Learning beyond the classroom

how to get a job

Screen shot 2012-12-30 at 11.18.50 PM

I just received my final grades for this past semester. I’m halfway done my master’s degree and I have an excellent GPA. That’s all fine and dandy but that’s not going to get me an interview, much less a job.

As Newhouse’s graduate student employment statistics document makes clear,

“A master’s degree doesn’t guarantee a better job right away or higher salary without professional experience before beginning a master’s program. Instead, a master’s degree pays off in the form of earlier promotions and raises a few years after graduation.”

As I’ve mentioned a number of times, I have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to be doing immediately after Newhouse in June (creating web content and managing social media for higher ed). The issue now is to make the most of the time and energy I have in the next 5 months to ensure I’m the most qualified I am for the kind of positions to which I’ll be applying. So, in addition to taking the required

Understanding Financial Statements,
Financial Markets and Institutions,
Public Relations Practicum,
Public Relations Campaign Planning and Execution

and Public Relations Management, I’ll be working on skills I’ll need to land my first job.

I’ve looked at dozens of job listings similar to those I’ll be applying for in April. I’ve found that there things that employers either require or prefer for those positions that aren’t covered to the extent I need in my curriculum but which I can improve upon in the meantime. Below are those skills and what I’m doing/have done to improve them.

Basic Photography/Videography  – taking a Newhouse course that covers

  • Multi-Platform Photojournalism using Multiple Mediums
  • HDSLR Camera Handling Basics for Video and Stills
  • Lighting for still and video
  • Still, sound and motion collection
  • The visual and auditory narrative
  • The interview, working with your subject
  • Video shooting and editing sequences
  • Nonlinear editing
  • Working with changing technology

Basic Knowledge of HTML/CSS – Taking HTML Essential Training (including a CSS primer) on Lynda.com

Web Analytics – Taking Google Analytics Essential Training on Lynda.com

InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop CS6 – Individual courses on Lynda.com (in addition to GRA 617)

Managing Social Media Platforms (my PR Practicum with Kate Brodock, Executive Director of Digital and Social Media at Syracuse University in addition to my prior experience)

That’s about it for now.

P.S.: If you’re a recruiter at a college or university and want to know more about me, here’s my resume and a little more.

Geoff Campbell’s Resume

Geoff Campbell Resume

My Resume is current as of March, 2014. See my LinkedIn profile for more information.

Finding a Job in #highered / #heweb

Recently, I asked Seth Odell (@sethodell) of Higher Ed Live, during his show, what advice he had for getting a job in communications for higher education. He said that it can be tough to get into but that I higher ed institutions hire people from outside the industry and that once I’m in, I’m in due to how much collaboration and networking there is in higher ed (at least when it comes to communication and marketing).

I absolutely found that true when I started out working at Mount Allison University and found that collaboration, especially in LinkedIn groups was simply astounding at the time. People at institutions across North America shared their accomplishments, asked interesting questions, and helped each other with practical advice.

I can foresee the positive sense of community increasing once I find permanent work in higher ed communications.

The hard part is getting a foot in the door somewhere to start out and not get pigeonholed into a “Writer” position. The latter doesn’t seem to be an issue as there seems to be a lot of employee turnover in higher ed communications. Ron Bronson said, in the above mentioned #HigherEdLive  show, that moving around is a strong option for people who don’t see room for advancement in their current position.

I’ve also branched out into things like #EMchat for Enrollment Management (think admissions and retention) to see what job requirements are like in that area of higher ed.

I tried something new and made a Storify of my experience to date that which has generally been well-received.

I’ve joined eduniverse, and began following/re-following crucial Twitter accounts like @eduwebconf@SMCBoston@HighEdWeb@CASEAdvance@eduguru@insidehighered @HigherEdJobs@chronicle@mikepetroff@EricStoller, and others.

Depending on financing and how my job search is going, I hope to attend the The PRSA 2013 Counselors to Higher Education (CHE) Senior Summit in Washington, DC and/or #PSUWeb13 in State College, PA to learn and *gasp* network to find helpful colleagues and a potential employer.

So in the end there’s not a whole lot that’s new. I’ve found exactly zero job postings for communications related positions in higher ed that start when I need to have a job (June 3, 2013). I’ll continue talking with as many knowledgable/helpful people I can in hopes of being the best prepared as I can be when I formally begin applying for jobs probably in April.