Paige Helling, a 2011 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently shared her thoughts on her Media Scholars Week experience.
A: Double majored in Journalism and Political Science
Q: Before participating, what was your career goal?
A: I wanted to work at a public affairs/political communications agency.
Q: After participating, did your career goal change? If so, what did it change to?
A: I was open to working more broadly in the field of advertisingthrough the networking reception I realized there were far more positions within the field of advertising that I hadnt originally considered. My goal became focusing on finding the right job with the right company that would help me learn about the dc media industry and would give real experience/responsibilities and had room for growth.
Q: What impact has participation had on your job search?
A: Participation in Media Scholars Week directly led to my current position at CQ-Roll Call. I met a representative from the company during the networking reception (as well as people from other great companies) and by following up and discussing my experience with the case competition (since at that point I had little real world experience other than internships to draw from) I was able to land a job in DC.
Q: How has participation influenced your choice of grad school/major/jobs?
A: I ended up in a position that I hadnt originally considered prior to participating in Media Scholars Week. Upon graduating I assumed I wanted to work at an agency since that is what is so frequently discussed in the journalism program. The publishing side of the business is really only discussed in the context of reporting, but during the week I realized there is also an advertising aspect to the publishing industry. WMSF reaffirmed that I want to remain in the advertising industry, but Im now much more open to a variety of career paths.
Q: What was your favorite part of Media Scholars Week?
A: Meeting with all the DC media professionalsto be able to interact with them, hear what their day to day is like and ask them questions about how they got their start was invaluable. I thought the diverse mix of radio, TV, newspapers, agencies was all very helpful. The networking reception was also fantastic, the ability to chat with industry professionals from across DC really helped kick start my career.
Q: What is your advice for people entering the job search?
A: Be persistent! It can be frustrating at times when youre not seeing your hard work pay off immediately but you need to treat finding a job like a full time job. Meet with as many people for informational interviews as you can. Remain committed to learning about various job opportunities and go into the job searching process with an open mind. Also, the little details make a HUGE differencealways remember to write thank you notes and follow up.
Final thoughts: Media Scholars Week is truly what you make of it, and I highly recommend taking advantage of the opportunity to learn and network with the highly successful, accomplished individuals youll have a chance to meet throughout the week. Always engage with the mentors and try to learn as much as you can. Also, the weeks goes quickly, so make sure you take notes and keep track of business cards!
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