Life Update: How I Got an Internship at Adidas

expat, life update, mental health

You might think that spending months without having to go to work everyday sounds like heaven. Well, I’m here to tell you firsthand that it’s not- especially when you’re living as an expat in a new country. My journey so far here in Germany has been a rollercoaster of emotions, a never-ending search for jobs, and- to top it all off- a heaping dose of homesickness. Though I enjoyed having the liberty to work freelance for several months, I learned the hard way that staying at home most of the week was not good for my mental health.

Since I live in the heart of Franconia- just around the corner from Nuremberg- I am also situated next to some of the biggest companies in Germany (Adidas, Siemens, Puma, GfK, and more). So when I first arrived in Germany, I thought: “Lucky me! It’s going to be super easy to get a job at one of these English-speaking German companies.” Little did I know that the competition to work for a renowned company like Adidas was fiercer than I anticipated. Not only are people applying from within Germany and Europe- but from all around the world!

Photo from the day of shooting the Adidas application video

My first attempt at applying was for a traineeship in corporate communications. I put all of my effort into the required video application- creating my own script and even trying some new video editing techniques to make it vintage/80s style. Unfortunately, I eventually received an email that I didn’t get the job. Not only was I rejected, but I felt incredibly disheartened that I didn’t get any feedback on a video that I had put so much work into.

At first, I wanted to bury my old application video and prevent it from ever seeing the light of day. But now I’ve realized that it was good practice for me to begin aligning myself with the Adidas brand and it might actually help others who are thinking of applying or who need to make an application video! Check it out below.

After I swallowed my shame, I decided that no matter what I would keep trying until I got a position at Adidas- even if it took me a year (which it almost did). I constantly re-made my resume, researched what others did to get a job at Adidas, and looked for any constructive feedback I could find to improve my chances of getting hired.

Once we hit the middle of summer, my heart began to sink and I really lost hope in any possibility of working at Adidas. But then, completely out of the blue, I got an email about scheduling an interview! I felt overjoyed but once again didn’t get my hopes up because I had no idea if I’d get a call back after the interview. Turns out, I got along so well with the woman from HR on the phone that I was immediately asked about the second interview.

Originally, I wasn’t sure about what to wear to the interview- so I asked my neighbors and friends that work at Adidas. I settled on a sporty dress with my favorite bright pink Adidas sneakers (see photo below)- though I was pretty tempted to go all-out Adidas and wear my belt bag and a more formal black dress. Settling on the striped dress was a great choice because of the sweltering summer heat that day. Comfortable shoes were also smart, as I would be walking A LOT since we’re still saving up to get a car.

With Herzogenaurach (the city of the German Adidas headquarters) roughly a 30 minute drive away, I decided to do my second interview in person. As I pulled up to the campus, I got chills on my arms and felt incredibly excited about the prospect of working there. The Adidas outlet store and the giant Arena building just blew my mind. I had no idea the size of the campus was so huge! I saw people walking by wearing Adidas sweatpants, loose shirts, and even Adidas slides on their feet- and I couldn’t wipe the grin off of my face. Not having to wear tight business clothes or worry about planning outfits every day? This was my kind of workplace.

Side view of the outlet store from the bus stop where I was waiting

The interview was unlike any other interview I’ve done- we walked around the campus, grabbed something to drink at the cafeteria, and went outside to talk. I absolutely loved how there were power outlets everywhere- even on the tables outside. Working is not limited to the four walls of an office, and the beautiful architecture of the campus offers inspiration everywhere you look.

I was really excited to tell them about my career experience and get to know what they liked about working at Adidas. Interestingly enough, they wanted to know more about my personality and personal life than anything else. I couldn’t be happier to share my story, and it started to feel like a conversation with friends- making me feel even more comfortable. We got along really well, and I was so excited to find out whether or not I got the internship.

