Communications professionals sat down with JCCC students on Tuesday, February 7 to discuss pursuing careers in marketing and strategic communications at the Kansas City International Association of Business Communicators (KC IABC) Career Roadshow. Students heard from panelists Andrew Baker, Rachel Pedersen, Paul Polidori and Lauren St. John on finding success in the ever-changing communications industry.
Social media in particular has changed the game.
“It has made a very huge impact,” said Rachel Pedersen, marketing manager for the communications company Text In Church. “With younger generations, they want to know where brands stand on different beliefs,” she added.
Lauren St. John, Hallmark Cards’ associate marketing manager, gave her experience in putting forward the company’s stance towards LGBTQ issues while maintaining good relations with many of the company’s older customers.
But navigating this terrain as a communicator in the age of social media is no easy task. Pedersen described social media’s potency can also affect how organizations respond to issues and crises. If businesses don’t stay ahead of social media, they can find themselves in trouble, Pedersen added.
“Social media is in constant crisis. It takes a staggering amount of effort to keep up to whatever is coming up next,” says Paul Polidori, a public affairs specialist and former communications director for the European Union.
Baker described how to network strategically to get in contact with the right people, using professional tools like LinkedIn to one’s advantage. By having a foot in the door, applicants have a better chance at an interview, Baker said.
Other panelists also stressed the importance of networking.
“Even being into my career for ten-plus years, I still am so excited to network … Networking isn’t necessarily networking for a new job. For me, it is learning what other people are doing in their roles so that I can share my learnings and they can share theirs,” St. John said.
Students can take advantage of the panel’s expertise at KC IABC’s annual Business Communicators Summit on February 23 at KU’s Edwards Campus. The summit will be a gathering of communicators and marketing professionals. It will be open to JCCC students, with an early bird registration cost of $37.50.
As students step into a fast-paced industry, panelists offered them advice on how to succeed: find ways to stand out.
“When there’s a hundred people that are applying for a job, you gotta find a way to separate yourself,” said Andrew Baker, senior communications manager at Evergy.
Yoshi Stout, volunteer reporter