After graduating from college a year ago, I didn’t have my ideal job lined up, so I spent the last 12 months working and interning as a librarian assistant, development marketing assistant, administrative assistant and produce sales attendant. Although none of these positions was directly related to communications, they each contributed to my effectiveness in my current job as an editorial assistant at a social cause-oriented PR firm.
Learning how to translate those experiences into transferable skills that employers seek is the key to job hunting success. Here’s how I did it:
- Variety of Environments — Because the jobs I held were so diverse, I was able to demonstrate that I could adapt in different working environments and with people of different cultures. I had exposure working for the government — learning the many nuances and regulations — as well as in the nonprofit and private sectors. These experiences equipped me with transferable interpersonal skills that prepared me for my work at Vanguard, where I edit copy for government and nonprofit groups.
- Variety of Subjects — Late last summer, I alternated my days between selling locally grown produce on the side of the road and shelving old manuscript materials in the Library of Congress. Though my job is specific to editing now and I’m on my desired career path, I still maintain variety in my work, having to change styles and messaging around issues such as environmental responsibility, mental health and education reform. I didn’t know it at the time, but switching gears in my previous jobs made me more marketable when it came time to get that ideal job.
My advice to new graduates is to keep an open mind to opportunities that don’t necessarily have a long-term future. If you know how to position them, those varied experiences can prepare you in the short term for what the workplace is always sure to hold: the need to adapt.
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