Tiona Langley is a freelance producer (previously, she was a producer at Google Creative Lab in NYC) and a 2018 ADCOLOR FUTURE. While navigating the beginning of your career can be stressful, Tiona loves the process of building the career of her dreams, and has some tips to share to help you build yours. Here's Tiona—
Building the career of your dreams can seem like a daunting task, especially right out of college.
I remember when I first started working in production, my mentors and supervisors told me that it would take forever to become a producer, at least 10 years. I’d just graduated college with wide eyes and tons of hope about what the future would hold. I’d had 6 internships, including one in Chicago at a pretty big ad agency. I started applying for jobs before I’d even graduated. I was determined to have my dream job in a major city by graduation. My expectation was that landing my dream job was going to be a cake walk, because I’d put in the work.
Unfortunately, things don’t always work exactly the way we planned them in our heads. I had a couple of options when I graduated without a job—grab the first professional job that’ll pay me, even if it’s not in my field, or hustle for my dream job.
I chose to hustle. Along the way, I learned some great lessons that I’d love to share with you. My biggest tip is to keep a journal. That way, you can make notes on these prompts and revisit them later.
Determine what you’re good at + what you’re interested in
You don’t have to have know exactly what you want to do by the time you enter college, but by the time you graduate, you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re interested in, what classes or extracurricular activities excite you, or the type of life you might want to live. Even if you don’t have all the answers (Sway), thinking through these questions might help.
What do I think about when I wake up or before bed?
What do I spend most of my free time doing?
When do I feel the most fulfilled?
Which classes or activities have I enjoyed the most?
What do I actively research or seek out?
What are my values?
What type of lifestyle am I looking for?
What companies share my values?
What kind of work do I want to create?
Make achievable, short term and long term goals
I did this a lot in my year between school and my first full-time job. This is the most measurable way to plan for your career. Create goals for yourself, like meet one new person at this networking event, or redo my entire portfolio. Whatever your goals are, give yourself a deadline and make sure that they’re achievable so you don't get discouraged.
Dream big + be easy on yourself
In order to create the career of you dreams, it’s imperative to understand that it’s a process. Every step on your journey is just as important as the next one. You will probably start at the bottom, but don’t let anyone else determine how long you have to stay there. And if it takes you longer than you thought, be easy on yourself. Don’t look outward at what everyone else is doing. Look inward, trust yourself, and keep dreaming big. You’ll get there.
You got this,
Tiona is currently a freelance producer, and is working on a pilot in LA. Before that, she was a producer at Google Creative Lab in NYC. She enjoys writing and baking pie in her free time, but really, she’s in love with the process of building the career of her dreams.
Connect with Tiona on LinkedIn.