Leaving the fun and worry-free lifestyle of a college student to start your next chapter in the real world can be overwhelming and scary, especially since the hunt for that perfect first job can be tough and often intimidating.

When it seems almost impossible, however, remember two things: Don’t give up and have an open mind! Customer service might not sound like a dream job, but it can be and that is where I got my start. Below I’m sharing a bit more about my story, and if you are looking for a job where you can have a direct and positive impact with endless possibilities, customer service might just be the career path for you, too.

Even though I studied Public Relations and Journalism at school, I looked at all job opportunities. I wanted to find one that would offer room for growth and also help prepare me for my ideal career later on.

I stumbled upon a job at Chevrolet as a Social Media Customer Relationship Specialist and everything fell into place. I was excited to get an opportunity with a big brand like Chevy, where there could be several potential career paths.

As a Social Media Customer Relationship Specialist, I focus on providing a holistic customer experience, using social networks as a medium to identify in-market leads, crowd-source customer feedback on our products, and resolve issues or questions that customers have with our products, like the Chevrolet Sonic, Spark and Cruze. The customer service industry uses social sites like Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis to interact with customers. If, like me, you are familiar with these platforms – and are active on social sites in your personal life – customer service in any industry could be an opportunity for you.

Having a supportive team where managers care about your career and spend time mentoring you is one of the most important things to have in a first job. If you explore a role in customer service, or any field, it’s critical that you know your team and feel like you are a fit, from both a professional and personality standpoint.

Working in customer service allows you to come up with creative ways you can help customers and try to improve their experience.

Working in customer service allows you to come up with creative ways you can help customers and try to improve their experience. One example: I was working with a woman who had ordered a Chevy Spark and customized it exactly how she wanted. It was taking longer to get to her than expected; to cheer her up, I found an official Chevrolet photo of a Spark and wrote a message on the photo from her car saying that it couldn’t wait to meet her. I framed it, put it in a box with a t-shirt and a keychain, and shipped it off to her. This was a small gesture, but the customer was incredibly appreciative. Your thoughtfulness goes a long way.

Customer service allows you to gain unique and personal experiences that other fields might not offer you. The industry also teaches you to think quickly and strategically and develop problem-solving skills. No two customers or situations are ever the same. Who wouldn’t want to be part of something that has a positive impact?

Based on my experience, for those starting out a career, here are a few things to consider:

  • Job Searching. It can be discouraging and exhausting to try to find a job, especially your first job, but keep your head up and the right job will come along before you know it.
  • Open to Opportunity. On that note, be open to considering any and all opportunities that may offer a good stepping-stone to your next role. Every job you take will teach you something and that first job is critical to getting to your future.
  • Supportive Environment. The people you work with make a huge difference – finding a manager who cares about your career and empowers you to be creative and find solutions will make you better at your job. Not only that; it will make you happy.
  • Growth Potential. Look for jobs that offer future career growth and potential. The knowledge that your path can take you in different directions makes coming to work exciting and rewarding.

What was important to you in choosing your first job?

Image via Gillian Stevens

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