Wearing a graduation cap is an age-old tradition for college seniors about to receive their diplomas. In more recent years, however, more and more graduates are opting to use their caps as less of a piece of ceremonial garb and more so as a piece of individualized wearable art.
While many grads use their cap to wear their favorite quote, share pictures of their friends, or give a big thank you to Mom and Dad, Troy Allen saw an opportunity to leave Georgian Court University with a bang — and some job offers.
His idea? Selling advertising space on his graduation cap!
Troy interned at our office by way of the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce this past spring and we were immediately impressed by his ingenious plan to stand out in a competitive job market. Troy’s marketing prowess earned him some attention across the country, making headlines in blogs and newspapers nationwide. As the proud resident of the left quadrant of his graduation cap, we had to find out how he came up with this idea, the status of his job hunt, and what we can expect from him in the future.
Congratulations on your recent graduation from Georgian Court! What are your first plans as a college graduate?
My first plan as a college graduate is to start my career. My graduation cap advertising space idea has helped greatly. I sold ¾ of my cap to Creative Click Media, Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce, and Bosonac Orthodontics! I’ve received interest in employment opportunities as well. My current employer, Amboy Bank, was offering a full-time teller position but after the news article was written Amboy gave me a promotion and a raise. I gave them the fourth spot for free as promised. I’m now working as a service consultant in the administration building full-time.
Although graduation has passed, I’m still receiving interest from my graduation cap idea. I keep an open mind to any opportunity and have high hopes for my future!
You graduated with an incredibly impressive 3.95 GPA, but we have to ask…which class cost you that missing .05?
Thank you! The missing .05 was due to a pesky A-. The class was “Women and Gender” aka Women Studies. It’s a mandatory general education class that every undergraduate must take. The professor was not fond of me for some unknown reason and no matter how much I tried, A- is what I kept receiving on my papers. I’m just glad it wasn’t a C. Not my favorite class to say the least.
You gained some attention in the news for your idea to sell ad space on your graduation cap. How did you come up with that idea?
I’d been thinking about what to put on my graduation cap since Freshman year. I knew I wanted to do something completely unique and creative. My degree is in Business Administration with a Concentration in Marketing. I’ve heard many people say the cliche phrase, “You have to market yourself” and it hit me. I’ll market myself by selling my cap! I sent letters in the mail and online with my resume attached. My main goal was to market myself into a job!
What has been the reaction from the business owners you shared this idea with?
Many business owners and people I’ve shared the idea with fell in love with it. For example, I sent a message to Old Spice (Procter & Gamble). Although they declined, the representative stated, “that kind of ingenuity is rare to see…Thanks again for getting in touch, Troy! You have a bright future ahead of yourself, live life to the fullest, and good luck!”. He then gave me a link to apply on their website. The businesses I sold space to also were very happy with the designs I created for their advertisements!
This idea has been doing great in the media as well. The Home News Tribune wrote an article about the idea and it has been spreading to various new sources across the country!
Your idea was undoubtedly a case of marketing genius. Have you always been a marketer at heart, or is this a skill you recently tapped into?
I wouldn’t say that I’ve always been a marketer at heart but it’s the perfect field for me. I’m an “outside-the-box” thinker at heart. Creativity has been a lifelong trait of mine. I actually have an Associates’s Degree in Graphic Design and another in Business! I received my Bachelor’s in Marketing because it’s a perfect fit for me. I can pursue my passion for business utilizing my creativity!
You came to Creative Click Media by way of the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce. How did you get involved with the Chamber?
I got involved with the Greater Toms River Chamber through Jessica Evans at the GCU Career Center. She set me up on an interview with Noelle Carino and Danielle Norcross who are both very nice women. Because my schedule was tight between school and my part-time bank teller job, they set me up with Creative Click Media!
What’s something you’d be happy doing every day for the rest of your career?
That’s a tough question to answer. Although I am just starting my career, I do have high expectations for myself. My goal in life isn’t just about getting the most out of it, it’s about leaving a legacy. In high school, I left a legacy with the many connections I made with teachers and other students. I left a legacy at GCU since almost every faculty member read the news article about my cap idea. My career goal is to leave a legacy with any employer I work for. My life goal is to leave a legacy that has a beneficial impact on this Earth!
My goal in life isn’t just about getting the most out of it, it’s about leaving a legacy.Click to tweet
Nike has “Just Do It” and Apple has “Think Different.” If you were branding yourself, what would your slogan be?
My lifelong motto has been “Troy is Your Boy” but on a serious note, my personal slogan would be “Make Your Own Footsteps”.
What advice would you give to fellow young professionals about launching careers of their own?
My advice to fellow young professionals is don’t be afraid to try! You’re better off trying something than not trying at all.
What’s coming up next for you?
In the near future, I see myself living independently on my own. I’m currently living with my parents to save money. I plan on buying a small condo, townhouse, or a small home and being completely independent. In the foreseeable future, I am hoping I do so well in my career that I can afford to buy a Tesla Model S. That is my “dream car” and it is one of the many high expectations I have for my life.
Looking at the distant future, I would like to move south to South Carolina, Georgia, etc. I enjoy the warm weather. It is hard to predict the future because life is so unexpected. A lot of times life doesn’t go according to plan but that’s what makes it so great!