“My older brother’s friend helped me get into this company…” Brittany said. “I never heard of them and didn’t even know what they did”, she continued in her vague descriptions of a company in North Haven, Connecticut. Brittany graduated Fairfield University in 2012. While the recession had lost its vigorous grip on the nation at that point, Connecticut still was hurting and twentysomethings seeking jobs often had similar stories to Brittany. Many were just happy to get a job.
The challenge with getting “work experience” is that your brand is being built related to job, skills, location, and industry. A twentysomething who spends 6 years as a financial analyst in Stamford has branded himself with those descriptors. Brittany as a twentysomething who spent 6 years in a marketing administrative role had done the same. The difference, of course, is that Brittany had not really built her brand in a way that served her because she had no real interest in her industry or job.
When I work with anyone, I am always thinking 5 years ahead. How can I best position my clients to be where they want to be 5 years from now? That’s what on my mind. Most of my clients, understandably, are escaping present pain. While I understand the need to “get a job”, part of any twentysomething’s mindset should be positioning oneself to build skills and industry expertise in an area of choice. Drifting into a career path will lead to long term unhappiness.