Lights. Camera. Action.
This is what the job market has felt like for two alumnae of the College of Media & Communication, Christy Gutierrez and Felicia Garcia, who are pursuing jobs in New York and other major metropolitan areas.
“I’ve kind of gotten this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m just very very blessed,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez’s TV stint came after two internships in El Paso, Texas, her hometown. The first involved video production with a nonprofit group called Latinitas. During her internship, Gutierrez said, she taught young girls how to produce commercials and short videos. In her second internship, with her church, Abundant Living Faith Center, Gutierrez went on shoots, recorded promotios for upcoming conferences and edited video.
She said she did not feel prepared for the job market at first.
“Graduating, I felt a little nervous because there’s people that go to school for the same thing that I do, and they have a lot more classes available that they can take to really help them creatively,” she said.
As part of the “Job or No Job” casting process, Gutierrez had to send a one-paragraph synopsis about her career goals. She then went through several rounds of interviews and even had to be evaluated by a psychiatrist.
“They told me it was between me and one other person, and finally it was like, ‘You got it!’” she said. “It’s very eye-opening to see that I do have a lot of people that I’m up against, and it’s a dog-eat-dog world.”
After being selected, she said, she had to prepare and study for interviews with three advertising agencies in New York City. The episode of “Job or No Job” featuring Gutierrez is the season finale, scheduled for Oct. 1. Because it has not aired yet, she could not say whether she got a job or not.
Gutierrez said she could not stress enough the importance of networking. This is how she got the chance to be on the show.
It was Felicia Garcia, Gutierrez’s friend and colleague, who originally received the casting call email form “Job or No Job” while interning in Los Angeles. She forwarded it to Gutierrez.
Garcia is another former advertising major, who earned her master’s degree from COMC in August after finishing her undergraduate studies in May 2014. Her first internship was with a local agency in Lubbock, Griffin Wink, where she said she had the advantage of being “like a fly on the wall” and observing how an agency operates.
The next summer, Garcia said, she had an internship with a radio station, where she was the social media intern. This was a more specilized position in which she learned about programming, monitoring traffic and blogging. The same summer, she freelanced as a content producer for a digital startup that runs websites for various companies.
“I got to learn a lot like, for example one … client was a chiropractor, and I know nothing about posture or bones,” Garcia said. “That was interesting.”
“That was different because it was LA; it’s just different,” Garcia said. “The caliber of work was insane, and the people you work with are crazy, so I think I kind of had a taste of everything.”
She has high hopes for her future and said she’s been applying through the same program to several other agencies in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco.
After going to New York over the summer for an informational interview, Garcia is now in the process of completing another interview round with the same agency. She has also interviewed with The Ad Council and with a recruiter from San Francisco.
The job market is a scary world, Garcia said, and it makes her nervous because she is competing with people who may be more qualified.
“You’re speaking to people who don’t necessarily care that you have a degree from a certain place,” she said. “They just care about the worker that you are, or the kind of person that you are, so it’s a really tough pill to swallow.”
But her advice for soon-to-graduate Tech students is to be brave.
“Don’t be intimidated,” Garcia said. “Don’t compare yourself to others. If you put yourself out there, the rest will come.”
Aleesa Ross, director of the Center for Student Success, Outreach & Engagement in the College of Media & Communication, said she and her colleagues hear about former students’ work successes all the time.
“It is really exciting to learn about how they put their experiences at Tech to use as communications professionals,” Ross said.
Her advice to seniors: Start researching jobs, companies and markets during the semester before graduation, and start applying about two to two and a half months before graduation. Tailoring materials to a specific company and position is key.
“I know that can be hard to do while juggling a full load of classes, working, interning, and job searching, but it is really helpful for students to not wait until the last minute,” Ross said.
She also advises students to cast a wide net.
Added Ross: “That means apply, apply, apply to positions you are qualified for and interested in, instead of limiting yourself.”