Chelsey Nelson is a UW alum who currently works as a Social Media Campaigns and Activations Manager at T-Mobile. In her role, she advises on strategy for how T-Mobile should move forward with campaigns, tests, and launching brand studies. We recently had the opportunity to host a webinar with her where she discussed her marketing career, and she shared her 5 important life lessons to be a better marketer.
1.) Networking is your key to success: start saying “yes”.
Networking will be key to landing a job or internships after college, and it doesn’t always have to be career fairs or professional events. Networking can also include your clubs, sororities or fraternities, sports teams, etc., so try to get involved in as many opportunities as you can to start building your network while you’re still in college. A lot of times, who you know will be more important than what you know, and the easiest way to start building those relationships is through LinkedIn. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, Chelsey recommends making one ASAP and to connect with as many people as you can now because you never know if they could be a resource for you years down the road.
2.) Your career path will most likely not be linear.
It’s okay to be a little unsure of your career direction, especially in these times when there are uncertainties surrounding the job market. You will most likely hop around jobs before you find your niche, so don’t be afraid to take on a role that might not be exactly what you’re for if it’s within the same field or company you want to be at. Chelsey’s biggest tip is to take on stretch assignments in other departments and to never turn down an opportunity to learn about other parts of the business. You should also make sure to leave your last company on the best note possible because you will find out fast that everyone knows everyone (especially in the tech world).
3.) Be comfortable asking for help.
Knowing when to seek out and ask for help is both humbling and a necessary skill to get ahead in life. If you’re in school, professors and grad assistants all hold office hours. Use this opportunity to take your assignments or notes to them, and try to talk through what you don’t understand. Asking for help every once in a while is important because if you attempt to “wing it” and go too far down the wrong path, it can be hard to work backwards from that. With this said, don’t also be too needy when it comes to your work. Try Googling or attempting different solutions before you request others’ time.
4.) Find a passion project.
Have you ever been asked, “What is something you do outside of the office/school for fun?” When a recruiter asks that question, what they’re really trying to find out is what your passion project is and whether you’re actively pursuing it. As marketers, it’s essential that we are always trying to be better and to know more about the industry we are working in. Downtime is best spent getting ahead but also enjoying what you’re doing. This is how Chelsey’s Instagram blog, Wino On A Budget, began (you can check her out at @winoonabudget). These projects are not only a great way to exercise your creativity but they can also act as unique talking points during an interview because they show that you’re seeking out marketing ventures on your own. During the current quarantine, try to make the most of your downtime, and start discovering your passion project!
5.) Reach out to current employees.
This is an insider trick to land an interview and goes back to the “who you know” point from earlier. Most companies have policies in recruiting that internal referrals from employees are valued higher than applicants that come in through job sites. If you know anyone in the company that you are hoping to get an interview for, reach out to them! And make sure to reach out before you apply because in some companies, you cannot be entered as a referral if you submit your application beforehand. Don’t feel about reaching out either. Often, there are referral bonuses for employees that successfully refer a candidate who gets hired, and this goes for intern roles too.