Monday, November 5, 2007

Selena Dehne: Copywriter/Marketing Communications, JIST Publishing

Here's the story of coworker Selena Dehne and how she landed her first job in publishing. She had the good fortune to be interning at JIST when a job opened up. In a day she went from intern to full-time employee. And we are lucky to have her. Her excellent writing skills have gone a long way toward getting us more media exposure this year.

On the last week of classes before my college graduation one of my journalism professors asked the class, “How many of you have a full-time job lined up after graduation?” Nearly half the class raised their hands. I was not one of them.

No big deal. Half of us were still without a job offer. I was in good company—until my professor asked, “How many of you have an internship lined up after graduation?” Nearly the remainder of the class raised their hands. Again, I was not one of them. It was time to panic.

I did just that until the same professor forwarded an e-mail to me announcing a publicity internship that was available with JIST Publishing. Within minutes of receiving the e-mail I e-mailed my resume and writing samples to the publicist at JIST. Two interviews later, I was hired and my panic subsided.

I spent the summer writing news releases and feature articles, developing media kits, and collaborating on publicity strategies to promote JIST’s products and authors. My internship paid off when a job opportunity in the marketing department became available and I was offered a full-time position. I wanted a good job where I could write, be creative, and bounce from one project to the next. JIST needed someone who would work well with the rest of the staff and knew the products and customers.

Now, as copywriter for marketing communications, I write and proofread copy for brochures, catalogs, flyers, and e-campaigns; develop marketing strategies with other members of JIST’s team; and continue to assist the publicist with news releases, articles, and media kits.

Although, at the time it felt as though my job came through on a stroke of luck at the last minute, it was actually my internship and writing experience in college gave me the skills I needed to land the job I have today. More than a year into my career, I’m thrilled with the direction I’m moving. However, I could have been well on my way to a great career much sooner had I considered the following advice before graduation arrived:
  • Gain experience early. I wrote articles for Indiana University’s student newspaper, but that’s not the only opportunity on campus to get experience. Most student organizations need volunteers who can help promote their organization and events—whether they’re writing news releases, designing flyers, or just brainstorming ideas. The key is to contact leaders in the organization to find out how you can help.
  • Visit your college career center. Not only will they work wonders with your resume, they can set you up with career fairs, on-campus interviews, and suggest several resources for finding jobs that connect to your interests and studies.
  • Talk to professors, counselors, classmates, and friends. Professors and counselors know better than anyone what types of employers are likely to hire students like yourself. With classmates and friends you can share what’s worked and what hasn’t in the job search and may even gain leads as to who is hiring.


Anonymous said...

I just saw an your article on AOL concerning part time jobs for baby boomers. I am profoundly offended that you think teaching is a great part-time job where the work is easy and the hours are minimal. I'll have you know that effective teachers work year-round to ensure their students get the best possible education and the daily hours do not exist only in the 9-3 arena. After you have come home, fixed supper for your family, spent time helping your own kids with their homework, you then have papers to grade, research to do, and many other tasks associated with the job. Not to mention that in order to keep a teaching license you are also required to attain additional education yourself through college course and seminars. Wake up!

Lori Cates Hand said...


Thanks for your comments--I'll pass them along to Selena. I think everyone should be aware that teaching is one of the toughest--but most important--jobs out there. Maybe her article was more geared toward substitute teaching than full-time?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first comment. The headline about "easy hours" for teachers is extremely misleading. That misperception is one of the reasons some teachers are less than well-qualified for their demanding jobs. My son is an elementary school teacher, as is his fiancee. They devote 10-12 hours a day to be well-prepared to meet the variety of learning needs among their students. Either the headline writers need to be more accurate or the article needs to be more explicit if the intent was to suggest part-time work for baby boomers. The only part-time teaching I'm familiar with, at the public school level, would be substitute teaching. Even that isn't easy--students have enough substitutes that they become experienced in making life miserable for ineffective and/or unprepared substitutes!

Anonymous said...

Teaching is a wonderful job....given the right combination of circumstances.
But are you aware that in many states retired teachers CANNOT collect both teacher retirement and Social Security??? So any funds earned in prior work in the private sector ....can go out the window. A ripoff? Yes....but still the law in many states.

Anonymous said...

Teaching is a wonderful job....given the right combination of circumstances.
But are you aware that in many states retired teachers CANNOT collect both teacher retirement and Social Security??? So any funds earned in prior work in the private sector ....can go out the window. A ripoff? Yes....but still the law in many states.

Anonymous said...

Teaching is a terrific job....given the right person and the right circumstances. BUT...did you know that in many states you will lose your retirement Social Security??? Yup...cannot collect both Teacher Retirement and SOcial Security. A ripoff? Yes indeed.....but still legal in many states!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am so disappointed to read your suggestion to retirees for seeking a job as teacher and referring to this occupation as a 'great part-time "gig"'. Working for JIST, a job search, career exploration, and occupational informational specialist, it would seem that you would have done research into the field of teaching as an occupation.
Teachers do not take a teaching position to have the 'summers off', a statement that I have often heard. Teachers aspire to be educators because they have a heart for children and a heart for knowledge. Their job is 24/7. Their students, parents, lessons, are constantly on their mind. Their classroom supplies are funded by their meager wages. Their vacations are spent either 1. planning for the next year, or 2. working a part-time job to supplement their income. They have to be physically strong for they are standing constantly and are exposed to every communicable disease that can be carried on the finger tips of a 7 year old.
While parents are watching over your shoulders you are also scrutinized by state and federal agents who aspire to wipe the joy of your career choice out of your hands by scheduling mandated tests every six weeks to insure that 'no child is left behind'. Your reference to teaching as a 'great GIG' is extremely insulting, humiliating, and disappointing. I would love to have you walk in an educators shoes for one day.

k harris said...

I just have to join in on this discussion about teaching as a good part time job for retirees. Guess what, teaching is a FULL time job! I see many second career people try teaching. They are always taken aback by the full time nature of it. I suppose that if you consider full time jobs to be those that require you to be a workaholic who puts in 12 hour days 364 days of the year, teaching is a part time job. So is being a tax accountant by those standards!

I readilly admit that we have more freedom that most office workers in WHEN we put in the "extra" hours. Some of us choose to stay at school until we finish our work. Some of us choose to go home at 4 and resume work at home after dinner and household obligations.

Oh, and did you know that for most teachers holidays and "vacations" are UNpaid! That's right. We are paid for 180 to 200 days per year -- depends on your state's contract -- and with hours at the discretion of the principal in my state. The only paid "holiday" we get is paid sick leave! Those "holidays" are subject to confirmation by the doctor that you are sick.

Teaching is a wonderful and fullfilling fulltime career. Anyone looking at it for part time work is going to be quite disillusioned.