I don’t know how I’ve landed in this situation, but I’ve come to a realization during my exploration in job hunting: I’m an impossible girl.
I am a creative force through my writing, my crafting, and my limited marketing/advertising design skills. I am also constantly analyzing data, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and checking out my own Twitter analytics for the fun of it. That’s just the job aspect – my own interests in comic books, NASCAR, and sewing as a twenty-something South Dakotan who actually wants to stay in the state makes me an anomaly.
What I’m quickly learning is that employers…see me as the whole package, rather than what I can do for them. That’s the closest I can describe it. And for all the times I’ve been able to make magic happen, I don’t know how to counteract this stigma. Twice I’ve been so close to a job I could taste it, only to be turned down for analytic positions because they wanted someone more “quantitative.” Here’s where I get fired up:
- I’m stereotyped as a creative person, yet creative marketing is where I feel the most uncomfortable and would prefer the behind-the-scenes work a data analytics job allows.
- I get asked ridiculously poor questions like “Do you like math?” as if this is an indication of whether I enjoy statistical data analysis.
That first point gets to me the most. Just because I like sewing, doesn’t mean I want to make costumes or quilts for every friend that asks. Yet these stereotypes push me into corners I don’t want to be in; anxious situations when I’m expected to create but lack the ability, writing when I don’t have the words, or performing when I lack the confidence. Not to mention these are only the stereotypes I can infer from the rejection emails.
I am an impossible girl, because I know how valuable the combination of creativity and analysis is in the communications world. In undergrad, I was a public relations student who crossed department boundaries and worked for the student newspaper when PR didn’t mix with journalism. It was worth it, because it meant I understood how both sides operate and how to fix communication issues. Now in the career world, I’m trying to figure out how to show employers that if you want effective communication between the creative and analytic departments, you need a liaison that has an understanding of both. It feels impossible now…but there has to be an employer out there somewhere who’s brave enough to take a chance with me.