Texas Tech University

Alumni Advantage Newsletter

Unfair Advantage

Are you interested in receiving the 'Alumni Advantage' newsletter? If so, please click below to subscribe.


October 2013 Articles:

Alumni Advantage is a newsletter for current students written by members of the National Professional Advisory Board and their colleagues. It provides insider advice, insight and inspiration so that, when our graduates enter the real world, they are ready to rock it.

Get Involved. Now!
Sophia Chappell
Sophia Chappell

Sophia Chappell

My transition from student to young professional was exciting, intimidating and emotionally exhausting at times. I learned the hard way that being a seasoned intern with a solid GPA didn't make me a shoe-in for an entry-level position straight out of college. The process was a lot more disheartening than I had envisioned.

During my college years, I focused on my grades; I acquired leadership positions in my sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha; and I interned for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. I probably applied to a hundred jobs in my final semester, but the one opportunity I couldn't pass up was a post-grad internship with global PR and marketing agency Weber Shandwick. Though I would've loved to work for WS as a full-time employee, I wasn't the right fit for the positions that opened up. The truth is my current job came out of left field. My constant networking had come into play when this PR and social media position opened up at Calise Partners and a fellow young professional thought of me. After what felt like a hundred years, the long and daunting job hunt was over. And I landed my dream (entry-level) job.

I can't stress this enough – find an internship. Find several. Your experience is what's valued in the real world – not your GPA. Learn as much as you possibly can, and learn how to apply your skills and education to real-life situations. Be sure to network, make connections, and stay in touch.

When it comes time to look for those internships and full-time jobs, make sure to get your resume edited to perfection, and above all, practice your interviewing skills in mock interviews. Many schools don't have the resources you have at your fingertips. Take advantage of Career Services!

Sophia Chappell graduated with a public relations degree in December 2012. She is an assistant account executive at the advertising agency, Calise Partners in Dallas.top

Active Participation Now = Less Anxiety Later
Jessica Stark
Jessica Stark

Jessica Stark

My transition from school to the working world was an unusual one. I actually started my job a week before graduation, spending my time outside of the office writing my final papers. But once I was finally out of school and could focus on my work, the change from student to professional wasn't as intimidating as I thought it would be. I learned very quickly how wonderful it is to have a set schedule every day (an idea foreign to me as a student). I have been truly lucky to work with an amazing group of people who have helped me figure out how to work in an office setting.

At the end of school, I was worried that I wasn't prepared to actually begin working in an agency. But because I had actively participated in different organizations during school, I already learned how to be a valuable team member, and that dedication is one of the most important factors in succeeding on a project. Carrying along those traits from school to work have been my biggest assets in doing well at my new job.

Jessica Stark is the media buyer at RD Thomas Advertising in Lubbock. She graduated in May from Texas Tech University's College of Media & Communication with a major in advertising and a minor in community and urban studies.


Do It Old School Style
Greg Heitzman
 Greg Heitzman

Greg Heitzman

What are you going to do to stand out after an interview?

Anyone and everyone can send out an email of appreciation for any telephone or in-person interview ... and this should be done. That's not Old School.

Old School is writing a hand-written Thank You note after the interview and sending it via U.S. Postal Service. The hand-written note should hit the high points of the interview -- nice to meet you, enjoyed learning more about the company, position, etc., and looking forward to moving into the next phase of the interview process, etc.

Now, it's time to REALLY STAND OUT with a typed letter, again sent via U.S. Postal Service. This letter should be more detailed than the Thank You note. In addition to thanking the interviewer for the time and consideration, you focus on the key qualifications of the position and how your skills match up. This is the time to address any points that you wanted to make in the interview and did not get a chance to, either because of time or maybe you just did not get the opening to discuss a particular attribute during the interview. Many interviewers will ask that a follow up project be completed. You can include that with this letter (even if you have sent it electronically).

Do not be afraid to close the letter by asking for the job. You can do it as bold or as subtle as is your personality. Example, "You mentioned a target start date for this position of September 7th. I am available to start on the 7th." Or, "I appreciate the mission statement of your company, respect the leadership, and am confident that my skills and experience will enable me to be a vital part of your future success. I am looking forward to the next step of the hiring process."

There is no doubt that employers are looking for tech-savvy graduates, and there are a ton of them out there. Use every tool you have available to you in your job search and with your follow up correspondences. Then think, "what can I do that no one else will do" to help me stand out among all the other social media experts with whom I am competing. Use every single bit of your social media skills and throw in a little Old School, and you'll see how important it is to "Stand Out" in the competitive job search market and how much easier it is to secure that perfect job (Job #1, that is).

Employment Tip: Old School marketing also can help you establish yourself above the competition once you are in your new job.

Greg Heitzman is a 30-year radio veteran who is currently in a new business development role for Salem Media Reps.

Heitzman is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts in telecommunications. He began his broadcasting career in Lubbock, Texas, immediately following graduation as a sales trainee at KLLL-FM. Within three years at KLLL, he was named local sales manager for KLLL-FM and KEND-AM. He was then named general sales manager for all the Lubbock stations of Pinnacle Broadcasting Company. He also assumed the responsibilities as vice president of sales for Pinnacle Broadcasting Company.

Heitzman and his family moved west when Pinnacle Broadcasting Company named him general manager of KAMA-AM and KAMZ-FM in El Paso, Texas. While general manager, KAMZ-FM earned the Pinnacle Broadcasting Company "Ratings Success Award."

When Pinnacle sold KAMA and KAMZ, Heitzman and his wife Cindy started their own promotion and advertising company in El Paso. Once the company was on its feet, he redirected his career path back to radio and the Dallas market. Heitzman began as an account executive for KSCS-FM in November 1999, became local sales manager in 2001 and named national sales manager in 2002.

While with ABC, Heitzman earned the ABC Radio Circle of Excellence Award and was named the top National Sales Manager in 2004 and 2006 by ABC Radio Sales (Interep). In addition to his NSM duties at ABC, he was the NSM representative on the ABC Radio National Advisory Committee which was comprised of ABC Radio General Managers and General Sales Managers.

He was named a Texas Tech's College of Media & Communication Outstanding Alumni in 2004. Heitzman is currently a member of the Texas Tech College of Media & Communication's National Advisory Board and sits on the board of the DFW chapter of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation.