For many students, graduation is right around the corner, and the daunting task of job hunting has begun. Finding that dream job can be a very long and difficult endeavor; luckily, here at the University of California, Santa Barbara, there are many opportunities to begin networking and to help you put your foot in the door.
One such event was held on April 26 at Corwin Pavilion, where crowds of alumni and students alike gathered together to participate in the 6th Annual Communication Career Day, celebrating the Communication Department’s 30th anniversary.
The event began with opening remarks by Communication Department Chair Ron Rice. Rice then introduced the Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science Melvin Oliver, who had wise words of advice for everyone in attendance.
“[Networking] gives you contacts to different worlds that you may never have thought about,” said Oliver. “That’s what this conference is about: you figuring out how to get into each other’s ‘bridging networks,’ bridging to new worlds that will have new opportunities and new careers that you have never even thought of… Those are your networks. Use them, and use them well.”
After the opening remarks, there were three alumni panel sessions, all focusing on different aspects of the communication industry. The panel sessions were titled “Entertainment Industry,” “Public Relations and Marketing,” and “Getting Your Foot in the Door Those First Few Years.”
“What got my foot in the door was really just reaching out and not being shy to put myself out there,” said Eleen Ibraham, communication panel member and 2012 alum. Ibraham works as a communication specialist for dental software company QSIDental.
One of the panel speakers was Regina Sarnicola, account executive from Yelp who graduated in 2011. When asked what she would have done differently by moderator Tina Benevento, Sarnicola replied, “What I would’ve done differently is be more involved… Looking back it’s great to have a degree, but if you don’t have those hardcore applicable skills that you get from interning or volunteering or being a part of a organization–again, it’s hard to kind of set yourself apart on paper.”
Later, the topic moved onto what advice the panelists would give to students. In regard to this, Sarnicola said that something that could set you apart from other candidates is reporting “hard numbers” in your resume–for example, “I managed a team of 20-30 people.” Even going a step further and adding a cover letter may set yourself apart from others, said Ellen Araujo, 2013 alum who works as a campus manager for Course Hero, Inc.
After the panel sessions, there was a speed mentoring event in which a group of students would sit at a table and have a 15-minute discussion with a speed mentor. Mentors provided tips and helpful advice on landing a job after graduation.
Some of the alumni in attendance had found their own networking connections when they went to a career day event in their undergraduate year. Lauren Alvey, class of 2012, attended the 4th Annual Communication Career Day, where she made connections with Intercare Insurance Solutions, and was hired by them. Alvey wanted to pay it forward by volunteering to be a panel member and speed mentor at this year’s event, giving a guiding hand to other students about to embark on their own career paths.