Entering any new field as a recent grad is often fraught with fear. Do I know what I need to know? How well am I prepared? Add to that the recent upheavals in the print industry, and a career in print may seem daunting.
“First there’s the whole ‘print is dying’ phenomena being pushed by the digital world. It’s not, I assure you. Print is a 640 billion dollar industry driving $3.8 trillion in related services,” Christine Alexander of Dreaming in CMYK writes.
“Then there’s the whole ‘I know absolutely nothing about print’ thought that might be crossing your mind as you are contemplating whether or not to take the plunge into the ink on paper world,” Alexander continues.
She advises grads they are not alone in this area, then offers four specific strategies to overcome those newbie blues:
- Join a leadership development program
“The greatest decision I ever made was joining the Consolidated Graphics (now R.R. Donnelley) Leadership Development Program,” Alexander writes. “In the program you spend a little bit of time in each department of your print plant to gain valuable hands on experience….Many of these individuals have been doing their job for a very long time – pick their brain and learn something new every day.”
- Ask questions
“This again goes back to spending time with experts in your field. See them trouble shooting a machine? Find out why. Is there something an earlier department could have done to make their job easier? How about a CSR or sales rep? Pick up as much knowledge as you can, whenever you can.”
- Take the initiative
“Don’t wait for a directive, volunteer. If you see a process you think could use some improvement, speak up. The leaders in your organization will notice it, and I promise it will be rewarded.”
- Bring on the tech
“If your shop is anything like mine was when I first came on board – there’s a HUGE opportunity for a digital native to come in and make a difference,” Alexander notes. “Learn about the different technologies your company is offering (and even the ones they aren’t) and evaluate how they could help your clients. Becoming an expert in these technologies will make you the go-to person for any technology question.”
She’s got it right on these four points. Any new grad with this kind of attitude is likely to find a good reception wherever they choose to work.