From Probation to Assimilation

“We are hiring a junior communications executive. Should be a fresh graduate with at least 6 months to one year experience. Entry level job.”

I remember seeing these words over and over again, asking myself why does experience matter so much when I have a degree from one of the top universities in the world? I have taken courses in all aspects of marketing for four years – with a notably high GPA!

After joining the Active DMC team, the latter perception has immensely changed in tandem with graduating from probation to become an actual employee. During this period, I have come to realize the importance of having hands-on, practical experience in marketing and PR. Working with real clients not only gives fresh graduates the opportunity to implement their knowledge, but also to see real time results. These results helped me measure the effectiveness of our team’s implemented campaign.

The best way I can describe the ‘aha’ moments I had, is by the image below:


While the concepts and theories were present in my education and the templates and strategies were crystal clear in my mind, experience offers a whole different type of knowledge. Working on challenging tasks helped to put things in the right perspective. Slowly everything I had learned started to make sense. Initially, I was amazed at how my managers would find answers and responses in a click of a finger, while I had to think about the different resolutions over and over. Their 15+ years of experience made it extremely easy for them to see the right from wrong and identify shortcuts to long processes, making our lives easier as a team, whilst delivering effectively to our clients.

Truth be told, practice does make perfect! Speaking about concepts and theories is one thing, while creating ideas that fall in line with success and implementing them is another. Especially in the field of digital marketing, it takes creativity, intellect and market experience to deliver a top notch campaign which hits all the right notes. Without experience, how would a marketer know how to analyze the target market, how to develop relevant campaigns, how to budget the deliverables and how to communicate with clients and media?

During the probation period,  one of my wise managers said to me, “Nobody is perfect in all aspects of their career – the only way to learn and excel is to work on the weak points which limit you from implementing your skills.” This advice was spot on and extremely motivated me to work on the tasks I found to be challenging until they became second nature. With more and more practice, I received a more realistic sense of the time frame needed to accomplish activities which then allows me to give realistic deadlines to clients and accordingly deliver on time. Without this, I would have never been able to confidently make a statement and give a sound rationale to back it up.

Hence, my current understanding of why employers prioritize experience over degrees is finally in perspective. The comprehensive six-month probation period taught me how to implement a clear majority of skills and put my bachelor’s degree into practice. The insight earned through the senior management’s experience and team members’ guidance are ineffable, taking me up the career maturity ladder, from probation to assimilation.