The Digital Summer Clinic kicked off its second in-person All-Hands meeting with digital professionals on June 30, 2022. The day before the meeting, McCree posted a comment on Basecamp, a project management hub the clinic is utilizing this season.
“Think of this as an ask-us-anything session about our journey to our current roles, experience, in digital, advice, or anything else,” said McCree.
McCree and Wortman, two of the five mentors guiding DSC’s interns, sat at the front of SPARK East Innovation Center’s meeting space as questions from the interns rolled through Basecamp. Rich Phillipson, one of the 44 interns, asked, “What are some things you wish you knew when getting started in digital/searching for that first ‘career’ job?”
Two main points were made in response. The first is to lead with experience and not general interests in the interview process. The second is to branch out in order to reach your goals. In the example given, if you want to work in digital media for the Detroit Pistons, you might want to start at an agency and make your way to the Pistons. “Agencies are breeding grounds for opportunity,” said Wortman.
“Was there any particular skill you wish you had started developing earlier in your career journey? If so, what were they?” Onkutsa Tudosa asked. A slew of recommendations followed including strengthening your soft skills, being a problem solver, using the scientific method, getting comfortable asking questions, and remembering that life is sales.
Each item on this list was expanded with powerful advice. Soft skills, also referred to as core skills, are social and communication skills utilized in all professions. Some examples include time management, teamwork, and critical thinking. The statement ‘remembering that life is sales,’ refers to not undercutting your abilities. Being confident in your work experience, dexterity, and competence will benefit you greatly as a young professional.
Adriana Vicario asked, “What’s your advice to someone who is struggling to figure out what they want to do career wise?” The two hosts explained different approaches centered around knowing more about yourself as an individual.
Wortman’s advice was to figure out what motivates you in your work and ask yourself, “where does that live?” Based on your discovery, you can search for the career that houses these ambitions. McCree responded with a recommendation to explore a personality test and the roles that typically align with your personality type. He expands by using his own results as a model. As a “big picture person,” in a team setting, working with another big picture person could result in their project missing important details. Ideally, he would work with someone who is detail orientated, and together they could create a complete and thorough project.
“What is your advice on building your skills in a position you may know little to nothing about?” Asked Raksha Suresh. Their answer was to ask the top five people in your department their five best tips. With this method, you are receiving a total of 25 tips for success directly from the people who are advancing in this field every day.
Lynaa Yousef asked, “What would be your biggest advice for those who are feeling unsure or indecisive?” They detailed that it comes down to wording and making connections with people. Having positive relationships with the people you work with is a resource for dealing with uncertainty. To maintain this healthy connection, avoid making statements like, ‘I have a problem or an issue.’ Instead, phrase it as a question such as, ‘does this seem like the right way to proceed?’
The room broke into applause following the mentors’ time and tales of their expertise. McCree is currently a partner manager for Pinterest and Wortman is working as a principal account manager for Google. Both McCree and Wortman are executives in residence for Eastern Michigan University’s Center For Digital Engagement and share prior experience with iProspect.