Heather Burchfield did everything right: she went to a good school, secured great internships, edited the school newspaper, got good grades, and established a professional network. Yet, when Heather graduated three years ago she was still unable to land a job in her chosen field— journalism.
Determined to break out on her own, Heather found contracting positions for several newspapers, beginning with the “graveyard shift” for USA Today. Shortly thereafter, Heather was offered a position with Patch.com—an emerging startup in the online publishing world—and she jumped at the opportunity. As one of the first ten employees of Patch, Heather had the chance to gain experience with all facets of online journalism from photography to reporting, writing, editing and online publishing software. Her role at Patch also got her noticed. Suddenly, Heather’s name was mentioned by the firemen, policemen, PTO members, and merchants because she put Patch on the map in her local area. Her involvement with her community quickly made Patch known as the “go-to” website for many of the town’s residents.
It was an easy decision for another employer to scoop her up after her success at Patch.
Concerned about job security, a mere 4% of college students said they wanted to work for a startup, according to a 2012 SimplyHired survey. Considering one in two recent college grads are unemployed or underemployed, we at CareerFuel believe that startups offer resume-building opportunities that far outweigh the possible downside. As Heather discovered, working at a startup is a great chance to wear a lot of different hats and not only prove yourself, but narrow your field of interest. If you are a recent grad with drive, talent and ambition, find yourself a startup and jump in—it could be the accelerator your career needs.
P.S. Heather was promoted in January, 2013 to Director of Communications at Oak Knoll School–less than one and a half years after starting with them.
Interested in learning more about online media? Watch and learn about The Alternative Press, a local news organization.
This is another segment in CareerFuel’s “How America Works” series, a collection of small business success and job search success stories! Do you have a job search success story? If so, we would love to hear about it!