This week I had the valuable opportunity to attend a media career day at BGSU. This event was hosted by the Media Student Association.
The event included recent and senior alumni panelists who answered questions about their collegiate journey, career, and life after their time at the university.
It also included a Key Note speaker from The Walt Disney Company, free lunch, employee mixers, internship interviews with local companies, and plenty of networking opportunities.
I took part in the entire day and I could not stress the importance of attending this type of event enough to students in college.
Not only did I get to meet industry professionals in my field on a personal level, but most of them were alumni of my university - eager to help the current students of their alma mater find jobs and internships. No matter what your major is, attending career days and networking events while in college can be extremely beneficial - I highly recommend taking advantage of these types of opportunities.
There are some major takeaways that students can gain from these events. I learned the importance of internships, networking, resume catering, and finding a personal advisor, mentor, and sponsor.
Over a dozen panelists and the Key Note speaker were very adamant about the importance of not just sitting back while you're in college and doing only the bare minimum of class.
They all stressed the importance of getting involved on campus, but also how having as many internships as possible is extremely beneficial after college.
Most of the speakers who had experienced great success after college were those who had 3 or more internships while at the university. They stressed that employers are looking for those with experience in the industry, who are creative and self-efficient workers.
While experience is extremely beneficial, most speakers expressed that it's more often knowing the right people that can help land you an amazing job opportunity.
The speakers commended all students in attendance for taking initiative to attend the career day event. They told us that we were the people who were going to do well because we understand the importance of networking.
They encouraged speaking to as many professionals as possible during the event, even if their company or positions weren't specifically where our interests lie. This gave us the opportunity to get to know people who could help us later and get some resumes out into the local industry.
Resumes are the way college students catch the eyes of employers. We all know that our resume should only be one page, include our best work experience and skills that we can offer a company.
However, something that the panelists touched on was being sure to cater your resume to the job position you are applying for.
Focus on the experiences that relate the most to the position and make your resume stand out with color or other creative, eye-catching aspects - without overdoing it.
Some said that while they were looking at resumes for hiring, they would often glance at a resume for 20-30 seconds and decide if they would contact the person in only that small amount of time - it's like making a first impression in person, it could make or break creating conversation and relationships.
The final and most eye-opening advice I took away from the career day was the importance of finding a personal advisor, mentor, and sponsor. An advisor should be a person that you work closely in the workplace. This person is your go-to for opinions, help, and brainstorming while at work. Then you should find a mentor.
This is the person who you tell the good, the bad, and the ugly - you have wholehearted trust in them. They know everything about your career journey and help guide you along the way.
Lastly, your sponsor will be someone who you only tell the good things - projects you've done great on, promotions, praises, great ideas, etc. This person will always speak highly on your behalf.
They would be the person who may suggest you for a project or role in business meetings or just the person who is always talking you up to important people and those around the office and industry, even when you are not present.
These takeaways just skim the surface of all that I learned by attending the career day and networking. These tips can be utilized by any college student who is currently working towards becoming a better professional in their field.
While the tips are universal, and some may have already been quite obvious, hearing from industry professional about real-world, personal experiences make students embrace the concepts so much more - not only are these things that professors preach at us, they are actually the things having a big effect on those you came before us in our fields. It's all about owning your career and putting your best foot forward.
I suggest taking every and any opportunity to attend events such as this because you never know who you'll meet, what you'll learn, and how many doors could be opened for you.