I’m taking a Writing For Online Journalism class right now. The semester is split into two halves and with the end of the first segment, my group’s blog of our stories is complete! Back in January, when the semester started, we chose the overall topic of “Burlington businesses that have survived the recession.” We spent the next six weeks contacting potential interviewees, conducting interviews, and writing stories to be posted to the blog. Without planning to, I ended up interviewing multiple recent college graduates who now hold successful jobs. I asked them questions about their jobs, the journey they took to be successful in bad economic times, and what advice they had for people like me who are getting ready to graduate. Although I was initially conducting these interviews for the prime purpose of completing my class assignments, I ended up being extremely inspired by the success stories of theses recent grads, who, only a year ago, were in the same position that I am now. The conversations I had with these young businesspeople allowed me to view graduating in a new light. My previous feelings of excitement-yet-dreading-the-inevitable-job-search were replaced with feelings of optimism and hope that things will work out. As discussed in my commentary The Power of a Revelation, the three interviews that I conducted proved to me that if you get as much out of college as you can –which I have accomplished through multiple internships, incredible class projects, and networking with the right people– and you pursue your goals with high energy and a positive attitude –which I always do naturally anyway– then you will be successful upon graduation.
For my first story I interviewed Ryan Fitzpatrick, the operations manager at 156 Bistro, a restaurant in downtown Burlington, and Corey Grenier, an account manager at Brandthropology, a marketing firm in Burlington. The biggest lesson I learned from Ryan was that effectively using social media can get you far in life. Prior to beginning his career at 156 Bistro Ryan frequently tweeted about his passion for the restaurant, and the owner ended up offering him a job that wasn’t even being advertised. When talking with Corey, I was very interested in what she had to say because it hit close to home. I feel like I’m in the exact same situation that Corey was in prior to her graduation. She wasn’t planning to stay in Burlington. She wanted to move somewhere new –California– and experience a different life. And she felt that she could always rely on waitressing while she was searching for a marketing job. This all changed when Corey was given a job offer by Brandthropology. Corey put all of her moving plans to the side and took the job, knowing that it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. “So what if I stay in Burlington,” Corey shared with me. “What’s another two years, or however long I’m here? I can always go to California later.” This really made me think, and I ended up agreeing with Corey. Who cares that I’m ready to get out of Burlington? It’s a great place to live with lots to do, and I absolutely LOVE summers up here. That’s when I decided that although I’m not actively looking for jobs around Burlington, I will, without a doubt, stay here if a public relations or marketing job presents itself. Burlington really is a great city, and as I’ve already sorted out, I’m over the phase of vetoing winter.
For another journalism story, I interviewed Austin DeLonge, who graduated from UVM in 2010. With some friends, Austin started the business Blirp It. Austin explained to me that being able to talk about his entrepreneurial skills with potential employers was a great asset that set him apart from other job seekers. Similarly, I feel that I have equipped myself with skills to distinguish me from the competition. Through class projects at Champlain, I’ve been involved in all different aspects of marketing and PR, from designing complete media kits to creating year-long PR campaigns to formulating crisis communication plans to revamping companies’ internet marketing plans and social media strategies to building creative briefs to strengthening companies’ SEO to measuring business’s web analytics and creating actionable results. Not to mention everything I’ve accomplished at my two PR internships. This list is just off the top of my head too, so I’m probably forgetting several things. I think I have a solid realm of experience, do you agree?
As I continue applying for jobs with my new positive attitude that I’ve developed surrounding this process, I will keep the insights I’ve learned from Ryan, Corey, and Austin at the front of my mind; stay positive because something will work out, make sure I’m happy with what I do, take experience over my ideal world because experience is invaluable, and be proud of everything I’ve already accomplished.