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Positive Job Outlook in TV, Government & Private Industries

March 1, 2010

During a recent panel discussion, SOC graduate students breathed a sigh of relief after hearing that there is growth in multiple industries including television, government and private.  As esteemed panel from NIH, Fleishman Hillard, National Geographic and Politico provided words on wisdom on what employers see as key skills for various positions.

Larry J. Thompson (AU Alum, SOC/MFA ’99), Chief of Communications & Public Liaison Branch, NIH

While there’s not a lot of turnover in the Federal Government, Larry Thompson remarked that people in the Federal Government are aging and opportunities are growing within the 27 institutions and centers of NIH.  Larry feels that there are more opportunities for graduates to join the government as long as they are able “to tell their story directly to the audience. Communications within the government involves consensus building around a process and group thinking so candidates should be able to demonstrate good people skills and be able to roll with the punches”.  More specifically, Larry remarked “be able to talk to people, and make your point.  Content is king, so if you can’t get in there and tell a story, don’t apply.”

Mary O’Connor LoJacono, Senior VP, Partner & COO at Fleishman-Hillard

Government work is out there, it’s just smaller and little more delicate to actually bring inside. But another reason they are doing that is because the government is hiring. They are definitely looking to bring in work that is inherently governmental. If the government can do it, then the government should do it so what can Fleishman bring is their international reach.” Fleishman had a few cutbacks last year however, Mary believes that 2010-2011 will involve upward trends.  In fact, the company has “up to 50 percent more job openings than they were posting in 2009.  They are growing internationally, especially in Asia and in the middle east with digital and video being very much part of that.”

Shannon Malone, Manager of Development at National Geographic

When the economic recession occurred, cable television was in a different position then broadcast television since revenues come from affiliates in addition to advertising revenue. However, “working at a network (and in many industries), you’re going to find that what was once three positions is one position so being flexible, being open, and being game in putting your best effort forward.”  And if you’re applying for a position with National Geographic, the last thing the interviewer wants to hear is that “you don’t watch television”. You may rest assured that the company is doing very well, especially since their philosophy involves identifying their core audience and programming, which gets them “solid repeat visitors”, along with driving ratings and advertising.  “So unlike some of the other areas National Geographic is doing very well.

Charlie Mahtesian (AU Alum, WCL/JD ’01) National Politics Editor at Politico

Charlie believes that the state of journalism is migrating to another platform and actually getting better in a lot of ways.  “It’s going to look different at some point, I would say a lot more fragment, be more partisan in nature or have a few hybrid forms, but it’s not going to die“.  Politico’s main platform is the web where breaking news can be sent immediately to their audience, so Charlie has the “if you build it, they will come mentality“.  In fact, he proudly stated “when you have the kind of approach that their organization brings to their audience, then the birth of similar news organizations are going to thrive“.  So, Charlie offered this advice for soon to be graduates “go to a place where you want to work at and show everybody your stuff.  Work from the bottom up.” Additionally, Politico is finding that many people are coming out of the best schools, with the best education and advanced training, that haven’t improved their writing skills.  Charlie further mentioned that “if you have that skill (writing) you should market it or hone it because it’s absolutely critical.”

Hear their comments directly through the Career Center’s YouTube videos.

1) Multiple Industries Hiring

2) Skills Employers Want

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