Graduating from UCF in 2011, Nicole is a transplanted South Floridian by way of a coastal New England city. Shopping, traveling, and reading are usually on the weekend agenda with a side of the occasional HBO binge. When not at the office, she is either blogging, learning everything there is to know about Google Analytics, or working on earning her second Social Media Strategist Certificate from the University of Miami. She resides in the ‘burbs right outside of sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida with two part-time dogs. The other part of the time they reside with their full-time owners. Her parents.
Each day, I begin my morning with a cup of coffee and logging into my company’s Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages. The things I’m looking for?
1) How many people liked us since yesterday?
2) What’s the variation week over week?
3) How did that digital campaign do that we ran last week? Did the social advertising contribute to our ROI (return on investment)?
4) How many website clicks did we get from those campaigns?
My next initiative: putting together a proposal as to why creating a company Instagram account is the next big game-changing idea, and a project plan of how I’m going to do it.
If you are of the tech savvy generation and the words marketing, social media, PR, or advertising are of any interest to you, this could be the field you were meant for. The industry: marketing/advertising. My title: Digital Marketing & Social Media Strategist– a newer job moniker that has been devised within just the last five years.
Given that I’m in a relatively new field, my story begins a bit unconventionally. Not only did I switch majors like most college freshman (nor did I major in the industry I’m ultimately in now), but I transferred schools as well. I entered the University of Connecticut as a Psych major, left as a Business major, transferred to UCF, and graduated as a Hospitality major. Living proof that in the Millennial generation, you can be anything you want to be!
While both college experiences were completely different in regards to lifestyle, I wouldn’t trade either for the world. I’m ultimately happy with the decision I made and it led me to the point in my career where I am today.
While reflecting on moves that I made in college, there are things I wish I had done differently. However, for everything I could have done different, I learned from it. Mistakes are not the end of the world, and if anything, will refine your decision-making skills for future situations.
Now if I could prepare my freshman-self for the quarter-life crisis that would hit like a bus at 24 going onto 25, I’d advise her of the following (and give her a pat on the back for completing a few):
1. Get an internship in the field you want. Make it count. This will propel you for more opportunities than you know. Those job descriptions you’ll have to tailor your resume to when applying? Internships come in handy ten-fold when referencing your work experience. Acquiring a job is hard, and so is an internship. Learning different skillsets at an internship will help you familiarize yourself with your strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, it will help you identify what you find enjoyable when you have to take your party on the road and become full-time upon graduation.
2. Get an hourly part-time job to kill time on the weekends. This could be the more productive alternative if you find yourself binge-watching streamed shows on Sunday afternoons. Not only will a part-time job build your resume, but the social perks are prevalent as well. It’ll give you the opportunity to meet people outside of your college bubble (your dormmates and classmates). If you’re out-of-state, it’s not only a great way to meet new people, but get a feel for the local culture as well. It also doesn’t hurt to have a little extra spending money.
3. Be an early adaptor and make use of your social media platforms. When I was in college, a majority of the platforms we have now and check hourly (or in my job case, by-the-minute), were just on the brink of launching. As they have evolved, employers now look at these social profiles not to spy on you, but to see if you’re talking about information relevant to the field. They really want to see if you’re knowledgeable about the trade. Have a Twitter account? Make a professional one. Share articles relevant to the industry you want to be in. Start building your clout now and show you care about the profession you ultimately want to be a part of. The earlier you start, the better!
4. Get involved! Always, always give back. If you have the means and the time, why not help out someone that doesn’t? In college, there are tons of different opportunities for you to be actively involved in the community. Joining organizations—whether it be clubs, Greek life, or sports—gives you extensive exposure to volunteerism. College is the one place that you have access to all of these different avenues at one time. Take advantage of it! Event organization and leadership are also learned in these situations and can be another added skill on your resume. These experiences could be the defining skillsets that set you apart from the competition when you’re on the job hunt in another few years.