College doesn’t prepare you for work life

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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The first blow of reality that I received when I started working in a startup was that my four-year career in marketing was of little use for what I was about to face.

I was hired as a Marketing Associate within two weeks of entering as an Intern , with the aim of helping the marketing area generate leads (at that time I had no idea what a lead was).

My job was to write articles and create content for social networks. That was the first time that I was faced with SEO strategies through SEO, SEM, SMO and SMM. I had no idea what they were or what they consisted of, but thanks to the support of my then boss, and my hunger to learn new things, I began to familiarize myself with those terms that at that time seemed so strange.

Strange especially because at university they taught us things like who Phillip Kotler was and what he did, the 4Ps, the history of Starbucks, McDonalds and Coca-Cola, and many others that I could not apply at work as they had taught me.

Just as I was beginning to grasp the thread of how they were made, what they worked for, and how results could be measured, the unthinkable happened (at the time): a global pandemic that left millions of people out of work, including myself.

The reality I was faced with made me realize how little I knew, and how much I had to learn.

This did not make me give up learning, on the contrary, it made me realize something fundamental:

My path was just beginning.

Constant learning, essential to improve

Everything you consume on the internet may be building or entertaining you, you must choose well. The key is in the balance, not in getting exclusively to see content that does not contribute anything.

Use digital tools to specialize in something that allows you to grow in the workplace where you are. To give you an example: I am a marketer but I am currently specializing in data analysis in order to create effective strategies from real data. All I had to do was find the ideal course for me, sign up, and take the sessions.

This will allow you to learn in real time the tools that are used in today’s world. Technology is constantly updated and improved, you must do the same to be at the forefront.

In this way, you will gain competitive advantages, which can mean getting a better job, broadening your vision, and can even give you enough knowledge to start your own business.

The doors also open if you dare to knock

Nothing is going to fall to the sky.

In an ideal world, graduating means: working, getting paid well, and being able to build a full life.

The real world is different.

Graduating means: uncertainty, applying to many jobs, being rejected for lack of experience, and even settling for the first offer they make to you (whether you like the job or not).

There is also the path of entrepreneurship, which is something even more difficult if you do not have a clear definition of what you want to achieve, how you want to help and what problem you are going to solve.

In my opinion there is something essential that can help you on this path:

Believe it.

Believe you are capable of contributing with your vision, believe you are capable of solving problems, believe you are capable of being a talented person who, wherever he goes, reaches out to add.

This is essential, anywhere a person with certainty of what they know and security in what they can contribute stands out more than one who does not know what they can contribute, or where they want to go.

Once you have that security in you, it is time to knock on doors. Several opportunities in my career were given because I dared to take the first step. I sent that message, I wrote that email, because I already have the confidence of knowing that I have a lot to contribute.

Make all the mistakes you can

The most successful people I’ve ever met have one thing in common:

They have made countless mistakes.

Mistakes shape your path, make you learn and allow you to improve. They are essential in life, it is well said that “by spoiling you learn.”

The process is more important than the result. If you are not able to enjoy what you do while you are doing it, you probably will not last long on that road, and the results will not come. It is important to find something that you can do every day, in this way, you can last longer in the process and as a consequence have more experience.

It is no coincidence that all the people we see as successful are simply experts in their fields. These people have been repeating the same actions for years to get to where they are.

Making mistakes is a good sign; it means you are taking action. Those mistakes are the basis of what you can later call success. Of course, as long as you learn from your mistakes, be aware of what you did wrong and improve it next time.

Find a mentor, they will make your way easier

“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” Steven Spielberg.

The key to finding a good mentor is someone who has already traveled the path that you seek to travel. This can save you time, resources, and may even prevent you from making mistakes.

A mentor is a life hack . It may be a person that you admire (I have met people who have Bill Gates or Steve Jobs as a mentor), but my recommendation is that it be someone you know, since people who are from another country or from another era, lived in a totally alien to yours.

Finding it can be tricky, which is why Entrepreneur put out an article with tips for finding a good mentor.

No matter how you find it or the person it is, if it works for you, it is enough.

I learned all of the above through mistakes. That is why I wrote this article, so that these tips help you not only to improve, but also to make you realize that you are not going wrong, that everything requires patience and it is a process that you have to live.

If you are in a job that you do not like, or you tried a business that failed, before you give up remember this:

Everything is temporary.

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