Dream Job

I recently traveled to San Francisco for a conference and was able to make time to visit iMedia alumnus, Nick Margherita. Nick is video producer at CBS Interactive creating video content for the gaming-focused website GameSpot.  http://www.gamespot.com

Nick, joyfully, told me all about his job, how he landed it, and its correlation to his Interactive Media Master’s degree from Elon.

“As a video producer, I primarily write and edit entertainment content for GameSpot.com and GameSpot’s multiple social media outlets. These videos include things like gameplay clips, op/ed features, and extensive reviews. Aside from writing and editing, I also host live streams and roundtable chats discussing the latest video games and television shows.

“When I was preparing to graduate from iMedia, my dream was to work at ESPN. I felt that this combination of video production and sports would fulfill both my personal interests and professional aspirations. So with the help of Elon’s vast communications network I was able to get my foot in the door at ESPN as a production assistant. But within my first month at ESPN, I realized that live television production is vastly different from the videos we were producing in iMedia. I often felt that my creativity was being limited, and although it was an extremely hard decision to make, I decided to leave the company and television production in general.

“When I made the decision to move to San Francisco, I did not have a job but what I did have was the confidence in my iMedia master’s education and degree.

“Still, landing a job in SF was not as easy as I’d expected. I spent about three months couch-hopping around the city freelance editing for various tech start-ups. After struggling to find consistent freelance opportunities, I decided to join a creative agency to offer my skills to a more widespread clientele. Fortunately, when the agency learned that I had earned my master’s degree in Interactive Media and was well-versed in multiple skill sets aside from just video production, my resume rose to the top of their list. Within a few weeks I’d received an offer to be a full-time video producer at CBS Interactive.

The people I work with are by far the best part of my job. It’s a group of creative individuals who are super passionate about games, television and movies both in and outside of work. I can confidently say that I am excited to get up each and every morning to work with some of the gaming industry’s most respected and brightest writers and producers. And obviously having the opportunity to create content that I am interested in is a major plus and makes work feel a little less like work.”

Nick’s advice for people considering iMedia,

“Whether you are a recent college graduate or an experienced professional, if you are unsure of what career path you are passionate about and communications and media interest you, then iMedia is the perfect solution. When my undergraduate education came to a close I was still unsure of what exactly I wanted to pursue within the realm of communications. iMedia not only guided me in my journey to discover my interest in video but it also gave me the tangible skills necessary to succeed in the professional production world. Both the program itself and its faculty and staff changed my life in an incredible way, and I owe much of my success to iMedia.”

And naturally, words of advice to our current class,

“It sounds cliché, but don’t be afraid to fail or make mistakes; everything happens for a reason. When I first left ESPN, moved to San Francisco, and was jobless for three months, I thought I’d made the biggest mistake of my life. But now, nearly a year later, I couldn’t be happier with my past decisions. I honestly feel that I am a stronger individual because of the lessons I learned from those “mistakes.” The real world can be overwhelming sometimes and not go the way you plan. But if you work hard, focus on your goals, and have a positive attitude, then you can land your dream job. Or maybe even discover your dream like I did.

“In short, cherish your time at Elon with your classmates and professors, as I miss the campus and its people everyday! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences, and best of luck to both current and future iMedia students!”

Information about CBS Interactive: CBS Interactive is made up of multiple online brands that include: CBS News, CNET, CBS Sports, GameSpot, Giant Bomb, Metacritic, Last.fm, etc. GameSpot provides news, reviews, and other information on video games, entertainment, and other fun aspects of “geek” culture. 

 

Thanks Nick….

 

 

Demand for iMedia Skills Continues to Grow

You’ve probably started to notice the shift. #iMedia17 has shared details about projects, offered insight about class assignments, and now, students are preparing for the end of their 10-month graduate school journeys. With just a little more than two months left before graduation, the job search is on and the pace for life after iMedia will be soon be set for these budding professionals.

And there’s a lot to look forward to. A quick internet search sheds light on how much digital and creative skills are in demand in a wide range of industries. Look further and you’ll learn more about the benefits of working in digital careers, key skills needed and the most sought-after job titles.

With help from CNNMoney and Payscale, let’s take a peek at a few iMedia-friendly positions and the job outlook of each. In the Best Jobs in American 2017 list, these sources highlight the “top 100 careers with big growth, great pay and satisfying work.” Here are 10 jobs from the list that are popular among iMedia graduates.

