When I graduated almost six years ago, I knew my career would not look as I had planned through those four years in school. As a new Navy wife, I knew that my husband’s career would often take precedence over mine, but I was not willing to let my goals and aspirations be compromised.
The first few years of my career were spent in the non-profit world. This is not what I had intended to do, but I was happy. In this job, one of my biggest accomplishments was coordinating my own press conference for the release of a new study our organization had written – within the first month on the job.
Tip #1: Pay attention in your media relations classes. Get some real-world advice from a media pro or two before you leave college. Following my time with that organization, I was “burnt out” and thought if I could get a job in the recruitment side of things, it would eventually lead to my passion in college: employee communications.
Tip #2: Be willing to take “bottom of the rung” jobs for a chance to learn more about the organization or business, before thinking you can jump into marketing or communications for them. You need to truly understand the organization’s mission before you can be their voice. Within a year of being in this new position, the inevitable happened and my husband received orders for 3,000 miles away.
Tip #3: Always be flexible, whether in your courses, with your interviewer’s questions, with your clients or with your career. That move was almost three years ago and I am so incredibly proud of where I am today. My current position allows me to capitalize on all the experiences I have had while still working in non-profit. After thinking about where my career is headed, as my husband’s responsibilities take us to various parts of the country, I am extremely grateful to finally know what I want to “do”: write. I want to share my thoughts with the world, and I know I can do that from anywhere.
Tip #4: Even if you don’t love writing, learn how to write for a variety of audiences. Business and industry writing is so much different than writing in college. Know your audience, and take the time to do your research. The most valuable piece of advice I have received is, of course, about the tried and true failsafe for any communicator: networking.
Tip #5: Make every attempt to network with the people you (a) want to work with, (b) be in their position one day or (c) just plain enjoy their company. You never know who exactly you are talking to – and who and what they know – and what they may say about you to others based on your interaction.
How has your career path traveled in unexpected directions – and how has it helped you in the long run?
Nicole White is currently the Communications and Marketing Director for the Nassau County Economic Development Board. A graduate from San Diego State University, she has worked with non-profits conducting outreach, capital and membership campaigns.