One of the things I tend to do (as someone with anxiety) is tell myself I am not worthy of certain things- especially big things like working at a company so amazing as Adidas. These toxic thoughts are something everyone goes through- so just know that if you’ve also had them, you’re not alone. I worked hard for almost a year trying to get this position, and did it all on my own. I told myself that regardless of whether I got the job or not, I would continue trying and take this as just another step closer to where I wanted to work.

Once I found out that I was hired, it took a lot for me to really congratulate myself and believe that it was real. Even now, I am sitting here in awe that my efforts finally paid off. It’s important to appreciate yourself and every little effort you put into life because there is no point in always doubting your potential.

The other day, I read a post on Instagram that my friend shared saying “We are so used to just being thankful for the chance to succeed that we have not learned to acknowledge and celebrate that we DESERVE success.” This is especially relevant to me, as an American Latina and daughter of immigrants, to embrace my success and know that I, too belong at the table.

I am so excited to start this new journey of my life, and really grateful I can use this platform to share my stories with you. What are some things you’re excited about in life right now? Comment below and stay tuned for the next blog!

Marketing Yourself Through Social Media

Professional, Uncategorized

In today’s bustling world of technology and online socializing, it’s critical for anyone entering the professional world to make a positive impression in all areas- including on social media. Though it can be difficult to find a balance between putting your personal versus professional side online, there are some social media pages where flexibility is valued. Depending on the profession, a slight emphasis on your “fun” side could be just what employers are looking for. The important part is knowing where to draw the line between social media outlets meant for privacy and those that can be manipulated to fit your career aspirations.

Let’s break down the different forms of social media, starting with the most personal and private. When it comes to privacy, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter are most often used for social interactions with close friends. They offer private messaging, calling, video/photo sharing, and repeatedly feature political, religious, and/or societal discussions. Granted, some people use Facebook to create special pages for their businesses or talents. These pages are the exception to the rule- but unless you’re an actor or business owner, there’s no need to create your own Facebook page.

For platforms like Snapchat and Facebook, enforcing strict privacy settings is probably the smartest option- especially if you like to post opinionated content or you’re just venting about your day. Again, these are more personal forms of social media and it’s probably best if a potential employer doesn’t catch which bar you went to last night on your Snapchat/ Instagram story or what your religious/ political/ relationship status is on Facebook and Twitter.

Bottom Line: Don’t add your employers on these social media outlets unless they’re either really close friends or they already know these things about you.

snapchat-2480959_1280

As mentioned earlier, privacy settings are a great way to separate your personal life online from the professional side you want employers to see. Because privacy is immediately an option for most social media outlets, try to figure out which ones you’d like to use for work and which ones are strictly for play. Instagram is a very flexible outlet that creates a balance between the two- without spilling all of your personal beliefs. As an image-heavy site, it’s a great way to portray your personal interests while simultaneously showcasing your personal branding skills with hashtags, creative captions, and tagging of relevant brands.

Don’t let the numbers get in the way- having the most followers or likes isn’t always a deciding factor for getting the job. Instead, focus on using Instagram to show employers your “fun” side and the numbers will come later. How do you spend your vacation time? What kind of creative outlets are you interested in? What are your hobbies and (healthy) recreational interests? Use specific hashtags and add your location in travel photos so others can see where you’ve been and follow your adventures. If you keep posting things that you enjoy, you’ll discover how many other people share your interests… and maybe even have something to reference when your employer brings up their favorite travel destinations or obsession with hiking.

Of course, avoid posting excessively racy photos, drinking, drugs, or any kind of inappropriate behavior in these images (unless that’s the kind of job you’re looking for). Save your Las Vegas selfies, cat photo collection, or college drinking conquests for another Instagram page. From beautiful photography and art to simple photos laughing with friends at a bonfire, emphasize the positive activities in your life so employers can see just how vibrant your personality is.

Bottom Line: Like it or not, today’s employers are consistently checking the background of applicants to see what they’re signing up for. Make sure you’re the one in control of how you look online- turn on the privacy settings for pages you don’t want them to see!

