By Junkai Wang, AWC Detroit Member
When I finished my master’s degree in France to become a trilingual negotiator in international trade in 2014, I knew little about communications. Instead of following my classmates into sales and customer service positions, I entered the digital world of marketing communications. I took to heart Steve Jobs’ advice: stay hungry, stay foolish.
An internship in corporate communications at Alstom Power, today known as General Electric in France, was my starting point. InDesign was the first non-Word software my manager needed me to use. The task was very easy: to verify the Hindu letters to be exactly as written in the email from our partners in India. I did not need to learn to use InDesign at all, but it piqued my curiosity in Adobe Creative Cloud.
Fast forward four years. I arrived in the United States and found a job in the Detroit area as a communications specialist for Cardinal Health, thanks to my knowledge of the primary design software in Adobe: InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and Dreamweaver.
What happened in my early post-college years that enabled me to jump from using only Microsoft Office to coding an entire website for corporate rebranding?
After the internship, I taught myself Photoshop. Once I mastered it, other Adobe programs came easily because each follows the same logic and functions similarly.
Online courses and tutorials were helpful, but mainly I learned by doing. What would be an entire textbook was broken into trivial tasks on the job — organizational charts, personnel changes, meeting minutes, conference presentations and proofreading.
These assignments taught me to listen, to follow, to color inside the lines, to think outside the box and to ask myself: how can I present my thoughts in an efficient way? From there came the technical skills to visualize ideas, start conversations and eventually, animate communications. Ultimately, I gained experience in on-point graphic design, strategic thinking, competitive research and branding.
To perform well at my job and advance, I know I always need to absorb new knowledge and keep learning new tricks. As Steve Jobs said, “stay hungry.”