Importance of experience in the workplace

Hi everyone! My name is Amelia and I am a 22-year old recent graduate from Missouri State University. I graduated with a degree in Fashion Merchandising with an emphasis in Product Development. Last week, I picked up everything and moved to New York City to peruse a career in the fashion industry.

When I first started college, I thought all I had to do was get good grades and then I would be able to find my dream job after I graduated. Around my sophomore year, all of my professors kept talking about how you need experience before you can land even an entry-level position. Being a fashion major, I had no idea how I was going to get the experience I needed being in Southern Missouri.

The fashion program at Missouri State requires each student to complete a summer internship and have at minimum 380 hours of work. I knew I had to go elsewhere and also experience a place I never really visited. I decided to save up as much money I could and intern at a fashion wholesale company in New York City.

That summer was the best summer of my college career. Even though I missed my friends and family, it reassured me that I was getting the right degree for me. I learned so much that I would not have been able to learn sitting behind a desk in a classroom. I also was able to meet and network with people within the industry including the singer-songwriter, Estelle.

Once I graduated, I was still having trouble finding a full time job. In order not to leave blank time periods on my resume, I decided to take on another internship that was remote (work from home). Even though I was tired of working for free, I knew I had to continue my growth of experience. I worked for a company that was able to connect bloggers with brands in order to monetize their blogs. At first, I didn’t think much of it and honestly thought I wouldn’t get anything out of it. But boy, was I wrong! I learned another aspect of the industry that I never really thought of. However, I learned to love it and found out where my strengths really lie.

Since I moved to New York City, I have been applying to jobs like crazy hoping someone would give me a chance. I was able to land an interview and got the job based off my internship experiences, especially my last one. They were able to see my drive and dedication by working at all these internships to grow my resume. I know I never would have gotten the interview if it wasn’t for my experience.

The moral of the story is to really be proactive while in college. Yes, studying and getting good grades is important, but the job market is more competitive than ever. Apply for jobs or internships that are related to your field. I know college is very stressful and finding where you belong in the world is a tough decision to make. However, make the best of the time you have to decide and discover what makes you happy. Good luck and I wish you all the best in life!

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