For an example of a personal/ professional Instagram aesthetic using fun travel photos (my favorite way to spend time off), check out my Instagram in the screenshot below, or click this link to go straight to my page. There, you’ll see how I like to use hashtags and posting techniques I’ve learned from managing social media pages for different businesses in the marketing industry.

insta jpg

While trying to keep up with your appearance to employers, don’t forget to put just as much effort into doing your homework on the company itself. A great way to do this is to start by Googling them, scroll through their social media pages, or find them on LinkedIn. Just as it’s important for you to look professional online, most companies work hard to maintain their own social media pages and provide up-to-date information for potential employees.

LinkedIn is an excellent professional social media outlet that can be used for networking, finding jobs, endorsing skills, and presenting your resume/ past experience. If you haven’t yet created one, it’s a great idea to make a LinkedIn page before applying for a job. With this outlet, you can research the company itself and start connecting with employees even before you land that interview. For a simple example of a LinkedIn profile, check out this link of my profile. I included a professional headshot, my resume, descriptions of past jobs, and a few of my skills endorsed by coworkers and friends.

Another excellent resource for presenting yourself professionally online is to create a website or blog. Blogging is an excellent way to attract employers by demonstrating your talent for writing- a highly coveted skill in any industry. As you may have noticed, the personal/ professional blog you’re currently reading was created using WordPress. Here are some other excellent free blogging services, like Bluehost, Weebly, and Squarespace. By creating a personal website or blog, you take control of exactly how you want to portray yourself to employers using a personalized platform.

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Finally, one of the best tips I found for marketing yourself online is to create a “social media loop.” Upon drawing viewers to your profile on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, a smart marketing move is to always include links to your other social media profiles. For example: when people see my Instagram page, the only link in my personal description box at the top of my profile leads directly to my blog posts here on WordPress. Then, once visitors are brought to my website, I include links to several of my other social media pages. The “loop” continues from there, with visitors bouncing between social media platforms and spending as much time as possible on my different pages.

By implementing a “social media loop” across all of your social media pages, you’ll hold viewers’ attention even longer and direct their gaze toward what you want them to see (your resume, website, photography, or just fun facts about who you are). Whether these visitors are friends or potential coworkers and employers, it’s important to create this loop to showcase your personal branding talent. Though this “loop” will especially count towards getting marketing and advertising jobs, it’s common practice for most companies to value an extensive social media presence in today’s advanced and competitive job industry.

Below is a screenshot from a free presentation by World Nate, “How To Build A Social Media Following.” In this slide, Nate’s girlfriend (and travel buddy) Hannah Martin outlines the importance of having a “social loop.” Her social loop connects various social media outlets to gain followers and promotion from her target audience: introverted travelers. Beginning with her Instagram page, a link takes visitors to her blog, where she features multiple other social media platforms. While this marketing “loop” is unique to their business (travel), it’s a great way to show employers your interests and keep them trapped on your various platforms so you are the candidate that remains at the front of their mind once they start scheduling interviews.

social loop.jpg

So, let’s go over the main points again:

  • Keep your personal life private on social media- avoid adding coworkers or future employers as friends (unless it’s a work-friendly platform like LinkedIn)
  • It’s ok to have a mix of personal and professional on your page– just be sure to keep it tasteful so that employers will take you seriously
  • Just as employers will likely investigate your social media platforms, you too should research their company and how they market themselves online. This can come in handy during interviews- what better candidate than someone who already did their homework!
  • Creating a website proves you can handle basic web-page formatting and highlights assets that might not be on your social media platforms (writing skills, photography, videography, etc.)
  • Capture your audience’s attention for even longer by creating a “social media loop.” Do this by simply linking different social media pages or websites on every platform and making it easy for your audience to scroll through each one.

 

That’s it! Thank you so much for reading this blog, and stay tuned for more helpful tips every week from yours truly. If you have any more questions regarding personal branding, how to use different social media platforms, or professional inquiries please contact me via email or messenger on one of my social media pages. Oh, and don’t forget to follow me to keep up with future blog posts!