to keep that energy of who you are, stay positive, and separate personal life from work.
Eventually, you’ll want a career where you don’t see your work as a job, and it’s something that you enjoy. For that to happen, surround yourself with positive people. Your circle will encourage you to grow and be there for you! Without even noticing, you’ll see the positive benefits and experiences.
Throughout my work experience, I’ve established two major red flags for people who I shouldn’t associate with:
- Overly negative people, complaining about anything and everything.
- Gossip Mongers; will create a hostile and harmful environment. Those who gossip consistently will have malicious intent for everyone but themselves.
Pay Attention to Detail
I remember a conversation I had with my marketing teacher, Mrs. Smedley, about how to spot fake designer bags. From that conversation, it always stuck with me about looking at the details. In different industries, it’s important to always be observant whether you’re in an entry-level position to a management position. Also choosing friends and life partners.
Due to Las Vegas being the center of bringing tourists from around the world from various societal statuses, you just never know who you’re talking to. Being able to pay attention helped me have conversations with each guest and learned how to leave a good first impression.
When you first start out on a job, there is training involved where you’re allowed to make a couple of mistakes, but just know that it’s important to make sure you learn, be proactive, and stay focused on your job. Just like your projects at East Tech, when you started out as a freshman it was okay to have weak presentation skills but when you advanced up to a senior, there are certain expectations to have stronger presentation skills. This logic still applies to any work you start out with. Focus on your job, make as little mistakes as possible, and excel at your work.
Your Elevator Pitch
No matter who I talked to, I always have concepts of the elevator pitch ready because there are limitless opportunities everywhere. Make sure to have a closing (i.e. connect on LinkedIn) action so you can continue the conversation in the future as this can help with reference letters and future job opportunities.
A good example is that I met the CEO of Vapor Shop (and many other establishments from Germany) and I am on good terms with them today. From my conversations with the CEO, he sometimes emails me with my opinion on his marketing strategies to implement in the United States or gives me tips about the stock market and how to invest. He even wrote me a reference letter which opened opportunities for me before I was even ready to go after. Be authentic and show your best impression to everyone you meet!
After East Tech
My last tip is that it doesn’t matter where you go when you graduate from high school. It’s important to be true to yourself and be sure to give great first impressions. At my current job, I made sure people knew I was dependable and open to tackle any projects. This helped me climb the ladder as fast as possible to the point where the company views me as a major asset.
I wish you all the luck and stay on top of the mountain!