By Julia Corrigan and Lauren Lavelle
For many students, the question of what will happen after they get their degree is a mystery, but it doesn’t have to be, according to Scott Alboum, video technologies coordinator and adviser for the campus television station, Rider University Network (R.U.N.)
Networking and staying involved on campus are some of the best decisions students can make while at Rider, according to Alboum. Several recent graduates who worked at R.U.N. were offered full-time jobs at television stations across the country in part because of the connections they made.
“I think networking is the most important thing students can do,” Alboum said. “It can start very simply and this is what I tell everyone. ‘You’re a freshman at Rider and you can get involved in any of our student organizations.
“‘There are three levels of people above you who are doing things like internships and working in the real world. Get to know those people because they’re the beginning of your professional network. Three years from now, maybe they will be hiring people or moving from their entry-level job. Then they will be looking for someone to take their place.’”
Alboum wants students to network not only with those in their school organizations, but also with everyone they intern with. Once they land an internship, checking in with these people occasionally could make a big difference in the course of a career.
Daisy Rivadeneira, ’14, landed a job at ESPN as a production assistant. Her job keeps her “on her toes” and allows her to perform a variety of tasks.
“One day I could be producing game highlights, and the next day I could be out assisting in filming quick segments,” said Rivadeneira. “Landing my job at ESPN required a lot of work during my time at Rider. I believe the experience I got with R.U.N. and the internships I had played a huge role. It was important to me to become as well-rounded as possible so my chances of getting a job would increase.”
Other recent graduates like Tina Cherillo, ’15, and Maddie Smith, ’15, were able to get jobs at Nickelodeon after interning with the company.
“I kept in contact with everyone I knew and worked with at Nick and even my professors at Rider, too,” said Cherillo. “One day over the summer, Michele Graczyk, a Rider alum who works at Nick, messaged me on Facebook asking if I was interested in a job opening in the movie promo department, and I jumped at it.”
Through her internship, Cherillo got the experience she needed to handle a full-time position.
“Internships are definitely the best way to branch out and make more connections,” said Cherillo. “Get to know as many people as you can.”
Smith, who works as department assistant for Nickelodeon production management, was able to get her position from connections she made her freshman year at Rider.
“When I was in school, I had three internships at Viacom, one in the Nickelodeon Broadcast Operations department, one in Logo TV Programming and Platform Strategy, and one in Comedy Central Production,” said Smith. “I found the department assistant position on the Viacom website. I had spent all summer sending out applications and rarely hearing back from the companies, so I decided to reach out to someone in Human Resources who spoke at the National Broadcasting Society convention that I attended my freshman year. She connected me with a recruiter, who had me in for an interview right away.”
The communication industry is much smaller than most people think, according to Alboum.
“It’s not about the first job, it’s about four or five jobs from now where you might end up working with someone you worked with before,” he said. “New York is a big place, but in the scheme of things, the radio/television/film industry is a small world.”
Some of the recent graduates in the field, like Smith, agree with Alboum’s advice.
“The day of the interview at Viacom, I was able to meet with two of the three vice presidents I would be supporting, and funny enough, one of them was from Broadcast Operations, so we already knew each other from my internship with his department,” Smith said. “This is probably what gave me an edge over the other applicants.”
Alboum feels students will be more successful when it comes to getting a job by taking a risk like traveling to the city for internships, making connections, and staying involved on campus.