RU’s Communication Week enlightens students

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This past week the School of Communication held Communication Week for its students with a series of two speakers a day, along with chances to meet and greet with the speakers.

I had the pleasure of attending three of them. The first speaker was Fred Henney, a ’76 grad, who now works for the Office of Secretary of Defense, which is in charge of Policy and Strategic Communication. The second was “How to Ace the Interview,” a panel of local professionals co-sponsored by Ad2 and the RU Ad Club. Lastly, I watched a panel of advertising, public relations and communication studies alumni.

Henney was one of the 32 men in the first graduating co-ed class at RU. He started his speech by saying, “No good career is in a straight line,” where he then dedicated most of his time to talking about the experiences he had in the Navy and how he got to his current position.

Right out of college he got a job a cars salesman but it was short lived after applying to an advertisement in the newspaper for a management opportunity. Turns out, that position was for the Navy.

During his time in the Navy he traveled to Japan, where he ate enough sushi to last him the rest of this lifetime. He experienced quite a few communication crisis situations where he had to resolve the issue and stressed that being honest was the most important factor.

To wrap up his speech, he said that word of mouth is the best form of advertising and that it is most important to always maintain a good image for any organization.

“How to Ace the Interview” was my second favorite because the panelists were sharing their stories of horrid interviewees they had experienced. They also had a live tweet going on for students to ask questions, which I thought was pretty clever.

One story was about a girl that had an outstanding résumé but showed up at the office wearing a mini skirt, a top that exposed her midriff, and a jean jacket. My jaw dropped. Clearly this is not what you wear to an interview and I will just leave it at that.

After the presentation I got the chance to interview some of the professionals, one of them being Courtney Bremmer, who is the Director of Human Resources for Modea. I asked her if they hired any RU graduates and her opinions about them. She had nothing but positive things to say about the characteristics of these graduates.

“I love that RU students are required to have an internship, so they are getting out with experience, and typically their references are professors who actually give a great reference,” Bremmer said.

Virginia Tech students who use professors as a reference often don’t have as many things to say because it is harder to form a relationship being at a bigger school.

To wrap up Communication Week, the most important points I gathered from all the speakers to be successful were to get an internship, as it is such a crucial step in getting a job. Then get involved somehow, even if it’s as menial as an intramural sport. You are still learning to interact in a group. Finally, be transparent and authentic. No one is more you than you.