All Experiences Can Be Helpful Experiences
By: Nicole Harvey
I am a current senior enrolled in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. I’m hoping to graduate and enter the real world in May. With that being said, I’d like to pass on some senior thoughts. Throughout my years in high school and college I have had some pretty interesting work experiences. I know what some of you younger folks are thinking, “I have to get the best internship of my life in college so that I can be set up with a job after I graduate”.
Right? Not necessarily.
While those internships may sound good on a resume and don’t get me wrong, they do,
that doesn’t have to make it or break it for your future.
All jobs can teach you valuable lessons. For example, there are a few skills that are important to learn when entering the advertising world – how to sell yourself, an idea, or a product; how to be transparent and communicate effectively with others, how to deal with confrontation and become detail-oriented.
I am here to tell you that there is no better place to learn those skills then through a customer service job. My very first gig in high school was as a waitress at my local Applebee’s. I’m going to tell you just how helpful this job was for me (even though my feet killed by the end of the night and I was basically a zombie when my shift was over at 2 a.m.).
Selling a product: As a waitress people trust your opinion of the food. As a result, it is your responsibility to sell them on the dishes you think they would enjoy. You must know the products well enough that the customer can understand what they are getting themselves into, but you must also present yourself in way that will ensure them you are a reliable source.
Unexpected things can also happen all the time. A customer’s food won’t come out on time or you accidentally enter something incorrectly for their order. While these may be seen as negative situations they can be great learning experiences for you to use in the ad world.
Be transparent and detail oriented: When someone’s food is taking too long, or you placed their order incorrectly, take time to get to know your guest by creating conversation and be transparent about the workload in the kitchen, or take responsibility for the mess up. Transparency will ease some of the frustration and allow them to enjoy their dining experience. This mishap will also teach you how to slow down and pay extra attention to details (like the customer who wanted that extra side of ranch).
All of these skills are important in the world of advertising, and while they may not have been picked up during an internship they are still valuable and applicable to your career after college. They can also be highlighted on a resume (without having to mention your time as a skittle colored polo waitress at Applebee’s). So for those of you that are out there doing a variety of jobs to stay afloat in the college world, just remember, those experiences can be helpful experiences. So, work on.