“What are your problems and how can we solve them?”

Those were the words utter by the coordinator of the Creative Jam meetup I was attending. For a moment I was thrown off. “Wait, you wanna know about my problems!?,” I thought glancing up from my laptop.

I’ve attended many meetups before, mainly revolved around web design. They’re a great environment for learning new skills, seeing professionals talk and networking. But rarely have I been introduced to the concept of coming in with my OWN problem, let alone having others help solve them.

Speaking up about your problems is a difficult feat, so the meetup started with an icebreaker.

I talked about my experience participating in the icebreaker on Facebook.

Time to get to those problems.

One individual, with no creative background, wanted to start photography. With a camera in hand he’d already taken pictures of the group sitting. Most of the room comprised of creatives so receiving advice seemed promising. I see what you did there coordinator. He had an upcoming event he planned on photographing and the group seemed eager to share feedback once he released the photos.

A graphic designer struggled with what type of designer she wanted to be. Her current job was in graphic design but there remained a unsatisfactory feeling. Turns out there was an art style more fitting to her skill set. She also wanted the freedom to travel as opposed to being trapped in an office and to a schedule. The conversation shifted to business development. People were detailing resources, examples of online figures similar to her to emulate and searching her online presences. With rapid rap battle like replies, I decided to take it upon myself to take notes on her behalf.

I honestly came with no problems and was participating while starting a flyer design. Multitasking, I heard someone with a motorcycle problem speak up. A computer science person built his own website. He was able to receive critique from web designers, the graphic designer and those willing to speak up. To help with the problem of uneven columns, the group introduced him to the wonders of flexbox.

“What are your problems and how can we solve them?”

The second meetup took place in the morning. I arrived early and ready. But I came without a problem, now for the second time. Desperate I asked the person beside me for a problem while the coordinator ordered a cinnamon roll. After getting an inquisitive look he commented my life must be good. I replied it’s actually going on a downhill spiral I’m just smiling to hide it.

After going through his problem I was pumped when I finally figured out my problem. I needed a cover letter. That was it, I NEEDED A COVER LETTER. To some this may seem like a small problem, but to me this was my problem. Not one I dwelled on or spent sleepless nights over. This was something I avoided and denied, push out my mind and hid on my desktop.

I was excited to have a problem but sharing this one…well. I explained where I stood when it came to cover letters, I straight up hated them. Please don’t give me the lecture of this is your opportunity to show employers your abilities and tell about yourself. Then what was the point of the resume, LinkedIn or creating a website portfolio. Cover letters just seem like a waste and a lot of work.

But I’m aware it makes the difference, especially with recruiters who supposedly “carefully read them”. I was honest. I told the group I dug up a cover letter from my university days. Copied and pasted calling it a day. I knew I could do better but really wasn’t feeling it that moment. Don’t start yelling at me, I never sent it with any job applications. I saved the document on my desktop hoping I would be motivated enough to come back to it. Today was that day.

When will it be your day? What are your problems and how can we solve them?

My cover letter with a lot of editors notes.

If you want more information about this meetup you can contact the coordinator Krystina Ramos. If you’re in the Florida area gain an invite and catch up with me. Together we can possibly solve your problem.

Update: I attended the third meetup, now three in a row, this time with a revised cover letter in hand. After everyone was given their chance at the floor it was my turn. I was proud to be able to show my new cover letter to the coordinator and another attendee who was interested in reviewing it. And if I may boost, the coordinator expressed how proud she was off my accomplishment. A definite step up from my last non-attempt. I admitted to her that I was the type who gains motivation when there’s accountability. Not to toot my own horn but with the addition of the coordinators revisions I now have a bad-ass cover letter. Updated on 6/12/2017

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