Hey Biz Kid$! Lauren here, writing from Washington, DC. I just graduated from Howard University in May, and now I’m out here living on my own and looking for a job. Transitioning from school to the “real world” can be tough, but if you plan ahead you can make it a smooth transition. Luckily, I moved off campus my senior year, so I’m already used to paying my bills and buying my own food. Unfortunately, I was employed by the school, so now I have to find a new job.
In these past few months, I’ve learned that knowing how to sell yourself is extremely important. While I’ve been looking for a job, I’ve been able to keep myself afloat financially with my savings account and various odd jobs. My major in school was Musical Theatre, so I did two shows this summer in DC, a few readings and a couple of small performances around town. However, since I’m not in a union yet, I don’t make enough from these performances to make a living. In order to make some extra money on the side, I applied to several promotional companies looking for Brand Ambassadors for various events. A Brand Ambassador’s job is to promote whatever product or event that a particular company has hired you to work. This could consist of handing out flyers and offering people information about the product/event, giving out free items or “premiums” to encourage people to use the product, or simply “being the brand” by wearing a company t-shirt and interacting with consumers. Promotional jobs are a great side hustle, because you are notified of events in your area, and you apply to work the events based on your availability. These jobs are very flexible and they pay well.
In applying for these jobs, employers often ask why they should hire you. I’ve learned to play up my strengths in order to get the jobs. I always include that I’m energetic, personable, and outgoing, and that I was a theatre major so I’m not shy and I know how to interact with people and meet their needs, and I have experience working with all types of people, because I’ve done various promotional events before. So far, I’ve booked every promotional job I’ve applied for.
Although these promotional jobs are a great side hustle, they are not consistent and reliable, so it’s important to have a more regular, dependable job. When trying to figure out where I wanted to apply to work, I thought of places that I enjoy being and would want to go to every day. The first place thought of was the gym where I work out. In the interview I played up the same qualities that I do for promotional companies, and it went great! It also helps that I work out there so often, so they are familiar with my face and they won’t forget about me. It has been difficult to find a time to interview with the owner, but every time I go in there I’ve been able to speak to the person I interviewed with, and she wants to bring me in as a work study student and transition me to an employee so I won’t have to pay for my membership. By being persistent, and choosing a place to work that I’m familiar with, I’ve been able to potentially make money, and knock off a monthly expense in my budget. When looking for a job, know what you want, know how to sell yourself, and make sure the employer doesn’t forget about you!