With graduation upon us, college seniors like me are nervous about the job market and their chances of landing a position. I was fortunate to attend a day-long program and networking event hosted by Lasell College’s Department of Communications which featured top communications professionals from Boston and New York. Headliners, including Teresa Hanafin, Director of Community Engagement and Social Media, Boston.com; Jenny Dervin, VP Corporate Communications, JetBlue; Alex Jones, Director Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, Harvard University; and J.D. Hale Jr., Yankee Publishing Inc., talked with students about the road to a successful and meaningful career.
Here are some take-aways from one graduating senior’s perspective:
1.) Create a LinkedIn account and frequently post updates to maximize interest, reach and effectiveness.
2.) Participate in networking events. No matter how far along in your career, take advantage of opportunities to meet prospective employers, colleagues and clients.
3.) Develop strong writing skills. The ability to communicate clearly and concisely gives you an advantage, no matter where your career takes you.
4.) Invest in business cards – even at the student level. This basic “tool” positions you as a professional. And keep them handy at all times. You never know who you might meet, even in social settings.
5.) When it comes to your résumé – don’t focus on chronological order, focus on what is most important and distinctive about you. Be sure to tweak your résumé and highlight the strengths, experiences and skills needed for a specific job.
6.) Handwritten thank-you notes won’t go unnoticed. In a world of texts and emails, taking the time to grab a pen, envelope and stamp will make you stand out in the crowded field of applicants.
7.) Outline all of your skills in your resume and in interviews. Experience with Twitter, Word Press and Photoshop are commonly left out of the conversation. But remember, what you might consider a basic skill may be viewed as a real plus to a prospective employer.
8.) Clean up your social media accounts before applying to any position. When in doubt, take it out.
9.) Take coding seriously. In an information/technology driven world an understanding of coding/HTML can give you a leg-up. After all coding provides the link between technology and humanity.
10.) To be successful, you need solid grounding in the practice and principal ethics of your field, right from the start.
Lauren Navarro is a Senior Communications major at Lasell College. She currently serves as an intern at The Castle Group – a Boston PR agency— and previously interned for the Lasell College Office of Communications. Navarro helped plan and organize COMDay 2013.
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