The job search has begun


Just the basic introduction

Well, my name is Kati. I’m 24 and just finished up my Master’s in Marketing from University of Edinburgh. Spent a year living there in the UK and just moved back to my hometown of Charlotte, NC. I’m settling in back in the States while embarking on the ever daunting… job search.

 

This job search thing feels a bit familiar

      From the start, this formidable journey has reminded me of a few things I’d forgotten since my last bout of career hunting in 2010 right out of UNCWilmington. I feel like I’ve come a long way in the last two years but this process is as overwhelming and discouraging as I remember it, even with a shiny new degree and 14 more months of work experience than I had back then. I wish I had recorded the process the first time to remind myself how diligently I had to work to find work. 

 I’d done two internships while at UNCW, one in Wilmington and one while studying abroad in Swansea (also in the UK). Combine that with a BA Communication Studies, a short term position as “Swansea-UNCW Student Ambassador” (recruiting students to do the same study abroad program as I did), a couple years of peer tutoring at the on-campus learning center, and a steady part-time position at Chick-fil-A I’d held in Charlotte during high school and while home on breaks throughout college and… that was my resume. 

 I’d taken the required “Capstone” class which prepared me with resume tips, cover letter strategies, and interview workshops and in April 2010 (even though I didn’t graduate until May)… the search was on. I followed all the recommended steps to find full-time careerdom, set up a new folder on my computer for each different viable job opening I found online complete with the job description, a specially tailored resume, and even more customized cover letter. (I’ll fully address the joys of online applications in another post, although if anyone’s every filled at least one out I’m sure I’ll be preaching to the choir.) I can’t tell you how many different places I applied, all with the winning combination of a cover letter and resume tailored to describe my abilities as parallel to those in the job description as possible. I got one phone interview that didn’t go so hot (another likely topic of a future post) and then no other responses. I was frustrated as all get out, not to mention the fear of never getting a “grown-up job” that was rearing its ugly head more often than I’d like to admit.  Just about when I thought I was going to be working my old high school job forever, things magically fell into place. Well, not magically… I took the five minutes required to ask someone at my old Chick-fil-A (where I was working part-time to have some influx of cash) a very scary question, “Do you know anyone who might have something that would fit my abilities and goals?”  

And she did. She gave me a number of an operator of another local Chick-fil-A who she had heard fairly recently was looking for a new Marketing Director. I called him that afternoon  and he asked me to come in for an interview the next morning.  I nervously prepared my hypothetical marketing plan to pitch to him, picked out my snazziest business outfit, and refreshed my knowledge on the company in order to dazzle him with my insider knowledge of the brand. The next morning I wasn’t feeling great but I chalked it up to nervous excitement.  I nailed the interview with my ideas and knowledge of the corporate and brand culture but my enthusiasm was the tipping point that pushed him to hire me (he’s since told me this). I came home from the interview exhausted, excited, and very very under the weather. I started my position as Marketing Director for two area Chick-fil-A’s a week later, and not a moment too soon because that’s about how long it took to get rid of the nasty upper respiratory infection and ear infections that followed the happy announcement of impending employment.  

 Later on during my time there my boss mentioned that he had been looking for a Marketing Director for much longer than I thought and he’d interviewed multiple candidates and on the day I called him he had been planning to offer the position to someone he’d already interviewed.  He went ahead and interviewed me for the sake of due diligence and as a favor to the person who’d referred me but was still intending to offering the job to the previous candidate. My excitement and thorough preparation for that interview changed his mind.

It’s all worth it… eventually

     That’s what I need to remember: Job hunting is a TON of hard work and dead ends but if you keep trying and go above and beyond the bare minimum required of you, something will work out. At some point, you’ll fill out the right application with the right key words in the cover letter or you’ll mention your job search to just the right person who knows of something perfect for you.

 

What to expect from future posts: 

     So the job hunt is the inspiration for this blog but I intend to also describe a bit of how I got to where I am now, where I hope to be at some point soon, and what about marketing and the rest of my field gets me so excited that I can’t wait to start working again. I truly love marketing, branding, events, social media, and building relationships with consumers so I’m likely to blog about ongoing campaigns of interest or companies that are doing something special or extremely effective with their marketing. There are a great number of blogs and websites with excellent contents to help with the job search process so I might throw in tips from them but this isn’t a job hunting advice blog although I am very open to any advice you may have to give.

I’ve got a lot of opinions and love feedback so please comment or tweet me (@katiiisays) with suggestions, questions, or feel free to tell me if you think I’m wrong about something.

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Recent University of Edinburgh MSc Marketing grad and UNCWilmington Communication Studies alumus. Fascinated by branding, event, social media, and interactive marketing for business. Works at Eleven Mass Media

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