18 August, 2021
It takes a lot of hard work and effort to start a career in a niche market, but it's well worth it.
I knew that once I’d made the decision to specialise in an area in which jobs are hard to access it was never going to be easy, but as a design graduate with a keen interest in lighting, who had throughout my university years always worked, I’ve never been afraid of hard work. However, how to go about my search in the right way was something knew I had to get right, and if I was going to succeed I needed to seek advice from an expert. I was referred to Janet McGlaughlin and the whole team at Marmion because she had a good track record of guiding people through not just the journey of finding work, but also on how to handle every form of communication, the interview process and what to do whilst waiting for a decision. I could have referred to a published comprehensive guide on how to find work she’d already written, but having ‘one on one’ ‘face to face’ practical advice was really helpful.
From the very beginning she warned me that if I really wanted to niche it was going to take time and would require a lot of hard work. She said “Think of this search as a full time job”, which I did, and more importantly “Prepare yourself for the inevitable gaps in communication because the people I needed to talk to will be busy. Expect rejection, but don’t give up”. She then talked me through the best way to approach the market and told me to focus on the decision makers. Without experience these would be the people who would know if I was someone they believed in and could train. Janet supported me through each phase and made sure that she was available should I need advice and encouragement.
I won’t go into every step I took, because there were a great many, and what kept me focused was the more I learned about the Lighting Industry the more I realised why I wanted a career in this field, and the more I understood the more I wanted it. And because I received so much support and encouragement from people on LinkedIn, who for the most part engaged with me, I knew I wanted to be part of this group.
As per Janet’s advice I made a lot of approaches to people who had already built a career in this area, but before I contacted them I made sure I carried out a lot of research into their backgrounds, read any journals they’d written, watched videos produced about their work and field, and then politely introduced myself by sending carefully crafted correspondence. I respected their space and didn’t hassle them, but I made sure they knew I was interested in what they did by being proactive on social media platforms and forums I knew they visited.
Whilst I still have some way to go to achieve my ultimate goal of a full-time career in Lighting, I can confirm that after exactly 6 weeks from the first point of contact I was offered a 3 month internship which I start this morning. This is with someone I have a lot of respect for because I followed him whilst at University. He took the time to accept my invite to connect on LinkedIn, and l fully intend to work as hard as I can to prove that he’s made the right decision to give me a chance to learn.
I decided to write this to give others who might be struggling to get on that first step of the ladder for their chosen career choice confidence that anything is possible as long as they know what they want. And I can highly recommend Janet as someone who will offer sound advice and guidance on how to achieve it.