By Meredyth Wiegand
SAN MARCOS- A panel of Texas State University graduates spoke Thursday to current students about their jobs in digital advertising and social media as part of Mass Comm Week.
University lecturer and Ad Club faculty supervisor, Emmeline Olson moderated “Everybody’s Surfing Now: Digital Advertising and Social Media” prompting the panel of professionals to speak about their experiences in the workforce. Olson began the discussion asking how to keep up with new trends and technology. Associate editor of The Berry Emily Burns said emulating other bloggers helped her figure out how to write about a specific topic.
“This panel was great at explaining how to keep up with digital trends,” audience member Imani McGarrell said. “You’re never not a student when you work in social media.”
Olson then asked the panelists to discuss the typical age range of employees at their respective companies. Andrea Windmeyer, a creative strategist at Unique Influence, said when she was hired, she was the fourth female working for the company. Windmeyer added since being hired the company has grown and now employs an equal amount of male and females.
“In my company, about 75 percent of employees are female,” said Cody Herring, a digital strategist for White Hat Agency. “Both of the company owners are female. Public relations is a female dominated area of work.”
The discussion was then opened up for students to ask questions to the professionals. The conversation shifted to questions about how the recent graduates obtained their current jobs. An audience member asked how to stand out during an interview.
“As cliché as it is, be yourself,” said Taylor Wood, marketing analyst for The Chive. “Give everything you have and explain why you would be an asset for a particular company.”
A student in the audience then asked the panelists how valuable internships are while still in school. Windmeyer said internships are very important. She continued saying internships help students gain experience along with contacts and new skills that would be applicable in post-grad life.
“This was my favorite panel,” said audience member Nickolie Minaj. “They talked about important internships, the best ways to network and how to find your place in the digital world.”
The panel conversation shifted again. Students began asking the professionals about smart advertising, digital communication and how to deal with negative feedback. Wood said at the Chive, she makes her advertising informal relatable and conversational. Adding she takes criticism with a smile because it helps her improve.
The panel discussion ended with Olson prompting the media professionals to give a piece of advice to students. Burns told students to shoot for their dream jobs, but not expect their first job to be the dream. Herring concluded the discussion and told students to find what they are good at and go after it.
“I think Mass Comm Week is important because it gives students a chance to meet professionals,” audience member professor Jon Zimkly said. “It gives them an opportunity to network and learn about skills they hear about in class how to apply them in the real world.”
Texas State University graduates and media professionals participate in a discussion with current students about digital advertising and social media. Photo by Meredyth Wiegand