Students Seek Career Advice from Top Communication Professionals

by Kendra Lathrop

Students Seek Career Advice from Top Communication Professionals
Some of the Industry Forum panelists

FAIRFAX, Va. -- Top professionals from the Washington D.C. area shared career advice with George Mason students seeking to break into the communications field. A one-on-one mentoring event offered students the opportunity to ask professionals individual questions at the annual Communication Industry Forum.

Students spent five minutes each in a speed-dating format with professionals representing different communication positions including public relations, journalism, and political communication. White House, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Inc., and Northrop Grumman representatives were among the prominent communication leaders in attendance.

Students expanded their network over an hour-long event with these established professionals. Tara Ruszkowski, a communications and public affair strategist, explained the importance of the speed mentoring event. Ruszkowski said, “We are in the relationship business. You develop a sort of brand.”

She continued, “You have to be willing to push those doors open. Go confidently, even if you don’t feel like it.”

Students asked professionals to reflect on their personal experiences and offer advice. Eddie Cook, a senior at George Mason, sought out advice on standing out in the career field. “The causal setting allowed me to make connections in a meaningful way.”

“I realized these largely successful communication professionals were once people that were in my shoes, looking for a job.”

Chairman of the Insight Committee at Mason and former CEO of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Tom Hoog, reassured students worried about entering the communications field. “It’s impossible to make a mistake before age 30. Between now and age 30, the world is your oyster.”