By Alyssa Burke, Junior Communication Major
Each year, Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Honor Society, sponsors countless different career development events in order to provide Communication students with all the tools necessary for success. This year, Communication Career Day was held on February 23 and allowed 50 Villanova students the opportunity to network and learn from ten distinguished Villanova alumni from various fields.
This year’s panel of alumni ranged from individuals working for major news organizations in Philadelphia to public relations firms in New York City. Alumni were chosen from many different areas of Communication, which gave students the opportunity to learn from the diverse professional experiences that each of the alumni provided. Furthermore, students gained greater insight into the array of job opportunities that are available to communication graduates. Two graduates of the Villanova School of Business also shared with students how a Communication background can be further developed for utilization in even the most surprising fields.
The day began with registration and breakfast for students and alumni, followed by an introductory question and answer session. Through this session, the panel of alumni was able to introduce themselves and answer industry specific questions about their professional experience, as prompted by Lambda Pi Eta’s faculty advisor, Dr. Amy Way. During panel sessions, students learned valuable information regarding such topics as the importance of marketing oneself on social media sites and utilizing the Villanova network to their advantage.
Following the introductory portion, alumni broke off into groups with students and partook in a mock job interview activity. Alumni sat at different tables with about five students in order to provide the most favorable learning environment. The alumni remained at each table for the entire event while the students sat at each table for 15 minutes, after which they moved on to the next table of their choice to repeat the activity with another alumnus. At each table students took turns picking interview questions out of the examples provided and answering them. The alumni and students, then, discussed how best to answer the questions among other job interview strategies. Students had the chance to ask the alumni for feedback and gain insight into the interview process from the professional’s point of view. The final event of the was additional networking with alumni.
Alumni Dan Trucil ’08, now senior account executive in the health practice at MSL New York, discussed with students the importance of flexibility in regards to the job search. He emphasized that having an open mind is important when following professional opportunities that arise, despite the fact that these opportunities may not align with one’s expectations. An individual’s first job will not be their dream job but rather a stepping-stone for success and a chance to gain valuable work experience. Additionally, alumnus Dave Clarke 05’, now founder of AuthenticMatters, stressed the importance of utilizing Villanova alumni as a networking tool and encouraged students to have a presence online as a way to stand out to employers.
Preparation for this event took a great deal of time and commitment. Lambda Pi Eta’s Career Development Chair Ali Carey’13, along with co-chair Jamie Zwirn ’14, executed a fabulous event, which was enjoyed by both students and alumni. Through the dedication to every detail in preparation for the day, students were able to make many professional connections and alumni had the opportunity to share the experiences they have attained thus far in their professional careers.
When reflecting on the event, Career Development co-chair Ali stated, “We hope that the workshop built their confidence as candidates for prestigious jobs and internships and that they will find what they learned at Career Day helpful in the years to come. As the day has become an annual event, going on its fifth year, current Communication majors will undoubtedly benefit from applying for this opportunity next year.
Ali and Jamie would both like to thank all of the people that helped make career day possible, including the participating alumni and students, faculty advisor Dr. Amy Way, the Lambda Pi Eta executive board and inductee volunteers, the Alumni Office for donating gifts and the Career Center for the use of their facilities and preparing students prior to the workshop.