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.