For a college student, summer doesn’t always mean we get a break. If you don’t have a job, an internship or a summer class schedule, it feels like a wasted semester instead of a season. This summer, I decided to apply for FSU Shadow to feel like I didn’t throw my summer away.
It turned out as one of my greatest decisions.
If you’ve never heard of FSU Shadow, it has all of the elements of a job shadowing program and is put on through the Career Center at Florida State University to help Seminoles figure out what career path they want to embark on. Every winter, spring, and summer break, the Career Center compiles a list of companies that have open applications for shadowing in one or multiple departments. Usually, an alumnus from FSU signs up for their company. Then, Seminoles get encouraged to send in their resumes on Handshake, which, like LinkedIn, serves as an application to showcase your resume and search for jobs and internships. Students can apply to as many shadow opportunities as they’d like in any department, such as the marketing department, finance department or a job shadow with the CEO.
I’ve done two shadow programs before, one with Office Depot’s Brand Management department and one with Red Spot Interactive’s Digital Content Team.
They both gave me extremely insightful advice in terms of helping me figure out how creative of a position I wanted, how I’d enjoy office life and whether or not I should get my Master’s. Shadowing allowed me to see if I even liked the duties and responsibilities of the women I shadowed. I enjoyed my experience so much that I decided to apply for another shadow position this summer.
On August 6, I traveled from South Florida to Orlando to shadow the Marketing Department for the Orlando Magic.
Yes, the NBA team. As I thought more about it, the nerves took over me. I knew I loved marketing and communication, but I never looked into sports marketing. Not to mention marketing for a team I didn’t know much about since I grew up with loyalties to another. (Let’s go, Heat!) I worried that I would come off ignorant, so I did a lot of research before my shadow day. But, it turned out that I didn’t need to since everyone I shadowed that day turned out welcoming and super helpful.
On my shadow day, I shadowed the Assistant Director of Marketing, the Fan Development Manager, the Marketing Media Coordinator and the Marketing Manager.
Every single one helped me gain more knowledge about the marketing, branding, media and sports industries than I could imagine. They taught me about building successful marketing campaigns through outreach, increasing awareness and staying consistent in the real world since the Orlando Magic just released a new campaign days before I visited. I shadowed graphic designers to learn more about style guides and sales collateral, which my communication classes didn’t teach me. A fellow Seminole who led the Fan Development Team not only hooked me up with tons of Magic swag but also extended his business card to me to let me know if I ever needed anything after graduation, I could go to him. I left that day with business cards from the whole department.
The last conversation I had at the end of the day turned out as the biggest takeaway from my job shadow.
The Marketing Media Coordinator and a marketing intern took me into their break room to talk, and I got a ton of advice. Stephanie, the Marketing Media Coordinator, told me to always keep my options open. Luckily, in the media industry, opportunities stretch far and wide. She let me know that I didn’t have to narrow myself down to one job. I could work for an advertising agency, a company, a sports team, a minor league sports team, a team of any sport in any state, an arena or stadium and MORE. She opened my eyes to paths that I didn’t know were paved for me.
Emily, the intern I met, had just graduated and lent me all of her wisdom on searching for jobs and internships.
Her biggest advice? Reach out. Just reach out to anyone and everyone you can that you believe could give you meaningful guidance. She told me about the times she would listen to guest lecturers at events and take down their e-mails just so she could ask them for advice and opportunities that led her to other people. She told me about the times she would look up alumni from her alma mater that worked for companies she admired on LinkedIn. She would ask them about their journeys and if they had time to talk to her over the phone or meet up for coffee. Doing so landed her the internship with the Orlando Magic. There, my friends, shows the power of networking.
As I start my senior year at FSU, I’ll continue searching for valuable experiences regarding my future like FSU Shadow.
Learning the most effective and efficient ways to network with others while building my personal brand and resume helped me immensely in terms of navigating my career path. Whether I’m learning new marketing terms or going through style guides, I know I learned important tips and tricks that I can take with me in my future roles and positions.