Professional Growth

I recently heard a piece of advice regarding applying for jobs. I was at a local advertising agency in Des Moines called Integer. Integer is an international agency held by the Omnicom Group and they are well respected among the advertising, marketing, and branding community. With huge clients such as Starbucks, Nationwide, Snickers, and more, it is no surprise that their employees are as talented and diverse as their clients. The piece of advice was given to my Concepts in Consumer Awareness class as we visited Integer for a tour. The advice at first seemed terrifying, absolutely insane to be frank. The advice: “Apply for jobs you don’t think you’re qualified for, it’ll make you better.”

It was advice that I wasn’t ready to take. I like to be prepared in everything I do. I research, analyze, and repeat, before I buy even the simplest of consumer products, much less apply for jobs that will be the beginning of my future career. It took me over a week to realize that while the advice seems terrifying, I should do it.

I pride myself on my preparedness, on my ability to research and improve. I realized that by applying to jobs that I may not be fully qualified for I am expanding my application knowledge, my knowledge of creating a solid cover letter, my networking skills. And because of that advice, I began to apply for a job as a Recruitment Coordinator for one of my dream employers: Pinterest.

I began to apply, writing my cover letter, creating an entire Pinterest board dedicated to giving them the information they should have to convince them to¬†hire me, to show them that I’m the correct choice for a position I’m probably not qualified for. I created 16 original and coordinated pieces of content to place on the board to show them that not only am I serious about my application, but I am passionate about their organization and their¬†platform as a whole.

As part of a different class taught by the same professor, I have been assigned to expand my LinkedIn network. I started randomly adding friends from school, seeing their photos and asking myself, “Why haven’t I added them prior to this?” I reached out to 5 different professionals around the United States asking them for information on their organization (4 belonging to Pinterest, 1 to a local agency in Des Moines). In fact, I even gathered the courage to request to connect with Ben Silbermann (the CEO and Co-founder of Pinterest) on LinkedIn.

All in all, the experience was liberating. I started off small, adding classmates, then younger professionals within a company, and then the CEO of a company. I don’t know if my attempts will bring in any responses, but I am excited to have the knowledge that the incredible young professionals at Integer were correct. The experience as a whole did make me better, two days into the process and I find myself a more confident communicator. I had a moment of professional growth that I won’t ever forget.

This growth has made me want to continue my professional development through bigger and better ways. This growth has inspired me to do more research, to write career relevant blog posts (Such as the one you’re reading right now), and to continue growing my network. So please, add me on LinkedIn, I’d love to hear about your experiences,



Rebecca Banger