Jaclyn Rouillard, a soon-to-be college graduate from Boston University, sat down with me on the COM lawn and told me her post-graduation plans. After listening to her story, I realized all communication graduates this year should take her advice for the stressful job hunt ahead.
Tell me a little bit about your major here at Boston University.
My major is Mass Communication with a focus in advertising and I am so excited to be graduating in May of 2017.
Do you have post-graduation plans?
Yes. Post-graduation I am moving back home to Missouri and I will be working at Bernstein-Rein, which is an independent advertising agency in Kansas City. I will be an assistant account executive on the McDonald’s account.
A solid position at an ad agency is pretty impressive.
Yes, definitely. I started looking for jobs over Spring Break this year because I wanted to get a head start. So, I had a few rounds of interviews with Bernstein-Rein over Skype and they all went pretty well. And at the end of it all, they offered me a position!
What are you most looking forward to with your new job?
I am looking forward to actually putting the things I learned here, at Boston University into practice. It’s one thing to do a project with other students with a theoretical client, brief, or campaign. It’s another thing to have actual business objectives to meet and know that your work is actually going to be used for something. I am curious to see whether what I have learned and what I have practiced throughout my time here at BU will be applicable, in a tangible way —that’s not something you often get to do just from projects.
What are you most excited about with working with such a big client like McDonald’s?
I am excited to learn the ins and outs of such a large corporation. On the McDonald’s account, I will be working with several different local co-ops in the Northeast region and the Midwest, which is not a business model that I have seen very often or at all in class. I think that there will be a learning curve, but I am excited about it. I am a little nervous about stagnating after graduation, so being able to continue my learning while I am still in the mindset of a recent graduate who is used to learning new things in the classroom is something that I am excited for.
Do you have any advice for your fellow COM graduates about the job search process?
I would say, be yourself. I think it’s important to be open with your potential employers. Be open to expressing any concerns or any questions that you have. Being a recent graduate, I was nervous that a potential employer would overestimate or underestimate my abilities. I feel as though an open line of communication about what you feel comfortable doing and what you’re looking to learn is important so that all the expectations are out on the table.
For someone who does not know where to begin with the job search, do you have any tips?
Look at company culture! It is a good way to start and to help narrow down possible job opportunities. I would say that in advertising in particular, agency culture is something that a lot of agencies pride themselves on and can really distinguish themselves from one another. If you feel as though you are a good match at a company where you feel as though you would flourish, even if you do not see a job posting, it is worth it to reach out and see if there are any job openings in the future. Get your foot in the door. If you are not sure where to start, just reach out and make the first connection, it will give you a good indication of what place or position could work for you.
Mackenzie Peña is currently a senior at Boston University studying Public Relations in the College of Communication. She has participated in both BU’s AdLab and PRLab as an account executive. She hopes to secure a position in a PR agency where she can put her communication knowledge and love for all things PR to good use. In her spare time, Mackenzie likes to dance, hang out with friends, and travel home to Connecticut, where she spends time with her family.