Graduation Date

April 30, 2016
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Area(s) of study while enrolled at OU

Bachelor of Science in Journalism with a focus in strategic communications, minor in Retail Merchandising and Fashion Product Development and Certificate in Social Media

What campus resources, learned skills, or advice received during college prepared you most professionally?

There are two classes in particular I took with Dan Farkas (Strat Comm Writing & Strategic Social Media) that really prepared me professionally. I learned how to write the most concise way possible and started a portfolio to give to potential employers. He also taught us how to use resources like LinkedIn to connect with potential employers, as well.

How has your extracurricular or leadership experience impacted your career path?

I held a couple of leadership positions within my sorority, Sigma Kappa, however, I will say having an internship every summer is what really impacted my career path. Nothing beats real life, situational experience. My leadership experience in Sigma Kappa did show me how to handle situations and work with people but the internships impacted the overall direction I decided to go.
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All photos courtesy of Michelle Sebastian

Have you ever used the resources in the Career and Leadership Development Center? If yes, which ones and how did it help you?

Yes! I utilized the practice interviews they offer, resume and cover letter critique. I look back at the notes taken from the practice interview from time to time to this day, it helped me a lot to heighten the way I responded to a question given by an interviewer.

What, if anything, has surprised you about the direction your career path has taken?

I will say, I didn’t know until the summer before my senior year the exact direction I wanted to take with my career. I knew wanted to curate content and messaging but wasn’t sure if I wanted to be part of an agency, media distributor or brand. I spent that summer interning at a startup in New York City; everything about it was unconventional– and I loved it. It taught me that I didn’t want to be in any traditional setting and that I wanted campaign for a disruptive idea.

What challenges did you run into during the job search process?

The biggest and most annoying challenge I ran into was the act of ghosting by human resources departments. If I was no longer considered candidacy, HR would simply just disregard me. This happened plenty of times, it’s always nice to receive closure and move on.

How did you overcome challenges you ran into after graduation?

Persistence. When things didn’t work out, I kept pushing forward. I never let frustration or rejection stop me, if anything, it gave me the inertia to keep going.

What did you learn about yourself through the job search?

I learned about the learning I still have to do. Yes, I am college educated but classroom work can only go so far. Cutting edge processes, platforms, ideas, styles don’t make their way into the classroom quickly. When a company is hiring someone taking on their first entry level job, there is hesitancy because of the lack of experience. Showing readiness to continue learning is key because each company has their own way of doing things.

What is your favorite thing about post-grad life?

I enjoy the ability to finally be 100% in control of my life and the direction I want to take it.

What is your best advice to college students about the job search process?

My advice is always network, research, conduct informational interviews and build your portfolio (if you need one). Instant gratification will get you nowhere, always continue to help your own cause– even if you have a job! You never know who knows who or what could happen tomorrow.

How did you get the job that you just received?

The job I just received is with Identified Technologies, a business drone startup based out Pittsburgh. I uploaded a resume and common application to the Pittsburgh Innovation Works career site and a person from their company actually reached out to me! The research I conducted about the Pittsburgh startup scene is truly what landed me this job.

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