Comm Alumni: 'Don't be Afraid to Network'

Three alumni from the School of Communications shared career stories with current students Oct. 26 in a question-and-answer forum meant to help Elon seniors preparing to search for their first jobs after college.

Erica Stanley, Cindy Beidel and Lauren Cooper graduated in 2002 and visited campus to take part in Homecoming 2007 festivities. Their first piece of advice? Don't be afraid to network with other Elon alumni, even if that means "cold calling" people when you first move to a new city, and never forget to thank them for their assistance.

"A handwritten note?" said Cooper, who today works for a communications firm that works with Democratic political candidates and advocacy groups. "I've been told that's what made a difference when me and another job candidate were (equally qualified)."

Beidel, a publicist for the National Geographic company, encouraged students to apply for internships--even if it seems heavy competition exists-- because finding out what you don't want to do for a career is just as important as learning what you do want.

And once an internship ends, keep in touch with former colleagues.

"It is all about connections," Beidel said. "I can not tell you how much you're going to appreciate them. And stay in frequent contact, not just when you need something."

The three women offered additional advice for current students:

1.) Study abroad, if possible.
2.) Seek leadership roles in select student groups rather than spread your time over many activities.
3.) Start a Rolodex now of people you meet, and on the back of each business card or entry, write a short note indicating when and where you met the person.
4.) Stay in touch with professors and classmates. Networking opportunities abound, and you never know when a former instructor, or old roommate, might pass along job opportunities.


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