Alumni panel tells Communication Management students to network, intern and job shadow

USC Annenberg Communication Management students learned from alumni the secrets of getting a job Wednesday evening.

Professor Rebecca Weintraub, director of the Masters of Communication Management program, moderated the alumni event attended by about 50 students. Several panelists said one of the keys to landing a job is networking. The event was organized by USC Annenberg's Career Development and International Programs office.

Isabelle Huang, USC Annenberg career development program advisor, said: We host these panels to give Annenberg students and alumni a chance to network with other alums and see how they have used their degree from USC Annenberg to get to where they are today (in their field of interest). It's a great way to hear from alumni and see how they got to where they are in their professional careers and hear of any advice that they have to give to the attendees.  

Nowadays, it's so important to build your own network and make connections, so what better way to do that than to attend these panels and network with Annenberg alums? “I think you should try to get out there,” said Sheryl Lee (class of '03). “There are so many different types of resources out there from different associations. You can get a free webinar, you can go to their mixers or events.”

Kristi Daraban ('08) said to network as much as possible. “One of my colleagues that came to the program was at Disney, worked in the same group that I worked in, and was able to help me through the interview process," Daraban said. "She gave me insight into how the company works and what they're looking for, which was great.”

Panelist Marni Landes ('07) used her network to help her get a job at Saban Brands, where she is now. “Be thinking always, even in this program or before this program, who do you know and if you don't know four people or five people you feel like you can call on to speak highly of you, then you need to start building your contacts a lot better than you are currently doing,” Landes said.

Landes made the recommendation for everyone to read the book “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.” “It's just like the title says, you never know when you're going to need that person so build your circle early not knowing exactly when or where you'll need them, but then you are at the ready,” she said. “You have them when you need them. And it's not all just to get people for favors, but you're building a network and it's also making you more valuable as a result.” She also said it is important to find a mentor and try to learn as much as possible from my person. "You won't always have that available to you in the workplace," Landes said.

Jamie Sperling ('09) said it is really important to do an informational interview. “I always tell people that when you are student an informational interview is the best thing you can do because it's non-threatening,” Sperling said. “People are very open to letting students come into their workplace, shadow them, just talk to them in a way that I think people aren't as open to when you're out of school. So I think it's really, really, really important to take advantage of that when you are in school.”

Another important recommendation is for students to do as many internships as possible. “Even if it doesn't get paid, if it's school credit or it's not school credit, it's okay because it allows you to expose yourself out there, to really see how the real world is," Lee said. "In school we learn textbooks are really different from when you're in the real world." A few more workshops concerning the job hunt are taking place throughout the rest of the semester:

  • A Job Searching Strategies Workshop is on March 26 (at 4pm in ASC 204).
  • A "How to Work a Job Fair" Workshop is on April 2 (at 4pm in ASC 207).
  • The annual Annenberg Career Fair is on April 3 (5-8pm) in Town & Gown.