By Isaac Haight
Whether you want to work in advertising, public relations or for a news outlet, journalism offers a wide variety of opportunities. However, many prospective professionals will find that the pinnacle of their career will lead them to a big city.
Big cities are typically home to the nation’s best agencies, largest corporations and world-renowned news outlets. But how do you land a job or internship in a larger city if you’re from a smaller city like Oshkosh?
Fortunately, UW Oshkosh has numerous alumni and current students who have made it in a big city. Hilary Stoeberl, who graduated from UW Oshkosh in May 2014, is working in downtown Chicago for a public relations agency named Zeno Group. She credits her networking ability for landing the job.
“Networking is the key to getting yourself into a big city,” Stoeberl said. “There are a number of ways it can benefit you. In some cases it might not lead directly to a job, but that person might be able to give you a referral or know of an opening you don’t.”
Being involved in various clubs or events is a good way to get your foot in the door for a networking opportunity. Stoeberl was the 2013-2014 PRSSA chapter president at UW Oshkosh and she credits the organization with being able to make professional contacts.
“Traveling to Chicago for regional conferences (helped) me build some of my relationships here,” Stoeberl said. “I also attended other national events and learned a lot from my peers within PRSSA.”
Networking may be essential to landing a job in a big city, but according to Ashley Whaples, who graduated in December 2014 and who works for FleishmanHillard in New York City, not selling yourself short is vital for a chance at a job.
“I didn’t have any contacts in New York when I applied for the job,” Whaples said. “I really had to sell myself to FleishmanHillard. Some of the best advice I got in school was to be OK with bragging about yourself in interviews. It can be kind of hard if you’re not used to it, but I think it was a difference maker for me.”
Whaples added that most job openings in big cities also have many more applicants, so standing out from the crowd is important.
“There can be hundreds of applicants for a job or internship, especially in a place like this, Chicago or Los Angeles,” Whaples said. “Getting an interview can be the toughest aspect of applying, but once you do get it, you have to be on top of your game. If you’re not willing to brag about yourself, not too many other people are going to either. The employer wants to see that you’re confident in your abilities.”
One thing that both Stoeberl and Whaples mentioned was being able to show a potential employer work samples. Bringing a portfolio to an in-person interview or providing a link to an online portfolio is a way to showcase an individual’s skills.
“I was surprised at an interview when the interviewer told me a lot of applicants don’t bring a portfolio or work samples to interviews,” Stoeberl said. “I think they were impressed that I brought it, even though I looked at it as an essential thing to do anyways. I think it helped me set myself apart.”