One hundred and twenty-five students registered to meet with 85 professionals, along with other students who made their way to Wilson Hall to take part in the Communication Department’s 5th Annual Career Event on Monday, March 2nd.
“The Communication Career Event has become a signature program for our students and alumni. We hold the Career Event in the spring semester so students can compete for summer and fall internships, and jobs after graduation,” said Chad Dell, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication.
Students in attendance had the opportunity to choose the events they wanted to attend throughout the day. The Career Event had panels for each cluster of the communication degree, including television/radio, public relations/journalism, and communication studies.
There were also opportunities for individuals with a sports communication minor to hear from professionals in the sports industry.
After each panel discussion concluded, participants had the opportunity to network with representatives from over 85 organizations in attendance, including companies such as CNN, CBS Radio, ABC Radio, Fox5 News, The Asbury Park Press, Synergy Events, Townsquare Media, Two River Times, and many more.
Dell explained that the goal of the event is to help students with their professional aspirations. “The goal of the Communication Career Event is to prepare our majors for life after Monmouth. Students do this by attending panels concentrating on careers in their area of interest, meeting with professionals for one-on-one networking opportunities, working with Career Services to polish their resume and interview skills, and speaking with companies and nonprofits seeking internship and job candidates,” he said.
Informational panels ranged from what opportunities there are in the communication field, to how to adjust after graduation. Each panel had a “moderator,” which was a well-known professor in the communication department. The moderator guided the conversation between the panel and the participants, ensuring participants were acquiring information that could help them with their future careers.
Alyssa Gray, a Designer and Page Editor at Gannett and recent alumna of the University, spoke at the “Your First Year Out of School” panel. She discussed how surreal it was to be back at Monmouth, with a degree and full time job after being a student just a few months prior. “It was a great honor being asked just after graduating and I hope that any advice I offered can help students, especially since I was in their shoes not too long ago.”
Gray provided tips for students regarding interviews and potential employment opportunities. “Mainly we spoke about interviewing and tips on job hunting and meeting with potential employers. We also talked about what skills to practice when trying to get a job, how to properly prepare for a career or an internship, and even how the transition is from college to the work force.
The panels were interactive, and gave participants the chance to ask questions and receive answers from professionals. Some participants chose to start one-on-one conversations with the professionals, asking them to listen to their broadcast clips or read their latest article or blog post.
Before offering resumes to the companies in attendance, students and alumni were able to partake in a resume-building workshop, instructed by Career Services. This gave students the chance to perfect their resume before handing it over to the professionals.
Courtney Carr, a senior communication major has attended the event for the last three years, recommended the event to all communication students, “They should be attending every year with their resumes, and business cards, so that they learn and gain more experience year after year.” By attending this year’s Career Event, Carr was able to achieve her goal of speaking with Jim Hickey of ABC.
Carr also offered her personal opinion on the event, contrasting this year’s experience to years prior, “…this is my third time attending the communication career event and honestly, I did have a great experience, but I think the event has been better in the past. My sophomore year, there was a lot more variety in the companies that attended the networking event. There was a great balance of MU alum, and Non-MU alum, and a great balance of local companies, and big name companies. This year, I felt it was mainly local companies and all MU alum. I understand the purpose of utilizing alum for the event, but I was hoping to gain more networking experience with people I didn’t know as opposed to just networking with all my old friends.”
Both the informational panels and the networking portion are crucial to the career fair, according to Dell. “Each of the elements of this event is valuable in their own way. The information panels let students hear how the alumni who came before them positioned themselves for success,” he said. “And the networking event is a real highlight. Studies show that 80 percent of jobs are attained through networking, so the ability of students to meet with professionals at this event provides them a crucial advantage,” Dell continued.
This year’s event was a success, according to Associate Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Michael Thomas, “For Career Networking Events like this successful one organized by the Department of Communication, the way to judge success is by the quality of the conversations, both during the panel sessions and the Networking hours. From what I saw, this year’s event was terrifically successful.”
Dell also offered insight on the outcome on this year’s event in comparison with previous years, “When we first held the event in The Club in 2001 it was so popular that we overran the space. The next year we moved to Wilson Hall, and we filled those rooms, and we’ve had as many as 225 students in attendance,” he said.
The weather may have been a factor in regards to this year’s turnout, “While the student turnout was lower this year, I saw many of our best and brightest talking with professionals from the New York Daily News, CBS Radio, ESPN and many more,” Dell explained.
Dell offered an opinion he received via email from university alumna Cara Viscardo ‘12, who currently works at Fox5, “I credit my entire career to your Communication Career Event. I believe it was the first year you held the event, and I left with new contacts, questions answered, and most importantly, a scheduled interview for an internship. That led to an internship, then freelance position, which turned into a staff position soon after. I met my future News Director that day (Jim Driscoll), and it would have been much more difficult to have face-to-face contact with him, if it weren’t for this event.”
The event is expected to remain a factor of the spring semester for years to come, as long as attendance and participation continues to grow. “The Communication Career Event has become a critical tool for preparing students for their future careers. I believe this will continue to be an annual event, as long as students see value in it and participate,” explained Dell.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University
PHOTO COURTESY of Michael Maiden