The First Step is Admitting It

Courtesy of Kate Sherry

Courtesy of Kate Sherry

College seniors don’t want to admit it, but sooner or later graduation day is here and they’re being pushed out into the real world.  Getting a job, keeping the job, paying bills and being a so-called grownup is all a bit intimidating to college kids who are used to lounging around all day and staying up all night.

Students in the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University are guided onto the right path to life after graduation with a variety of different workshops and classes.

The School of Communications offers a Media Career Development course taught by Professor Joseph Catrino, the assistant dean for career development.

“The idea is to introduce students to the process of applying for jobs and internships, researching jobs and internships,” Catrino said.

“We do interview skills, we do a lot of social media, developing it and branding yourself because at the end of the day this is all about your brand and how you market that brand through your resume, cover letters and social media platforms,” he said.

It is a half-semester course focused completely around networking and building skills needed in order to land a job.

Kate Sherry, a senior broadcast journalism major took the class in the fall semester of 2013 and said she was very impressed with the skills and tips she got out of it.

“The mock interview we did in class really eased my nerves and made me feel more confident in the job searching process. Professor Catrino used his past experiences to teach us what to do and what NOT to do to while being interviewed for a job,” she said.

“About 10-12 years ago I went on an interview at Yale.  I looked at the job description and one of the bottom things in the job responsibilities was to be the backup on this one website – no big deal, I’ve done web stuff before so I didn’t think anything of it,” Catrino said.

“So when I got to the interview it was going awesome, then someone says, ‘what did you think of that website that you would be responsible for?’ and I had never looked at it.  I had made an enormous mistake by not taking five minutes to look at it.  I was so prepared across the board, but with that I missed it.”

In today’s age, coming out of college with the promise of a job is not as likely as it used to be.  For some people, it could take a few months or up to a year to find work.  Entry-level jobs will be stressful, time-consuming, and offer little pay.  It may not be the perfect job but it is a process.

“Professor Catrino also taught us how to make the most of any position you are offered and explained that you need to work your way up in this business and make connections along the way,” said Sherry.  “It is a process and I’ve come to terms with the fact that you have to put up with the long hours and tedious work in order to get to where you want to be.”

During the seven-week course, Catrino helps students perfect their resume and cover letters as well as teaching lessons about conducting informational interviews, contacting interviewees and preparing for interviews.

“I really emphasize the fact that you can never be too prepared, you have to continue to look at everything.  I tell student to Google the company you’re going to go interview with, see the hits they get in the media, know their mission, know their website through and through, know the people you’re going to be interview with, those are all really important to prepare yourself for because you just don’t know what’s going to come up,” Catrino said.

Sherry explained that one of the assignments for the class was to search for an internship and apply to it before the semester was over.

“I actually ended up getting called in for an interview for the internship I applied for and by using the skills I learned in career development, I was able to get the position!” she said.

“Soon after the class ended, I was feeling even more confident and motivated to search and apply for other internships. I applied for the NBC Olympic internship for NBC Sports Group in Stamford and once again using the skills I learned in the class was able to get hired for the position,” she said.

“Our graduation statistics have gone up.  I just did the stats this weekend for the class of 2013 and we had 89 percent placement.  For the School of Communications that’s really high,” Catrino said.

He added, “But the big thing for me is that we have 75 percent response rate which means I’m having more contact with more students which I think has a lot to do with this class.”

“The class was very helpful and I am glad that I took it because the skills I learned in career development have helped me get two internships, which can potentially turn into jobs in the near future.  I don’t think many other students in different programs or at different schools get the opportunities to take classes and learn these valuable skills so I am very appreciative of it,” Sherry said.

Monique Lang is a senior biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences at Quinnipiac and is planning on going to graduate school to become a physician’s assistant.  She has a completely different experience than communications majors.

“I’m not really sure if we have a career services center but I know there are people that we can seek out for help with it, but for the most part we are on our own,” she said.

“They definitely are lacking in that area and at times it is frustrating, especially when you hear about how much better prepared communications majors are for the real world.”

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