Going Back to School: What I Learned During Loyola University’s Career Week

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

One tangible benefit of my new position with a university here in Chicago is this: I’m surrounded by people — faculty, staff and students — and in an environment dedicated to learning.  In fact, I plan to apply for graduate school soon; but that’s the subject of another post, whether I’m accepted or not!

The subject of this post centers on education of sorts, more precisely my participation in sharing thoughts and insight with young people who will lead the communications industry in the decades to come. And, most importantly for this discussion, what I took away.

Primary_3colorOn Wednesday, I participated in a workshop of sorts called “Resumes that Pop & Interviews That Wow,” hosted by the Loyola University School of Communication. It was part of a Career Week initiative organized by the university, something I would have welcomed 30-plus years ago when I was finishing my education at Illinois State University.

(Hey, I have only good things to say about ISU, as noted in this two-part “travelogue” from July of 2014: Read part one. Read part two.)

The late afternoon event brought together public relations, advertising, marketing and other communications professionals and Loyola students for a resume review and informal mock job interview.

My one-on-one conversations were with two guys who hailed from metropolitan Chicago, and young ladies from places farther away: San Diego, Northern Ireland and China.  Each encounter was rewarding for me, and hopefully for the students.

I trust by the time we concluded, the students got a better understanding on how to craft a resume and pursue employment post-graduation.  So what did I learn?

Here are three takeaways:

1. Journalism as a Course of Study is Alive and Well. One of the students I met wanted to work as a journalist upon graduation, specifically in community journalism. Others had Loyolasome experience writing and editing collegiate and other print or online publications.  This was refreshing because society needs and should value the work of trained, impartial journalists. I’m gladdened to know the profession is still part of the curriculum at Loyola.

2. Industry Professionals Gladly Share the Wealth. It was refreshing and gratifying to be part of a contingent of some 25 communicators of varying degrees of experience — all willing to give two hours of their time to give future communicators advice on navigating the often challenging job market.  The eagerness to share reminded me of the ISU motto: “Gladly we learn and teach.”

3. The Future of Communications is Looking Pretty Good. All five of my student visitors were poised, smart and accomplished. All were receptive to my critiques and resume suggestions: Use a sans serif font, include a summary paragraph, cite measurable and quantifiable results. And, perhaps most importantly, all expressed a strong desire to someday soon make their respective mark as communicators.

As noted earlier, I plan to go back to being a student myself (part time, of course) one day soon. Rest assured, I’ll gladly learn … and teach if asked to do so.

 

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