Lynae Sowinski, Editorial Director of Limestone Post Magazine, took some time to share career advice with current students.
Q: What do you wish someone would have told you as you prepared to enter the workforce?
L: Try out as many experiences as you can while in school (and after, for that matter). Are you interested in film? Get yourself on a movie set — no matter how big or small — and see if you like it. Are you interested in seeing the world? Study abroad — it’s a lot harder to pack up and move somewhere for a few months when you are working 9 to 5. Try out internships in different work environments and media fields. Volunteer with nonprofits you care about. Join a sport you’ve always wanted to try. All of these experiences open doors, give you valuable skills for the workforce, and make you a well-rounded person in the media field. Plus, all of the people you’ll meet are filled with great story ideas.
Also, this is cliché, but savor your time in college. It really does go by too quickly.
Q: What piece of advice would you like to share with students currently looking for internships or full-time jobs?
L: I actually have three:
1) Know everything you can about the publication you are interested in working/interning for. Soak everything in. If it is a print publication — pick it up and read it cover to cover. If it is a broadcast publication — watch (or listen) to its programming. Know what types of stories they do and don’t cover. Know their tone. Know whether they focus on hard news, long-form features, op-eds, etc. Have story ideas in mind that fill a gap in the publication’s coverage (and make sure they fit the publication’s personality). I’ve witnessed many potential interns not get the job simply because they never actually spent time with the publication.
2) Knowing everything you can about a publication is also important because it will help you make sure that you’ll be happy in that job/internship. For example: Does the publication reflect your interests? Does the bustle of hard news excite you or stress you out? These are important things to consider while looking for a job/internship. Do not forget about your personal happiness.
3) Get published. This could mean writing for the school paper or contributing to a local/regional/national publication. But it could also mean starting a blog (please have a friend edit your posts before you press the “publish” button) or building a page to showcase your photography on Facebook. Do whatever you need to do to get your work out there. Potential employers want to see what you can do, and you need to have something to show them.