Career planning college students

Hello! My name is Kim Bethke. I am a Wisconsin native who just graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a B.A. in Mass Communications; Advertising and a minor in Marketing. I now work for a Fortune 100 Corporate retail company based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Having just entered into the world of mass communications and marketing I now know things that I wish someone had told me when I was in school. Here are some of the things that I have learned on how to stay competitive in the market.

Having a bachelor’s degree is a check box for most jobs that you will need. What do I mean by check box? The future employer will make sure that you have a degree to be considered for the position but will not reference it after the fact. You have to start looking at your school experience as a stepping-stone to a career.

Experience is everything! Join a club. A club is a great way to meet new people who share an interest and it opens up doors to real world opportunities. A great thing about a communications club is that a lot of clubs attend career conferences and some go on company tours. See if you can be in charge of organizing group tours. It is a great thing to put on your resume and gets you a contact at a company that is potentially hiring in the future. Being apart of a club is not enough! Make sure you are doing tangible things for the club so that you can later reference like things you did to help improve and better the group.

Network. Network. Network. If you are not a very social person or if you are shy you need to start breaking that now. In this field you need to be willing to try anything because you never know where an opportunity can come from. Every job/opportunity I have gotten thus far has been from networking. Networking is huge because if you hit it off with someone and they don’t have a job opportunity for you they would still most likely recommend you to someone they know who could have a job opportunity for you.
Start doing informational interviews now. If you don’t know of anyone you want to interview go to a company you like and/or would want to work for and ask the receptionist if there is someone you can interview in the department you are interested in. Informational interviews are a great form of networking that more students should be utilizing. The more people you know the more ahead of the game you are. Plus, professionals love to talk about themselves so they will most likely make time. The professionals can usually provide great tips on the interview process or things you work on to build your resume. They can be awkward so make sure you come prepared with background information on the company/position they have and plenty of questions. Informational interviews are a great way to meet people that can if nothing else help you connect to someone else that could potentially help you land a job!

The job market for marketing and communications is hard but if you work hard at it, it is very doable. Good Luck!

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