Meeting Recap, Oct. 12, 2020: Recent Grad Panel

Scripps PRSSA welcomed back some of our most recent grads on a virtual panel Monday. The panelists, listed in the image above, shared their experiences entering the post-grad life, explaining how they got their positions, the ins and outs, and things they wish they knew. Tips, advice and anecdotes listed in this blog were paraphrased from conversations held during our meeting.

Cade Fleming – Evoke KYNE

  • Cade does a variety of things at Evoke KYNE: media, paid and organic media, communication strategy and planning for a full year of events. He also works on branding, including things like logos or narratives for clients. He does a ton of proofing, copy editing/writing. Every month, day and week is different in this job. 
  • “Networking saved my life,” Cade said. The head of HR was a Bobcat. He was in the process of networking with many people in the New York market, and a few virtual interviews later, he was a part of the team at Evoke. Cade’s best piece of advice is to meet new alum and strangers, as well as being personable
  • Cade recommended to mentally prepare for switching to life after graduation. When applying to jobs, Cade said to be bold and confident, follow your gut. Evaluate what feels right and don’t hold back. Go for it no matter what. Everything is changing right now in this wild time, so make it work for you. 
  • “I wish I knew that you can do nothing to prepare for your first job.” Expect the unexpected. Be susceptible to change because it will happen. In school we are taught to deliver something in its final form. But in an agency, when projects are ongoing, it’s likely you will deliver something that’s incomplete or likely to change. Lastly, ask questions and put in your hard work. 
  • If you don’t know what to do, embrace the mess. “Consider this your era of movement.” Allow yourself to test everything, and everything is a building block toward the next thing. 

Hannah Schuller – GSW Advertising

  • Hannah works as a project coordinator for GSW Advertising, pharmaceutical company located in Westerville, Ohio. Her title is project coordinator, but she basically watches the facilitation of projects throughout the day within the pharmaceutical industry — emails or website updates. Her role is PR-adjacent, not necessarily full-on PR. Mainly, she ensures projects are completed.
  • Hannah got her job in July of this year through a family connection. She went through the chain of different people and several interviews. She got the job, which made her excited, but once she began working, she felt guilty that she worked so hard and networked plenty in her undergrad career just to end up getting a job from a family member. Don’t feel guilty, take the opportunity when it comes. 
  • If you feel discouraged after applying to many jobs, know that feeling is normal. Feel that and feel sad, but then use that discouragement to push you forward. 
  • Post-grad life can be lonely! The switch from being on campus with your closest friends to being stuck at home is a hard shift.
  • It’s fine if you get a job but aren’t using your degree to the fullest. A PR-adjacent role was sufficient, but ultimately Hannah is looking elsewhere for role heavily in PR.
  • Don’t fit yourself into a mold — if you know it’s not for you, don’t do it. But there’s a fine line between that and exploring new options, so be careful. 

Sami Morsink – SeaChange/AAA

  • Sami spent spent her summer at SeaChange managing social media and the Festival For Good. A social enterprise is basically a non-profit business, but they make money as well. They are working toward doing better for their community while still earning a profit. Usually responsible MailChimp or website design. 
  • “So many of your jobs are going to come from your connections,” Sami said. She said she felt guilty when asking for a job from a friend, similarly to Hannah. A lot of employees will get bonuses for recommending people who end up getting employed, Sami mentioned, which can be mutually beneficial. When she got the opportunity for SeaChange, it was a part-time internship, and she was not sure if she felt like a failure for going after a part-time internship. Sami’s advice: “Take any role you can.” Take any role that will build your resume and push you further in your career. Lastly, t’s OK and smart to be open with your employer in a part-time role and tell them you are actively looking for a full-time job. 
  • Be confident in the skills that you have when you apply for a job. It’s tough getting rejections, and it can hit your ego. When you’re told over and over that you didn’t get the job, you have to remind yourself of your confidence. Like Hannah said, use that discouragement to push yourself forward. The truth: It’s competitive. There are so many other PRSSA chapters with qualified individuals applying to the same jobs that you are, but realize the right fit is waiting out there for the right time. Don’t take a rejection so personally. Have a plan if you’re in the job limbo; try to find a part-time job to support yourself. 
  • Sami said she spent so much time trying to prepare for what happens after graduation, then something, like a pandemic, happens. Her point was that you can plan all you want, but you truly won’t know something until you experience it.
  • Expect a new mentality for post-grad life. You switch from being a senior doing important roles, but now you’re going back to being at the beginning, doing entry-level tasks. Be flexible, and learn as you go through it. 
  • Be conscious about what you like and don’t like about a job. As long as you better yourself professionally, you’re going to get to where you want to be. 

Sierra Heilman – Krile Communications

  • Krile Communications does a little bit of everything and manages clients in many industries: hospitality, financial, political, etc. No day is ever the same. They create events and push these events on social media. Sierra described this process as taking a long time. They do a lot of media pitching, writing, brainstorming campaigns, working with a team during the entire process. “It never gets stale.” 
  • Sierra also learned about Krile and the position through family members. Krile was about to lose an intern, and she met one of the employees at Krile. They just chatted and formed a great connection. Nearly everyone at Krile is a Bobcat, which was so useful. Sierra loved interning there, and it worked out because she got to show her commitment and devotion. It was a smooth and easy process fortunately, with Sierra telling us to be hopeful and it should all work out like it is supposed to.
  • Everything happens when it’s supposed to — you’ll love it, hate it or try new things. We put so much pressure on ourselves, but we have such a strong network of Bobcats. It’s helpful, so utilize it. 
  • You will be the big fish in the small pond, and you will be the one that knows the least. It’s perfectly normal for the higher-ups to fix something you worked on — take that opportunity and learn from it. Also, find your voice and learn how to separate it from a brand. People are prone to writing in their own voice, but when we work on something at the office, it must be written from the perspective of the brand. 

Sydney Davis – COACT Associates

  • As a content marketing specialist at COACT Associates, Sydney writes anything content-related for COACT’s 35 clients. She writes blogs, press releases, newsletters, social media content, HTML and text content. Sydney has worked on some of the new clients’ value propositions, helping them set up their positioning within the market. Social media management for all clients, as well as designing posts. 
  • A position she had was affected by Covid-19, which was extended through August ( was supposed to end in May). She found COACT on LinkedIn, had a phone interview that went well. They said she though she would be a great fit, but they said they wouldn’t hire because of Covid-19. So, Sydney stressed the importance of following up with an employer after an interview. She saw a re-posting for the job, so she called again. She did a second phone interview and then had an in-person interview, and then she was offered the position.
  • Lean on your friends during the job search process. 
  • Take the constructive criticism — the first content piece that she wrote, there was red all over the page. You have to realize that your boss wants to send the best possible work to the client, so just get used to expecting markups. 

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