If you follow my posts closely here at GenTwenty then you already know I work for an international educational exchange company in Portland, Maine. From July 2018 to November 2019, I worked on the digital marketing team of said company where I managed digital campaigns on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, created automated email nurtures, and spent quite a bit of time assessing campaign performance against historical trends and departmental goals. There was a lot of ad creative, calculations, and collaboration in this role.
In short, it was a really rewarding job, but I knew for a while it wasn’t my dream job.
Don’t get me wrong: it was a fantastic position. Digital marketing is an extremely competitive space right now and there are so many skills to acquire in a role like this. Optimizing digital campaigns, managing budgets, and targeting audiences on social media are very relevant learning experiences for any professional in today’s digital climate. Everyone is online and online advertising is incredibly critical for practically every industry.
But, I learned pretty quickly that I wasn’t thriving in my role. I loved my team, felt appreciated by my company, but didn’t totally adore what I was doing each day. I wanted to switch gears, focusing less on analysis and more on content creation. I had transparent conversations with my supervisor during the time I was in this role. I told him I didn’t have a whole lot of love for the work, even though I was skilled at most of it. He was encouraging though, telling me to keep on keeping on and try my best to stick with it. But, he knew I wanted to move on.
Flash forward several months when big news came my way. There was an opening for a copywriter in the company and I was a person the hiring manager was interested in. YES! This was the big break I was hoping for! If you know me at all, you know I love to write and edit. I’ve written several novels over the years, self-published two of my books, and I’ve been with the GenTwenty family since 2013. I am a sucker for blogging, editing, and all things writing.
Well, I had to apply. I notified my supervisor of my interest, submitted my application, and waited to hear back. It wasn’t long after that I found out I got the job and would be moving into the role in the coming weeks. WOOHOO!
I was stoked about the big career change and had quite a bit of time to do some reflecting thereafter. I realized how much had changed over the course of my twenties when it came to my career. I’ve moved around a lot over the years, but all of my career hopping ended up getting me from where I was to where I am today. I started my post-grad life working in office administration for a college. I then moved into administration and marketing for a real estate company. After that, I got into the digital marketing space at my current company. It was there that I got into my copywriting role at the same company. Now, I spend my days blogging, writing ads, and copyediting catalogs for study abroad programs my company sells. How cool is that?
It just goes to show that my journey wasn’t a straight line. I studied abroad twice in college and have loved writing ever since middle school, but it took me at least four big career moves to find my dream job: writing to college students about study abroad opportunities.
If there are a few lessons you could take from my experience, they would be:
1. Own your feelings about your work.
If things aren’t clicking at work, admit it to yourself. I wasn’t loving the analysis required of me in my digital marketing job, but the experience I got in that role led me to my copywriting position. Maybe what you’re doing isn’t your dream job, but it might be a gateway to the thing you love to do.
2. Don’t hide your truth from your boss.
What really helped me move within my company was support from my supervisor. Not everyone has a boss who is supportive and understanding, but if you do, try confiding in that person.
They might be really helpful in getting you from where you are to where you want to be. It doesn’t hurt to mention your concerns at work and see if you can fix them.
Networking is a key skill on so many levels, but really important in the workplace. I would not have landed my copywriting job had I not known the hiring manager and made a connection with her.
We collaborated on writing projects well before the job opening even came about. She had read my work overtime and we developed a working relationship. Networking is a critical way to advance your career. Don’t be scared to reach out to people in your organization and get to know them. They might be the person hiring you later in life.
4. Do work outside of the scope of your job.
You always know exactly what work has to be done before you start it, as all activities are outlined in the Scope of Work (SOW). But if you’re looking to get ahead — either professionally or financially — there are sound reasons to work outside your job description.
I volunteered my writing skills while working in my former position. I had written a few blog posts, ads, and emails to get my work out there in front of people.
At the time, this work was not related to my job but it helped me by getting my writing seen by other departments. This is ultimately what helped me get the copywriting job later. Sometimes you have to take on work, show some initiative, and make a case for yourself. It’s worth a shot!
Ultimately, there is no recipe for finding your dream job. I never thought I would find mine. For a while I had actually told myself it would never happen. That as much as I love writing, no one would ever pay me to do it.
I lost a bit of confidence in my work and just fell into a routine. It took an opening at my company to bring my confidence back, give me hope, and ultimately bring career happiness into my life. I knew from my first few days at my company that I loved the mission and people. But it took me well over a year to find the role that really fit me at said company. Good things take time. I’m just so thankful I had the skills, the passion, and the people rooting for me to help me get where I am today.
If you take anything from my experience, let it be this: be patient for the job you want. Sometimes it’ll come into your life when you least expect it, but other times you’ll really have to work for it. Timing is key, my friend. Be patient!