With the economy in such rough shape, college students are left wondering what their post-graduate lives will bring. Yet, recent success stories of Niagara graduates Jackie Eckel, Christina Crane, and Shena Lee show that starting a career is challenging, but not impossible.
In the field of communications, networking is the key to success. Christina Crane graduated from Niagara in 2009, when the economy was at one of its lowest points. Throughout her college career, she was a part of the Niagara Index and the CMS Review, and was the first general manager of WNIA Radio. Continuing to build on her resume, Crane took on a New York City internship for CBS News.
“As a communication studies major, I felt it was important to be involved in many aspects of the communication industry because not only were these positions media related, they were relative in the sales/promotions/marketing and technical fields as well,” she said.
Crane’s search for a job was admittedly frustrating at times. After working part time for radio stations like STAR 102.5 and doing promotions for Budweiser and Labatt Blue, connections and experience finally landed her a position as a sales and marketing representative for AEP Books and Media in Buffalo.
“It took me a year and a half, two cases of resume paper and over 50 interviews before it happened for me. You have to stand out and always be on the hiring manager’s radar,” Crane said.
Like Crane, Lee found the devastating shape of the economy anything but encouraging. Four days after graduation, she took a leap of faith and moved to Northern Virginia with her fiance in hopes of finding a better job market. Lee’s exciting new life outside of Washington D.C. brought on new obstacles.
Realizing that finding a job wouldn’t be easy, Lee visited a temp agency for some guidance and accepted a temporary position at an attorney’s office. It wasn’t long before a full time position opened up and now Lee is an office action specialist at a patent and trademark attorney’s office.
“Don’t give up and try a temp agency, they have a lot of positions that can help you get your foot in the door,” Lee said. “It may not be what you want to do forever, but it is a start.”
Eckel can say that the economic downturn did not stop her from finding her dream job. But just like anyone else, getting there wasn’t easy. Graduating in 2010, Eckel joined the millions of other college graduates in a seemingly endless job search.
“I searched for a job like it was my job. It was a painful and disappointing process.”
Eckel explored her options on Craigslist and, by January, she was applying to a job she imagined getting since 2008. Eckel now works as an editor/producer of a local TV station in Orchard Park.
“The advice I would give grads looking for jobs is not to discourage (them to look) on Craigslist,” Eckel said. “Since I got lucky and found the job I’ve wanted since 2008 (and I graduated in 2010), it was a real surprise myself!”
This article appeared in the March/April 2011 issue of the CMS Review, a publication produced by Niagara University’s Department of Communication Studies.