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Steve Irwin The Crocodile Hunter, a skydiver, a shark whisperer (made that one up) and a lion tamer are some of the people that come to mind when I think of daredevils.  Or Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian skydiver and BASE jumper who did a free fall from space to earth for Red Bull’s Stratos project.  I’m no Austrian skydiver, but I’ve taken some bold risks within my career.  Risk can be a bit intimidating, but it got me my dream job as an Account Executive.  I wouldn’t trade that in for the world. 

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Here’s how I did it:

Feed Your Inner Curious George

I’ve always had a strong curiosity about Account Management.  Being the liaison between agency and client, relationship building, creating strategies and resolutions according to client needs, and management - those key words have always sparked a fire of interest in me.  My curiosity prompted me to chat with a couple of Assistant Account Executives and Account Managers I knew in order to dig deeper into a department I’ve never worked within, but desired to do so.

Hey, I can do that!

After my curiosity lead me to chatting with people I knew in Account/Client Service roles, I thought to myself, ‘Hey, I can do that.’  I’ve never worked on the Account Management side within an agency, but I had experience working with clients such as Verizon, Wells Fargo and McDonald’s at previous internships.  I whipped out my resume and pinpointed all of my transferrable skills.  Working within a team environment (check), time management (check), ability to work in a fast paced atmosphere (check), media placement (check), problem solving skills (check).  (With all of my check and scratch marks, my resume looked like a grocery list.)  I had already learned a majority of the skills needed for the Account Executive role.  Ladies, don’t undermine your abilities.  You’ll be surprised at how qualified you are.

Deep breathes and jump

At this point, I knew I had to take the plunge.  I logged into my LinkedIn account and started connecting and messaging with HR contacts at different agencies like TMP Worldwide (where I now work).  You have to make yourself unique.  Clicking and applying is not enough.  It’s all about connecting and relationship building.  The more interpersonal and likeable you are, the more a person is open to hearing you out.  Ultimately, be YOU.  Express what you’re looking for, why you’re looking for it, what you can bring to the table, your interest in opportunities for growth, and your willingness to bring your skills and discover the unknown.

The waiting game...

‘Was I crazy for thinking I was The Crocodile Hunter?’  ‘Should I have taken the plunge?’  Thoughts of worry and doubt consumed my mind while playing the waiting game for responses about career opportunities in Account Management, especially after sending message after message to contacts through LinkedIn.  Messaging someone you don’t know can be intimidating, like cold calling.  But that’s a positive risk worth taking.  What do you have to lose when you have so much to gain?   

I whipped out my resume and pinpointed all of my transferrable skills.

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Oh my God!

I’ve never tamed a lion nor jumped out of a plane, but my adrenaline at this point was at an all time high.  Just when I thought a couple of days felt like a couple of years, emails asking me to come in for an interview for Account Executive roles started pouring in.  ‘Was this actually happening?’  ‘Is this what it feels like to be a daredevil?’  I would have been kicking myself back then, if I knew where I am now, if I didn’t take the risk.  My confidence shot up, I gave the phone screenings and in person interviews my best shot.  When I received a ‘good news, call me email’ from one of the HR contacts I had initially messaged on LinkedIn, it felt surreal.  Receiving an offer letter as an Account Executive at a company I wanted to work and grow within felt as euphoric as eating a tube of Talenti gelato.  Let your curiosity push you into taking positive risks, especially within your career journey.  This can be applied to anything you want to accomplish.  Once you start to develop the frame of mind, ‘What’s the difference between me and the next person?’  The rest is history.

Nas said it best, ‘The World Is Yours.’

 

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