What My First “Real-World” Job Has Taught Me

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Michiko Morales

There’s no crash course on preparing for the real world after college (might I add, there should be). It’s pretty much trial by fire – you’re either ready or you’re not.

If you would have asked me months ago – right after I graduated college – if I thought I would be where I am today, I would have said “yes” without hesitation. But the real question should have been whether or not I believed that.

Next month will mark my five-month anniversary working at one of the country’s fastest-growing integrated marketing agencies specializing in high-growth technology companies. While you might roll your eyes at five months’ experience and shrug it off like it’s nothing, I have learned far more during that time than I ever thought possible.

  1. There’s a lot more to social media than tweeting your #firstworldproblems.

Within my first few weeks at Gabriel Marketing Group, I was exposed to the world of social media for businesses. Before now, I’d primarily used social media to communicate with friends and stay up-to-date on current events (pop culture totally counts…). But there’s an entire world out there of social brand management that includes numbers and analysis related to every single tweet, post and engagement

Every single tweet, including the downright embarrassing ones (looking at you, DiGiorno), has analytics that track who, when and even where your social media reaches. Each tweet is carefully tailored, from keywords to hashtags, to ensure a certain audience sees it. Being a self-proclaimed social media enthusiast, GMG has expanded my knowledge and shown me how to make a huge impact through social media–developing influencer campaigns, creating awareness and driving leads and sales–instead of using Twitter strictly for fun. It’s amazing how 140 characters can make a dramatic difference on a brand.

  1. Hone vs. home in.

My writing skills grow every single day. Working with some amazing writers and editors, I’ve picked up on grammar dos and don’ts, while also learning my strengths and weaknesses in writing. Because I spend a good amount of my time working on pitches and press releases, I’ve learned to look back on my work in the months prior. I was a confident writer before, but I’ve come incredibly far in just five months.

For example, I’ve learned how to take straight-to-the-point information and turn it into something a little more interesting that will catch a journalist’s attention. Instead of taking several hours or even days to draft a project, I’ve learned the recipe for a quick turn around. From blog posts to media alerts and other tasks, I can finally say, I’m kind of digging this writing thing, which I previously dreaded. Sure, seeing red lines crossing through 50 percent of your sentences (instead of 90 percent) isn’t what everyone wants to see, but it shows I’m learning and improving.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, isn’t that right, Kelly? And P.S. I didn’t even know these two phrases existed in the dictionary before joining the GMG team.

  1. Ain’t nobody messing with my clique.

You’ve heard the quote before, “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” And this realization, my friend, I owe in its entirety to working at GMG. Almost five months in, and I’m still not used to waking up at 7:30 a.m., to working at least eight hours a day, to juggling numerous responsibilities throughout the day…but, the people I’m surrounded by and the work I’m doing has made me LOVE (yes, emphasis needed) coming to the office every morning.

Each and every team member at GMG has taught me something different, something worthwhile – inside and outside of work – that will follow me wherever I go. Whether it’s how to successfully pitch the media, how to use my mistakes to better my work or how to perfect the Beyoncé hair flip, I’m surrounded by the most inspiring, driven people.

Call me cliché, but I never thought I would have learned as much as I have, nor be as happy as I am, just five months out of college. For some people, it takes time to find their niche, to know what they really want to do. But for me, I’ve never felt more at home, more motivated or more accomplished than here at GMG, and I know the best is yet to come.

Fallen in love with GMG already? Great news – we’re hiring!

Join the most upbeat and exciting integrated communications agency in the Washington, D.C. area. Take it from me, joining the GMG team was one of the best decisions I’ve made, and it can be yours, too! Interested in learning more about our opportunities or applying? Visit our careers page.

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Leah Nurik