Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Fall Futures Forum Focuses on Landing Dream Jobs

As a freshman in Orientation to Journalism and Communication (Jl MC 110) John Lonsdale told the class that his dream job would be writing for Rolling Stone. At that point, writing for the entertainment magazine was just a dream, but after an internship with Maxim, his dream became reality the summer before his senior year.

Sitting in a panel with Greenlee School alumni Karol Nickell, magazine journalist, Michael Turley, CEO of the advertising agency Osborn Barr, and Emma Reed, production assistant at ESPN, Lonsdale shared his story about how he ended up working at his dream job while he was still a student at the Greenlee School.

Each member of the four-person panel shared their advice on how to work into dream jobs as a journalism or advertising student. Throughout the hour-long discussion, which included questions from the audience, 4 main points:

Find your passion and apply it to what you're doing:

Each member of the panel stressed the importance of students discovering their passions and applying them to their work. 

"You're going to work all of your life, so why not enjoy it?" Nickell asked. It's not just about finding a job, but about connecting your goals to what you're doing, she explained.

Reed explained how finding her passion for sports as a Greenlee School student helped her make herself more marketable after graduating. Working for the Iowa State Daily and doing internships with Daktronics and the Iowa Cubs provided her with a portfolio that made her stand out to employers, which led to her current job with ESPN.

"It's all about your passion and selling your passion," Reed told students. "If you're applying for a job just to get a job, whoever is hiring will probably see through that."

Create and maintain an online presence:

Creating an online presence doesn't just mean making a Facebook page. For professionals it means running a professional Twitter account, creating and maintaining an online portfolio and any other online resources that apply to the work that students are doing.

Having your work available online is convenient for potential employers, allowing them to view any and all work that students have done - including multimedia. The convenience that online portfolios offer employers is something that can't be beat, Turley said. When everything they need to see is in one place, it makes reviewing applicants much easier.

Another factor in an online presence is online communication. Turley said that when students are applying for internships and jobs, maintaining communication with the person you're applying with can help to set you apart from other applicants and show your interest in the position you're applying for.

Be aware of the industry, not just the company:  

You don't want to go into an interview without knowledge of the company you're applying to work for, but along with knowledge of the company, Nickell and Turley encouraged students to keep up with what is happening in the industry they're working in as well.

Both suggested students read trade publications to keep informed on the latest industry trends and outlooks. The Greenlee School subscribes to several trade publications that students can access through the Reading Room.

Nickell told students that along with reading about the news everyday, she also reads trade magazines and her competitors' magazines to keep ahead of the curve and know what's going on at all times.

Make real-world connections:

Turley emphasized the importance of real world connections also encouraged students to start networking within the Greenlee School if they haven't already. Nickell echoed this point, telling students to have their elevator pitch ready to go at all times. "You may need to do it when you aren't expecting to; opportunities are everywhere," Nickell said.

After completing an internship with Maxim the summer between his sophomore and junior year, Lonsdale reached out to the publication's former editor in chief to see if he had any connections with Rolling Stone. After forwarding Lonsdale's resume, he told him to followup with the people at Rolling Stone. After a few conversations, Lonsdale had an internship lined up for his final summer as a Greenlee student, working at the dream publication he told his freshman class he wanted to write for two years earlier.

Story by Matt Wettengel
Photos by Yue Wu

-- Fri, 9 Nov 2012 --