By Lindsey Noack (@LinzCnoack)
During this year’s Homecoming (#uwoj2011) , a group of recent graduates from the Journalism program came to Sage Hall to talk with students on how they found their job after finishing school. The panel, consisting of Jason Disbrow (@jay_diz), marketing brand manager at Walnut Hollow; Brittany Dorfner (@Brittany_D), account coordinator at Scheibel Halaska; Jon Huser (@myBekins), marketing manager at Bekins A-1, Inc.; and Katie Steil (@KSteil2), marketing specialist at Stanley Black and Decker, gave out tons of recommendations to soon-to-be grads based on their experience in the job world and here are some of the ones I thought were especially helpful:
How many times have you thought , “When am I going to use this again?” As students, a lot of times we’re just looking to survive a class and don’t pay attention to the programs or formats we’re learning. Take advantage of the new information you’re receiving, especially in technology, because you never know what knowledge you will need in future jobs. Try taking classes in fields you might never have considered. For example you may not be a photography major, but in many journalism jobs it’s helpful to know what makes a picture interesting and how to take it.
This seems too easy to be a piece of advice, but it is a good thing to constantly be aware of. Between classes and internships, there is a lot of resume-worthy pieces that you are creating so don’t forget about them once they’ve been turned in. Keep a separate computer folder for easy access or print out a double copy when you hand a project in. This will prevent searching for portfolio pieces the night before an interview.
When employers give you a sheet of job responsibilities and areas they’d like you to be experienced in, they are also giving you bullet points to include in your cover letter. Think of accomplishments that relate directly to what you would be doing. Another tip from the graduates? Make sure to quantify what you’ve done by giving specific numbers and percentages of the results.
No matter how much you enjoy writing, this is one of the skills employers value most. Even with the transfer of news from newspapers to the Internet, you’ll still need to know good grammar, sentence structure and correct spelling. The world of journalism is changing, but good writing always stays the same.
If you’re a soon-to-be graduate it’s a good idea to start consistently checking Twitter accounts and websites that post job openings. Even if you aren’t quite ready to apply, you can get an idea of what most businesses want in applicants and work on building up an holes in your resume before graduation.
Even if you’re excited and proud of the internship and work experience you’ve gained throughout college, let your personality, not your ego, shine through when interviewing. Sell yourself as the best person for the job with confidence, not cockiness. Don’t go in expecting a huge salary and big title. See what a company is willing to offer and realize everyone has to start at the bottom sometime.
Getting offered a job is exciting, but before accepting it, make sure to think if it seems like a type of company you will connect with. A “dream job” isn’t just about the work you’ll be doing, but also the people and atmostphere you’ll be surrounded by for 40 hours a week. If you don’t feel like you naturally click with the company you might want to reconsider taking the position.
This was one of the best pieces of advice I heard because it’s not something we think about once we’ve found a job. We’re just excited to be working! But always re-evaluating your situation is a big part of growing as a professional. If you feel you’ve gotten everything there is to offer out of a job, don’t be afraid to start looking for a better position that offers you more growth.