By Skylar Dorr and Andrew Smith
Adelphi students piled into Room 109 in Blodgett Hall to learn about job search tricks from recent graduates in the communications field at Adelphi’s 10th Annual Media Career Expo. This Nov. 14 event, which was sponsored by The Delphian and the Department of Communications, included five Alumni who offered up their tips and tricks on how to make the grueling search for a job a little bit easier, as well as shared their own experiences on how they got to where they are today.
The panelists included Gabrielle Deonath ‘18, a writer and editor who is currently working as a UX (user experience) writer for the University of Phoenix; Olivia Franks ‘20, ‘21, a hockey operations office manager for the New York Islanders; Chelsea Lombardo ‘19, a producer of CNBC’s “The Exchange and Power Lunch;” Maxmillian Robinson ‘22, a member of the New York Football Giants event staff team; and Kevin Padilla ‘16, associate director of technology and communications at the Waldorf School. Deonath, Franks and Robinson were all former editors-in-chief of The Delphian, and Padilla worked as a student writer and publicity assistant for the Adelphi Office of Communications and Marketing.
Moderator and senior adjunct professor Liza N. Burby asked the panelists various questions regarding invaluable skills for a career, the importance of internships and networking, the highs and lows of the job search, as well as taking advantage of what Adelphi has to offer. The Expo allowed the 45 students who attended the event the opportunity to ask the panelists questions they had regarding a career during and after college. This event also included a networking session in order to have a more personal conversation with the panelists and maybe even score an internship–or at the very least some valuable advice.
A significant recommendation from the panel was understanding the importance of using and being active on LinkedIn, a professional social networking platform where you can connect with previous employers and colleagues and even find professionals looking to hire. Robinson said, “ Having a LinkedIn account can set you apart from the rest of the potential candidates for a job.”
Through LinkedIn, Robinson found work at the Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network (YES), which helped him form invaluable connections that have helped him greatly in his professional career. He further explained how his role at the YES Network was not directly associated with his dream of being a broadcaster, but getting his foot in the door was necessary.
Franks suggested that on LinkedIn students should always search for entry-level positions as there are always opportunities for these roles in all organizations.
“A simple search on this platform has the potential to go a long way in connecting with a future employer or finding a place of work,” Franks said.
Lombardo also stressed the importance of LinkedIn, but from a different perspective than the rest. "The sole purpose of being on that platform does not have to revolve around potential employment," she said.
Instead, Lombardo suggested that students can go the extra mile and connect with alumni who share similar career goals and aspirations, with the intention of learning what you can from them. Also, growing your network and profile on the platform allows you to be seen by potential employers, and as a result, will set you up for success in the long run.
Another suggestion emphasized by the panel was to look for opportunities on campus, which at Adelphi, are in abundance. Padilla worked as a student in the Office of University Communications and Marketing, which extensively prepared him for his eventual role at the Waldorf School. As a student worker, Padilla explained that he was able to build strong writing skills that helped him when he entered the professional world. Many similar skills that he fine-tuned as a student became essential to his profession, like proposing and writing marketing communication, editing videos and even knowledge of press releases. Padilla credited the importance of his campus job as providing him the opportunity to “grow into gaps in the workplace” due to his comfort in handling his responsibilities. Over time, he became involved with the technological aspects of the Waldorf School, which he said wouldn't have been possible if he had not mastered these foundational skills as a student.
Another way students were advised to prepare for their professional careers is by exploring the multitude of extracurricular activities on campus. Three members on the panel were former editors-in-chief of The Delphian, and in this role, they were able to master soft skills such as management and leadership that are vital to any professional career.
Current editor-in-chief Lizz Panchyk was in attendance as well, and explained the importance of these events and how students can benefit from them. “Attending these Media Career Expos is extremely valuable to students,” she said. “It allows current students to become inspired by and gain insight from experienced alumni from the Communications Department.”
These activities can help immensely when building a resume and perhaps even teach invaluable skills that will set students apart from the rest of the candidates when competing for a job.
Franks, like many other students, expressed some concern about her budding career when she first arrived at Adelphi as the many potential offerings can seem daunting. Like many others sitting in the crowd, Franks opened up about how stressful indecision can be as a student.“When I was a student, I honestly didn’t know where to begin,” she said.
Despite her initial fears, Adelphi provided Franks with several experiences that helped her create a strong foundation for her professional career. Franks took advantage of this and attended Adelphi’s job fair, where she was able to land an internship that helped get her to where she is today.
As a college student, you have the opportunity to connect with professors, directors of locations where you intern or even previous employers. While it can be easy to forget about an internship after moving on to the next big thing, the panelists stressed the importance of keeping in contact with previous employers. “Do not burn bridges with your past employers,” Franks said.
Students also tend to worry that when they begin the hunt for a job, they’ll run into a lot of dead ends. But Burby said, “Most people in the industry want to help and mentor students the way someone once mentored them.”
Deonath shared a story about how she connected with a former alumni who invited her to his workplace, gave her a tour of the facility and allowed her to participate in a mock interview. This memory in particular stuck out to her because it showed how important it is to remain connected in the professional world and always be open to opportunities that come your way.
The connections students make with potential employers, as well as other professionals, was a point that was emphasized by other members of the panel as well. “Maintaining positive connections with everyone you worked for is important. You never know when you will reconnect randomly,” said Padilla.
In addition to the connections you make, it is also paramount to ensure that the people you have met know that the time they spent was not wasted. Lombardo explained that even if an interview or professional experience does not go the way you intended, which according to other members of the panel is entirely possible, you should always send them a thank you note.
The guidance that the panelists provided resonated deeply with the student audience, and for some, quelled their fears of not finding the right career for them. “I thought it was interesting to learn that some of the students didn’t get what they expected. Like one of the students got a job in marketing although she had not studied for it,” said Bethany Goodwin, a senior communications major who was in attendance. “It reassured me that it’s okay if you don’t get the job you are looking for at first.”
This event, like many other events held here, was just another example of how Adelphi University provides career-building experiences for their students, as well as providing them with professional advice from reputable individuals and giving its students the opportunity to network and help build the career that they have worked so hard for. The panel of alumni shared personal reflections, tales of rejection and guidance that helped point students in the right direction to begin to form the foundation of their professional career.
“I learned that it [the job search] is going to take a while and that I shouldn’t give up and that it takes time,” said Harrison Borod, a junior digital production major. “Don’t take anything personally, and you’ll make it one day.”