With graduation and the start of summer quickly approaching, many young job seekers may feel discouraged by America’s tightening job market. A panel of six professionals offered their advice to students at the eighth annual “Communication Career Night” presented by Students in Communication (SIC) and the Communication Studies Honor Society, Lambda Pi Eta, on Monday, Mar. 16 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Sykes Ballroom.
Over 50 students attended the program, generating more student interest than previous years. The program explored jobs and internships for students interested in entering the field of Communication. The panelist had professional knowledge and experience from a wide variety of industries, marketing and public relations to event planning and information technology.
“I was shocked to see such a great turnout rate,” said Ellen Albright, Secretary for SIC. “It’s nerve-wracking to not know what your future holds. Especially now with hard economic times preventing many students from even getting their foot in the door.”
Each of the panelists shared their experiences from within the field, provided information to assist students with their future endeavors, and allowed time to answer questions. Afterward, students were able to mingle with all of the panelists to seek further advice, collect business cards, and distribute their resume for a potential internship or job. The event was catered by the Communication Studies Department.
“This is the kind of information that is extremely valuable for our undergrads,” Dr. Edward Lordan, faculty advisor for SIC said. “Students learn what they can be doing now to maximize the chance they’ll get the jobs they want. They also learn some hard lessons about real life from the pros.”
Professionals urged students to stand out from their peers by pursuing internships for hands on experience, beginning to build their portfolio to showcase their best work, and networking with professionals to make future contacts.
Professionals stressed the importance for students to make the best of their college experience by getting involved on campus. Connie Pearson-Bernard, a WCU graduate who is currently President and Founder of Seamless Events Incorporated, credited her involvement in helping plan events for campus organizations as her motive for becoming a professional event planner.
The prevailing theme of the evening was for students to be professional in their job hunt and when they finally enter the working world.
“You can never go wrong being professional,” Kim Richmond, a senior marketing executive and principal at Richmond Marketing and Communications said.
“Dressing professional, speaking professional, and carrying yourself professionally”.
The program’s panel also included: Corey Muller, a 2007 WCU graduate who currently works at Vizion Group Public Relations as a Media Relations Specialist.
Austin Kirkbride, an Organizational Change Strategist that has worked with over 30 multinational companies to support the “people side” of technology change.
Denise Kovalevich and Jamie Hollerbach, both WCU graduates who currently work for the Public Relations department at QVC Inc.
The evening served as a great networking opportunity for students to gain valuable information that will prove to be useful in future internships or jobs.
SIC is affiliated with the Communication Department at West Chester. Lambda Pi Eta, Gamma Tau chapter, is the Communication Studies Honor Society at West Chester.
Melissa Stack is a third-year student majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Journalism. She can be reached at MS626731@wcupa.edu.