Why hands on experience is key to develop your career
Updated: Mar 23, 2020
I was raised in a Latin American country with the belief that good grades in classes were paramount for success. Hence, education was always a priority in my life in order to grow professionally. However, when I graduated from high school and had to move far away from home, I realized that a new country is a synonym of new people, new culture, and new challenges. Simply the fact of having good grades was not a main differentiator among other well-prepared students in the United States. The good thing is that once I was aware about the situation, It is not hard to look for places in which you can add value and you feel passionate about.
I started studying a double major in media management and advertising within the communication department. During summertime instead of spending my downtime traveling or sleeping, I got myself involved in activities and internships related to my professional career. Experiencing real hands-on activities was the best way to learn whether I liked the job, what to improve, what to pursue, and where to deepen my knowledge when coming back to the university.
My first internship was in the trade marketing field for a multinational food producer from Colombia with offices in Miami. By this time, I was 19 years old and my main goal was to learn something broader than what I had been reading in textbooks. This internship was very fruitful, but I did not stop just with this one, I wanted to keep learning. As you grow older each year your way of thinking and perception change depending on the experience you face, so internships provide you with new tools to enhance your skills.
Each summer I would constantly look for different internships. I had the opportunity to work in the Spain Chamber of commerce and subsequently in an Advertising Agency called MARCA, where I am currently working full time. Going beyond, the corporate area is not the only place where you can get hands-on experience, any personal project or workshop will sharpen your skills and enhance your knowledge specially when it is an idea that you are passionate about. For example, I decided to host and produce my own podcast and radio show called “The Marketing Talk.”
The important part is to take small steps to that eventually will lead you to a place that you feel challenged and satisfied. For me, every experience have been directed to develop the best way to convey and enhance communication tools. I truly believe on hands on experience and the main takeaways of my story are:
1. Boosts your employability
Being able to work in a real-world experience provides people an edge over the competition. Also, it gives people the chance to develop and extend their personal and employability skills such as teamwork, time management, etc.
2. Theory in practice.
People is constantly learning theory but... When is the right moment to use it?
The best learning outcome is achieved by integrating theory with professional practice on internships. Sometimes students wonder the relevance of what they are learning, so being able to go into a work environment and apply theory that they’ve been taught is powerful.
3. Network Skills
Contacts are super important at the moment that people are out there looking for a job. So, developing networking skills during the real-world experience is an opportunity to start building trust and your brand as an early career professional.
4. Get the right direction
When we are studying, we might have doubts whether we will really like the job within the same field. Also, your major program might have different positions or specialties and you might not know which one you like. So, undertaking placement in an internship or project allows you to figure it out what do you enjoy for your future.
Victoria Ormaechea is a Venezuelan that has achieved several experiences in the communication area; that allowed her to complement her double major in media management and advertising. She has worked in the marketing area in companies such as Colombina S.A and The Spanish Chamber of Commerce. Currently she is an Assistant Account Executive in MARCA Agency.
She has not only been in the corporate area; she likes hands on experiences, so Victoria is the host and producer of her podcast and radio show called “The Marketing Talk.” She has not only developed her ability for public speaking in every episode, but she also writes as a blogger for a Mexican magazine called KENA. Victoria has centered her experiences in order to develop the best way to convey, enhance, and lead the communication tools people have on their hands.