From Hired to Hiring
Like many other students, starting college was overwhelming and exciting all at the same time. Starting my freshman year I didn’t know my major, my friends, or what I wanted life after graduation to look like. All I knew was I 1) needed a job, and 2) was looking for a sense of community within a massive university.
A Long Shot
In the fall of 2017 while job hunting, I saw a Facebook post at the University of Minnesota class of 2021 group for spring 2018 open positions at Backpack, then CLAgency. I was looking for a job for the upcoming semester that was more than something that paid the bills. The content creator position—at the time account executive—seemed like a good fit for me. As an eager underclassman interested in exploring the communications field with a love for storytelling, I was excited by the opportunity but had no idea if I was qualified or not. I was a freshman who had been at the university for less than 3 months and had no background in PR or even journalistic writing. Although it seemed like a long shot, I decided to throw my hat into the ring and see.
I got an email for an interview and was so excited. I put on my best sweater and headed to Johnston Hall. With no resume print-outs and no professional writing experience, I sat down with the agency’s student leadership and talked about all I could: my love for storytelling, my eagerness to learn, and the level of commitment I was ready to give.
Spoiler alert: I landed the job! I was confused yet ecstatic, and in my first semester as a content creator, I wrote feature stories for our largest client, the College of Liberal Arts, networked with industry professionals, and found the right degree path for me in ways I never would’ve been able to experience without Backpack.
What I’ve Learned
Since then, I’ve not only written a portfolio’s worth of stories as a content creator but later moved into the account manager position building brands and doing marketing for real, paying clients. Backpack has built up my resume and helped me land some awesome internships I would not have been able to without it.
Today, I’ve landed as Backpack’s operations director, and next semester I’ll be stepping into the general manager position to oversee the entire 40-person agency. In these positions, I’m able to take lead where it all started for me and every employee at the agency–hiring.
Now on the other side of the recruitment process, I understand why my seemingly uncompetitive background landed me a job among potentially more qualified candidates. Today when I look at applications, yes, background and experience are important, but even more so is passion, drive, and willingness to learn. Really, really wanting it is the most surefire way to stand out.
Join the Team
All in all, Backpack is not just a student job or your average internship, it’s a chance to learn from like-minded peers and get real agency experience all on campus. Joining the agency is not exclusive to seasoned over-achievers (although that’s likely what you’ll become), we’re looking for underclassmen with the drive to excel in their careers. After all, you really get out of the experience that you give.
With that being said, we are now accepting applications for fall 2020! Visit Join Our Team and apply by April 19, 2020. Who knows, maybe a few years down the line, you’ll be writing a blog about your experience too.