Career Moves: Networking, personal initiative lead to agency job for Calissa Holder ’20

When looking for hiring opportunities at RLF Communications, Calissa Holder ‘20 made the first move to earn a position on the company’s team.

When Calissa Holder ‘20, a double major in strategic communications and Spanish, told her Elon professor that it was her goal to work for RLF Communications, he told her one thing — she needed to network. This advice pushed Holder to email RLF Communications CEO Monty Hagler, to inquire about open positions.

As a result, she was added to RLF’s candidate pool. Then she sealed the deal during an interview by utilizing the skills she learned from career advisors at the Student Professional Development Center. Now, Holder works as a communications manager at the firm.

Holder recently answered some questions from the SPDC about her experience:

What were you trying to accomplish when you met with the professional staff in the Student Professional Development Center, and what specific help did you receive?

I was first introduced to the SPDC through PACE, an Elon program that helps students find on-campus employment and develop professional skills. I learned about professionalism and thriving in an office environment from my on-campus job and I also did a few mock interviews with the SPDC to ease my nerves before I met with potential employers. Career advisors taught me to keep stories in my back pocket during interviews, a tip that was incredibly helpful for me while applying and interviewing for jobs and internships.

What have you learned from the experience?

I learned that preparation is vital. By practicing with advisors who work in the SPDC, I built up my confidence and became better equipped to answer any interview questions thoughtfully and thoroughly.

What recommendations would you share with other students about the Student Professional Development Center?

Visit the SPDC and take advantage of the tools Elon has for you. Nothing is embarrassing about getting help. No one expects you to know and understand professionalism right away. That is why career advisors are there!

Tell me about your experience in landing this opportunity at RLF Communications.

After my summer internship with the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, I knew that I wanted to start my career in Greensboro. RLF Communications had always been on my radar because many Elon students are interns there. When I received the assignment in one of my Strategic Communications classes to create a campaign for an RLF client, my interest in the company was confirmed. I fell in love with the agency culture and knew I wanted to be a part of the firm. I reached out about professional opportunities in the area, which was enough to get me an interview!

Which faculty members did you work with to prepare, and what help did you receive?

My first interaction with the SPDC was with René Jackson. She helped me find my on-campus job, one of the most important aspects of my Elon experience. I also met with Ross Wade both one-on-one and in classes. He assisted me with my internship applications and eased my nerves about the job search process. He also prepared me for the many career fairs and expositions that I attended. Amber Moser was very helpful as well. She supported me while I was applying for internships and checked in on me to make sure I was learning throughout the summer.