Emily Jackson Heinkel graduated from Troy with a degree in multimedia journalism in December 2014 and recently landed a job as a content specialist, handling digital marketing, social media and blogging for a company in Athens.
“Basically, preparing for the job market begins the moment you enter college,” Heinkel said.
“I wanted to get skills that I could use in the long term, but it’s kind of backwards because I want to be a missionary abroad. That’s my long-term goal. But right now it’s the best that I get into the job market and make some money, pay off my loans, provide for my family.
“Long term, I want to be able to communicate through a blog and email campaigns so that when I’m a missionary, people can support my mission.”
“One thing that was important for me was having the knowledge and skill to go with it,” Heinkel said. “I feel like I’m a better communicator than I am a journalist, but I went with journalism so I would know how to write, and that’s a tangible skill that I would have to offset other communication skills I have.”
Heinkel went on to explain the benefits she sees in expanding one’s set of skills.
“So I would offset psychology with a business or Spanish degree. That’s what will really set you apart in any kind of business — if you have both an expertise and a skill to go with it.”
Though Heinkel had a plan that she was working to turn into reality upon graduation, the job hunting process was not as simple. After graduating, it took over three months for her to get a job.
“I went on six interviews,” she said. “I was very frustrated throughout the process. It was hard to know. I even turned a lot of things down because they weren’t the salary range I wanted and they weren’t really what I wanted to do.”
In January, Heinkel was offered a marketing position at a company. Not feeling right about it, she walked away from the offer, but said she experienced some regret as her hunt continued. However, she said she’s “done a lot of unnecessary worrying.”
Two interviews and several weeks later, she was offered the position she currently holds.
“I landed this job, and it’s more flexible,” she said. “I’m working at home a lot, and I’m making double and doing exactly what I wanted to do.”
“It’s really important not to settle, and it’s really important to do your research,” Heinkel advised. “People will take advantage of you if you don’t know what that position is supposed to make.”
Heinkel mentioned the importance of networking during the job search.
She said that at the beginning of her search, she sent out an email to about 10 consulting companies in Huntsville about recently graduating and attached her resume.
One of these emails helped her get her current position.
“One thing that was really important for me is I basically made myself a position at their company
because I knew they needed something that I have,” she said.
“I’m the expert in social media marketing, and they didn’t have that.
“That’s really important: if you want to be at a company and be the one they can’t let go of at the end of the day, you have to have something that they don’t have.”