‘How I Landed My Job’ series helps journalism students land on their feet

photo courtesy of Joan Barrett's Linked in profile

Joan Barrett, a 1986 Kansas State graduate, visited K-State on Monday as part of the “How I Landed My Job” series. Barrett talked to students about different ways to set themselves apart when it comes to applying for careers after college.

She started off the speech differently than most; instead of introductions and diving right in, she made every student in the room approach a faculty member and shake their hand, introduce themselves and pretend that they were in a job interview. Afterward, the faculty was told to give honest feedback, some more brutal than others.

“Make everything important,” Barrett said as she detailed how job interviews might go.

Barrett has had an arguably crazy career path that she said she never predicted when she left K-State back in the late 80s. Since graduating, she has worked all over the Midwest as a reporter, television producer, news manager and even became a news director in Phoenix, Arizona before returning to Kansas and directing multiple news stations in Wichita and Denver, Colorado.

After explaining how knowing people can be a great first step in getting one’s foot in the door, Barrett gave the room tips on what to do while still in college that will help students’ resumes stand out come application time.

“A graduate degree is not a leg-up…it just isn’t,” she said. “What it will come down to is your skillsets —your writing, your leadership ability. Every job has a skillset.”

While in college, there are many viable options that can help any student set themselves apart from the rest: internships, joining and leading clubs or organizations on campus, job shadowing, workshops and more are all available to students that put their due diligence and work into achieving their dream job, she said.

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One key that will also set one apart from the rest is recommendations from former teachers. While one might think that showing up, doing the work and getting the grade is all there is to taking a class, the faculty in the room listed ways that students can show up other students and stand out as a successful student.

Successful students ask questions, participate in class, are curious, do things without being asked and show up in class on time, they collectively concluded.

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Besides the story of Barrett’s employment opportunities and the insight that came with each job and each example, the event was much more modeled as a group discussion.

That’s one reason Parker Eaves, junior in public relations, said he was glad he came to hear Barrett speak. He said he enjoyed “all the advice on what I can do as a student to better myself to get a job after.”

One key “building block”, as Barrett put it, is practicing your strengths every day much like the basketball team does during the season and especially during the off-season.

If you’re wanting to be a writer, write every day, Barrett said. If you are wanting to work in an advertising firm, take notes of ads you see that spark interest or sizzle better than others. No matter what you want to do, practice at it every day and eventually your skill sets will become second nature and make you a more hirable applicant come time, she said.