A panel of alumni from the School of Communication & Media shared real-world job experiences and offered helpful advice to students at the school’s Communication Colloquium on March 2.
The graduates shared their fondest experiences from their college years and careers gave their advice on finding a job after graduation and assured students that involvement with the university would prepare them for success.
Ellen Eldridge is breaking news reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She was pregnant when she enrolled at KSU and told the crowd she already had a plan when she started at the university and made a point to pursue it.
“I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I came to KSU,” Eldridge said. “I led the magazine, The Talon, and I was the president of the Society of Professional Journalists chapter.”
Throughout the panel, Eldridge emphasized the importance of building relationships.
“Having relationships with your professors is way more important than students realize,” Eldridge said. “My professor actually told me about the current job I have now, so professors can play a bigger role in your success than you think.”
Evan Manor is the social media director for Coy Bowles of the Zac Brown Band. He attributed his career success to the Joel A. Katz Music, Entertainment and Business Program. Manor said the four internships he found through the program gave him the opportunity to tour with rock bands, meet celebrities and market a children’s book. His advice to students was to make themselves available.
“I did a marketing campaign for Coy my freshman year, and he just remembered me,” Manor said. “I would say being a ‘yes man’ is a big factor. When someone asks you to volunteer for something, go volunteer.”
Another panelist was Mary York, account director for the William Mills Agency. She also encouraged students to seek out internships and stressed how vital they can be when attaining a job.
“I saved my internship until the very end so that I would be able to retain the job until right after college,” York said. “Make sure you’re networking. I got my internship through people that I knew. The people you know right now could potentially help you in your future.”
She also wanted students to know that failing is both inevitable and a learning experience.
“I think it is really important to learn how to fail, I think it really important to deal with that,” York said. “Take it as a lesson. If you’re not failing you’re not growing.”
Simone Griffin, an integrated communication strategist for Porter Novelli, encouraged students to be proactive when looking for job opportunities.
“I would go on LinkedIn and set up informational interviews in order to get myself into the door,” Griffin said. “From there, I would basically sell myself, and tell the employer why I would be a good asset to them. Opportunities come to those who create them so, I created my own.”
The last of the five panelists was Yvelise Hodo-Lopez, a financial analyst and lead administrative assistant at Willis Towers Watson. She was also a nontraditional student and echoed the statements of her fellow alumni on stage.