Perspectives on the Communications Careers from Villanova Alumni

Caitlyn Foley

On Tuesday, Nov. 30, Lambda Pi Eta hosted a Communications Career Panel that was open to all Communication students via Zoom. The panel was made up of Villanova alumnae Tiffany Daggett, Julia Light and Katarina Mayers. These women discussed their career experiences because the best way for students to really understand what their choice in a major, minor, or specialization can do for them in the professional world is to learn from the stories of others.

Daggett assumed that she was going on the pre-law track but ended up falling in love with her Communication courses. She emphasized that college is the place where one should discover what they do and do not like. When someone knows what they are passionate about, it becomes easier to make informed decisions about what types of internships and jobs to apply for. 

Light was originally an Accounting major until she decided this was not the career path for her. She switched her major to Management and graduated having no idea what she wanted to do. After college, Light worked for multiple media companies around New York City. Today, she works for a marketing company and emphasizes the importance of college students not pressuring themselves to figure out their career path. 

Students in Communication should understand that most of the work they are doing has the purpose of increasing the number of refined skills you have. It is important to remain open to other things and focus on the skills you are obtaining rather than the titles of your major or specialization. Mayers was set on being a journalist, and all her internships involved work in the journalism field. When she went abroad to do a year of service in Chile after graduating from the University, her perspective shifted. She realized that her ability to write well and write under a deadline did not just apply to the journalism field. Mayers ended up working for the government in crisis communications and public affairs, and recently just left working directly for the government to work for Rock the Vote in LA. 

When asked what the number one skill that each woman learned while at Villanova, Daggett responded with the invaluable skill of writing well. Her PR writing courses helped her gain the skills necessary to act and react in real life experiences. Communication is not learned through books, but rather while participating in internships and absorbing information from mentors. Internships can have an invaluable impact on deciding what career to pursue. 

Light and Mayers talked about the importance of group projects and how those experiences have helped them in the professional world. Light was not a Communication major, so she did not have the opportunity to take the writing classes that Daggett found so valuable. The benefits of being a business major included public speaking and presentation skills that she learned in the business school. In any group presentation, each student played on the others’ strengths. Mayers agrees that by leaning into those group projects, you can discover your role in a team: are you project managing? Are you the editor or the last eyes on the document? By noticing one’s role, a person can gain a new perspective on where their career path might take them and highlight their best skills.  

Each panelist also talked about the significance of networking and professionally connecting with potential employers. All three women agreed that after an interview, each interviewee needs to follow up almost immediately in the form of a personalized email. The connections made with an employer are key to standing out as an applicant. The follow up email can be made personal by adding details that came up during the interview process. 

One tip for before going into an interview was to already have at least three talking points and three questions based on LinkedIn and other outside research about the employer and their company. These employers can also tell whether someone has prepared for an interview. Asking thoughtful questions and making the employer feel good about the conversation can help foster healthy professional relationships. After the interview, following up helps build relationships. Be aggressive, but also smart and thoughtful about networking. Do not hesitate to reach out if a connection with someone interests you. Communication is an all-encompassing world, but it is also a small and interconnected one. 

These women had a lot of thoughtful and helpful advice. Students considering or pursuing a Communication major should understand the importance of networking and the skills they obtain while at the University.