February 23, 2018
Alumni panelists in the public relations, advertising and marketing fields emphasized the importance of being well-rounded with a variety of skill sets.
Aaron Bilger '91, director of public relations at Highmark, said he balances his business and communication skills every day. Understanding the business goals of his organization is essential to developing effective communication strategies.
Communications majors should also be open to different career paths, said Laura Baumann '13, senior project manager at Lightspeed Health. The evolving field of communications offers opportunities that may not even be on anyone's radar yet.
"People move around a lot," said Chris Noah '88, executive vice president and director of client services for Citi Consumer Bank. The industry often feels smaller than it is, he said, allowing for long-lasting connections and greater job mobility.
"It's important to keep those connections. In my experience, people naturally want to help you succeed."
Good work ethic needed to break into competitive industries
Fast-paced and competitive, television and film are difficult industries to break into, but Susquehanna alumni have proven themselves more than capable of finding success.
Entry-level positions such as production assistant are in high demand, and, according to alumni panelists, the key to landing them lies in real dedication.
Craig Housenick '98, two-time Emmy winner for his work as lighting director for The Voice, said, "Enthusiasm and work ethic matter more than technical skills. Once you build up skill and experience you are more likely to move up. People will see that you've proven yourself."
Developing technical skills through practice and careful study of others in the industry should be priorities as well.
Jason Mammen '00, Emmy-award winning producer at Showtime Networks, said, "Study what others in the industry do and how they do it. Always be working on your craft, whatever it is."