hailey at the officeI had the privilege of talking with MSU students at the CAS Connect Career Fair last Friday. The event is a prime opportunity to engage with soon-to-be Spartan alumni, build our network, and perhaps meet the next member of our team. CAS Connect is particularly special to me because it’s where I met Gravity Works and launched my career.

It was a special milestone when I was handed my “MSU Alumni” ribbon at the registration table. Exactly one year ago, I was in the same shoes as the students anxiously pacing the halls, practicing elevator pitches, and making sure they had enough copies of their resume. Now I was on the other side of the booth.

I’ve stepped into so many different roles that my title--Marketing Specialist--doesn’t cover all that I do. Yes, I help create marketing strategies, manage our social media, and maintain the blog. But I’ve also been involved with sales and business development, writing proposals, handling sales calls, writing web content, and promoting our brand at conferences around the country.

The toughest challenge had been stepping into the unfamiliar and complex world of web development and design, and being tested as an expert when I felt like an ameatur. “Fake it until you make it” became my mantra, challenging me beyond my comfort zone. But I learned quickly on the job and nine months later, I no longer feel like I’m fumbling around in InDesign or pretending to know the difference between UX and UI. There’s little faking it anymore; I’m slowly emerging as the professional that I knew I could be.

As a recent graduate, my advice for students is to stay open minded to all opportunities. Don’t get so stuck on your idea of the “perfect job” that you fail to see when something great is in front of you. Accept that your talents are valuable and desired to many different employers. Once you do that - your opportunities become limitless!
I took a chance accepting this job, in an industry that I never considered before, but it turned out be better than any “first job” I could have dreamed of. Keep an open mind, challenge yourself, and I bet you’ll be on the other side of the booth next year too!