By Taylor Blasko
This past Wednesday the English Department, jointly with CSPD, hosted a professional panel of people who use writing in their careers and everyday job. Going to this event was bitter sweet for me, because for the past two years I have been the student organizer of this event and for once to just be sitting in the audience felt nice. Yet, there was still a part of me that regretted not getting to know the panelist beforehand and not being involved. Let’s face it, I’m the kind that can’t say no, to anything, and this semester I finally got the guts to say I would pass it to somebody new. Anyway, here I was at the panel, all while the fire alarm was going off in South Hall, which I mentioned in a previous blog post…
The panel was a good networking opportunity as usual. There was a plethora of food, including beef sliders, a cheese board, dips, fruit plate, and cookies and brownies for your sweet tooth. All the while the student organizers urge you to get up during the panel, while the panelists are talking to eat the food. Eat the food. That’s all they tell you when they go. And I get it, I’ve been there, they paid for all that food to be at the event. But seriously, you think I’m just going to get up as I fancy and walk all the way to the back of the room, jump around everyone sitting and listening, to grab a brownie? Come on I’m not that rude (even though I did have to take a phone call in the middle of it because of the fire alarm…but hey, I felt super bad about it!).
I digress…the panelists basically used writing in their everyday lives at work —from writing emails, grants, executive summaries, legal writing, to writing greeting cards, these people did it all, or at least had some experience dealing with lots of kinds of writing. They were there to give us tips and pointers on how to get jobs like theirs or how to succeed in the job market at all. That’s a hard thing to do nowadays ya know.
I think the biggest piece of advice that came out of the session was that prospective employees, like myself and yourself if you’re reading this and looking for a job, need to be good communicators. One panelist even said that they would consider hiring you if you communicated your ideas effectively and your resume was lacking. Communication is everything here, people. How often do we all hear that? It’s true I guess. So yea, basically be able to communicate. Cultivate that face-to-face interaction because FYI, everyone expects young people (millennials as much as I hate using the word) to suck at communicating. So surprise ’em kids. Knock ’em outta the park. Show them that you’re not an idiot like they already think you are.
Things that the panelists suggested doing while you’re still in school were to build an alumni network, get involved in extracurricular activities, and take advantage of resources on campus such as the CSPD offices where they can help you actually find those jobs. But one of the important pieces of advice that stood out amongst all of these things was to be devoted to what you do. That being said, you can be involved in a shit ton of extracurricular activities, but if you aren’t devoted to each and every one, they aren’t worth it. Basically, don’t half-ass things. It’s okay to jump from one thing to another if you aren’t sure of yourself, but don’t half-ass it people.
And the most important piece of advice I got from this panel? When you send a cover letter to someone, spell their name right….you’re welcome.