When I graduated college, it was one of the happiest days of my life. My dream had finally come true as I walked across the stage to get my degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing and Information Systems. I had also completed two internships and served as the Vice President of the University at Buffalo American Marketing Association. “You may be wondering”, how did I get to where I am?
In my junior year of college, I started applying for marketing internships and quickly realized it was going to be an uphill battle. I am a first generation college graduate, and did I mention I worked three jobs to pay my way through college? Nor did not have any industry contacts. All of these were mental obstacles that I knew I could overcome with the right plan. I started doing research and realized that high paying marketing positions were not plentiful; the field was saturated with college graduates. Finding an entry level position would be a challenge, so I knew I needed to ask myself how I planned on differentiating myself from the competition.
I received a 99% out of 100% on my first test in Management Information Systems. I actually enjoyed studying the material and finished the semester with an A. After doing research on IT, I quickly found out that the field was less saturated and actually provided an opportunity for higher paying jobs. I noticed that many of the IT professionals I interacted with did not possess soft skills, which I knew would be my differentiator. I quickly concentrated in both Marketing and IT but in order to graduate, I would need to take classes in the summer and stay for an extra year. I was up for the challenge and after a great deal of hard work and consistency, I proudly earned both degrees. I still could not find my first job because I needed more industry connections!
In my senior year in college (2010) I found out about LinkedIn. It was a platform that allows users to establish relationships with business professionals all over the world. It was free to sign up and fairly easy to navigate. Ultimately, LinkedIn became my personal marketing billboard. With 24/7 free personal branding and promotion. I knew this would help me find the perfect job that aligned with my skills. I started connecting with recruiters, hiring managers, IT professionals and owners and before I knew it I started receiving several messages with job offers.
During this time, I was interning at the Office of Emergency Management in Brooklyn, NY. I worked as an IT intern but unfortunately did not get an offer for a full time position following the internship. I was bummed for a while, as I truly enjoyed working there. I had made excellent industry contacts and received 4 LinkedIn recommendations. Shortly after, I reached out to a recruiter at Google on LinkedIn and I got a phone interview. Sweet!!! I started moon walking in my brother's basement apartment. I beat out 3000 students for this interview. I studied weeks for this interview and did well, but unfortunately did not get an offer. It was a great learning experience and truly strengthened my interview skills and knowledge.. On the bright side, I had multiple interviews in the upcoming weeks.
After more than twenty interviews, I took a Technical Support Specialist position at Ingram Micro. It was a Pre Sales position and fit my skills perfectly. I found the hiring manager on LinkedIn and studied his profile for days.During the interview we instantly connected and I ended up getting the position. We are still friends to this day, 4 years later.
I have been promoted five times in four years and have made hundreds of industry contacts while leveraging both of my academic concentrations. This brings me to why I started my company, Elevated Progression - to assist professionals, students and small businesses with developing their brand. We help our clients follow their passion and align them with a career they love. We have a 99% success rate as a result of our work tailored specifically to each individual client. Check us out at www.ElevatedProgression.com !
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