Today, I had the opportunity to see a panel of five recent (graduating between 2004 and 2009) UNCW Communication Studies graduates. After giving a brief introduction of where they each studied at UNCW and what their current job positions involve, the floor was opened up to questions. I would like to share some of the panelists’ responses that struck me the most.
A common theme shared among the panelists: make the most of your time in school. Panelists especially urged seniors to challenge themselves by taking as many 400 level courses as they can, because those classes will provide the best experience and preparation for post-graduation life. Similarly, panelists talked about how internships played immensely important roles in their development and transition to entry-level positions. Continuing the thought, when asked about the importance of GPA’s and transcripts in the interview process, panelists unanimously expressed that little concern was given to GPA’s and transcripts, and that employers were much more interested in extracurricular activities and work experience.
Here are a few other comments that I found particularly useful:
Regarding the need for strong written communication skills, Chris Duke stressed the importance of writing “clear and concise.”
When asked about bringing new ideas to an organization, Laura Smith suggested spending time learning everyone’s preferences, because unlike teachers’ seemingly endless enthusiasm for participation, professionals may not always be so receptive.
And lastly, my personal favorite insight of the night came from Chris Duke. Paraphrasing, Chris said, “Use the opportunity during the interview to ask questions that give you a feel for the organization and the culture.”
Wrapping up both Business Week and Com Studies Day, we hope everyone was able to use the myriad networking opportunities. If you feel you may not have done enough networking, or perhaps you’ve got “the networking bug” now, be aware that there are plenty of networking opportunities in Wilmington regularly. Visit WilmingtonNetworkingEvents.com for a calendar with each month’s events.
For a full transcript of our Com Studies Day live-blogging, click here.
– Terry Hayes