Panelists offer iMedia students job-hunting advice
What does it take to stand out as a job applicant in a competitive media and marketing industry, where companies are bombarded with applications and portfolios for their few open positions? Five panelists addressed that question and more on April 21 in a panel discussion held as part of the annual Interactive Media Showcase in McKinnon Hall.
Moderated by associate provost Connie Book, panelists included Merissa Goodrich of Ogilvy, an international marketing firm; Adam Harris of Octagon, a sport marketing firm; Amy Consiglio, a partner with the Pursuit of Happiness marketing firm in North Carolina; Roger Creasy of Freedom Communications; and Regan Forman with Disney Pixar.
The panel discussion kicked off the annual showcase for graduate students to display their work and discuss it with faculty, administrators and more than 20 media professionals and employers from the North Carolina area.
Panelists shared advice based on past experience where applicants hadn't used common sense. "Be able to do what you put on your resume - we will ask you that question," Goodrich said. "And I'm looking for someone with passion. Tell me about your blog... I may not read it, but if you're excited about it, I know you may be a good communicator."
Applicants with little experience need to "sell themselves" in an interview.
"There are plenty of people with lots of experience applying for the same jobs as you," Consiglio said, citing the high unemployment rate. "We're looking for a reason to hire you. You have something that others don't, and you have to tell us that. Make it count."
The conversation wasn't always focused on the interview and the job search. Panelists shared their companies' philosophies on the types of employees they try to hire.
Forman posed the question to the audience: Is it better to have fantastic employees with an average idea, or vice versa? Disney Pixar takes fantastic employees over fantastic ideas all the time.
"People who are fantastic will make an average idea fantastic," she said. "People who are average will take a fantastic idea and make it crap."
Other pearls of wisdom: Use social media such as LinkedIn to establish connections, follow up with calls after you apply places, and take advantage of alumni networks.
Students in the iMedia program said after the panel discussion that the points made by speakers resonate with them because of their own stories. As Michael Sales, an iMedia candidate, summarized from his own experience: "Being bold enough to approach people in unconventional ways will get you noticed."