We’ve all been in that position when we are looking for a job and the doubt starts to seep in. Whether you are a recent college grad or someone who is looking to make a career change, the panel discussion held at General Assembly in Boston will make a difference in your job hunting stupor.
The Panel discussion was held with a marketer, a product manager, and a digital designer. They were asked a variety of questions about their jobs, the job market, what companies are looking for in potential candidates, and how to keep from getting discouraged when the search becomes tough or overwhelming.
Their biggest emphasis was on reading. All three panelists said “read” about fifty times. Boston itself is a tight-knit community and it’s so important to keep up to date with everything that is going on within that community. Reading will only help you become better at what you do.
Connor Sheehan a Senior Experience Designer at Cantina told the audience that he splits his year up between different reading material. For a few months he will be on a blog kick where he reads as much as he can about design via blogs. Then it shifts towards books, and finally social media, whether it’s shared stories or twitter posts he finds the news in his field and keeps well informed. Resources are amazing. Use things such as sidebar, why books, blogs, and local events like NewCo. Again, read news you disagree with, understand what people are thinking about different things. You must be well-read on current events.
The next part of the discussion focused on the indirectness of career paths and how a lot of times you just fall into your career not expecting to end up where you do. This is uplifting to a lot of people who tend to feel scared or regretful when they make a big career change. The important take away from this is to never feel alone, so many people change their passions, what matters is how forcefully you pursue that passion. You can do this by staying engaged and applying what you are learning to other things even if it doesn’t feel relevant to your field.
A huge questions was: “Do you need formal training or is it more learn on the job?”
Two of the three panelists answered no. They said that experience and diversity in what you could create were the most important factors. It was primarily on-job learning from there with personal learning done on the side, hence the reading and keeping up-to-date in your field.
In the marketing field more formal training may prove to be necessary, but not in the way you think. Formal training has changed over time, it’s not the same as getting an undergraduate degree and doing internships, it’s more about personal improvement and growth through self-motivated learning. The biggest thing we can learn during our undergrad, that we will carry with us through the work force is time management. Which is very effective within tech companies and any job really, being able to manage time helps you to become a better candidate in the job market.
On the personal learning side a big take away for entry level marketers is what they can learn about social media and how they can separate the appropriate content for each channel. Social media continues to grow and change and that is why personal learning and research on such a topic will only help you become better in the eyes of an employer.
However, social media is not the only thing you can be adept in to help you find a job. As we know the tech industry is quickly changing and so potential employees too must be adaptable.
Communication skills are key. For example, when things are done primarily on a screen, there is an assumption that it’s private and any interruption is bad. It’s important to make things physical, work with actual people in real time as much as possible. Being comfortable in all forms of communication makes you more valuable in any industry.
When you are just out of school it’s a lot about networking, think about different roles that can lead to your end goal/career.
In advertising it’s important to be able to show your thought process, you must be creative and you must be able to prove the results.
Critical thinking must be evident in all divisions of a company whether that’s design, product management, or marketing. Those job searching should focus on building a portfolio and making sure it is backed up.
The panel discussion then turned towards what the hiring team looks for in an individual. For example, side projects are GOOD. They exercise your interests and passions.
Within resumes you must be able to show that you have :
- A collaborative attitude
- A natural ability to teach/explain a problem
- Be able to communicate a problem
- Have concrete data to back up resume
- Can bring things to the role they don’t already have
- Are open to conversations
It all boils down to this: communication, collaboration, willingness to learn, and a hunger to improve make for a great employee. If you can solve problems, have a willingness to learn, and know exactly what you want to learn about next, then you are on the right track to breaking into your next career, whatever that may be.
NewCo Boston is one of four signature industry-wide events MassTLC hosts throughout the year – the others include: Boston/TechJam in June, the Mass Technology Leadership Awards in September, and TRANSFORM in November. Check out our events calendar for details upcoming MassTLC events.