               JOB  MEDIAN PAY 10-YEAR JOB GROWTH
#1 – Mobile Applications Developer $97,100 19%
#14 – Webmaster $61,200 27%
#26 – Community Relations Manager $63,600 10%
#30 – Brand Manager $89,800 9%
#42 – Social Media Manager  $57,400 9%
#47 – Front End Developer/Engineer $81,000 27%
#56 – Videographer $49,600 12%
#57 – User Interface Designer $73,800  27%
#68 – Content Strategist $84,400 19%
#99 – User Experience Designer $85,900 13%

Visit CNNMoney for the complete list. For more about the Elon M.A. in Interactive Media program, visit elon.edu/imedia.

 

A Measure of iMedia Alumni Success

Deciding whether or not to go to graduate school can be a daunting task.

Your finances, the need to relocate, discipline and academic stamina are important factors that you may be wrestling with. Just as critical is considering the post-graduate career prospects for the program you’re considering.

erin_turner

Interactive Media graduate Erin Turner ’15 G’16 works as assistant social media editor at Essence Magazine. 

Lucky for you, if you’re looking to earn a M.A. in Interactive Media from Elon, you’ll have a chance to join an impressive list of alumni with exciting careers in both the public and private sectors, throughout the country and abroad.

Since the iMedia program launched in 2009, there have been 257 graduates. Of those graduates, 97 percent are currently employed for such companies as Amazon Web Services, Razorfish, ESPN, Essence Magazine, Automattic, NASCAR, CBS Interactive, Dribble, the Smithsonian, Microsoft, IBM, and the Dallas Morning News – just to name a few.

Among dozens of job titles, iMedia alumni serve as web developers, UX designers, digital strategists, multimedia producers, social media managers and many other highly-skilled roles. Furthermore, these careers most often boast competitive salaries and advancement opportunities.

But these are just a few details about the success of iMedia graduates.

david_kennedy

Employed at Automattic, Interactive Media graduate David Kennedy G’10 develops WordPress themes under the title “theminator.”

If you’ve been thinking about applying to Elon’s Interactive Media program, but can’t make it to a campus visit, join us for our first virtual information session at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 30, via WebEx.

Click here to register for the event.

We’ll be sharing details about this innovative and accelerated, 10-month master’s degree program, including courses, admissions requirements, alumni success and more. We’ll also introduce you one of our professors, who will offer insight into students’ hands-on experiences in classes, work with real-world clients and the program’s state-of-the-art facilities.

For those who attend this virtual information session, we’ll waive the $50 application fee when you apply.

For more information about the iMedia program or admissions questions, please call me, Tarah Holland, at 336-278-7683 or email tholland@elon.edu.

Time To Brag About It

By: Amber McCraw, Assistant Director of Career Services, School of Communications

At this point, our iMedia students are several months into a 10-month intensive program.  And, while it feels like they just started, it is already time to start thinking about life after iMedia – I know, hard to believe right?

You’ve been reading posts about all of the great things the students are learning, the skills they are gaining, and the experiences they have been and will be privy to. A couple weeks ago, there was a post about the draft for Fly-ins.  Along with all of the other experiences the students are gaining, this is an incredible and unique opportunity for students to participate in and expand on their skills.

While our students are gaining these experiences, it is important for them to remember that now is the time to start bragging about them.  What I mean is this: these are the experiences and skills that they should be promoting on a resume, their LinkedIn, and their website/ePortfolio. I want to focus on the ePortfolio because this is the most time-consuming piece. Often times, I will recommend a student use a platform such as Weebly, Wix, or WordPress to create their ePortfolio, but our iMedia students are learning to code, so they have the skills to create their own, which is a little more time-consuming. Below are some tips to keep in mind when creating an ePortfolio.

  • Choose a website name
  • Each section should be its own page (Resume, Contact, About Me) and I recommend labeling pages based on skill (i.e. Writing, Design, Photography, etc)
  • Build a site map to organize your content
  • Get prior approval for client work
  • Provide context for the work you include
  • Make sure your ePortfolio promotes your career goals and matches your profession
  • Choose your best work that aligns with the skills you want to promote
  • Keep it simple and easy to navigate
  • Embed videos to keep visitors from having to navigate away from your page
  • Let your personality shine through

In today’s market, employers expect candidates to have ePortfolios.  While a resume can tell an employer what you can do, an ePortfolio shows them what you can do.  For our students, who are creating so many visual pieces, this is pertinent for their job search.  It also provides a way for people to contact them for freelance or contract work as well.

If you haven’t started creating your ePortfolio, no worries! You’ve got plenty of time.  Start thinking about the things you want to include, such as your Capstone project and work from your Fly-ins.  Then, make an appointment with me to get feedback and advice as you start creating your tool kit (ePortfolio, Resume, Cover Letter, LinkedIn).

Happy Learning & Creating!

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

by maggie mullikin

Jenna Wagner, a 2011 Interactive Media graduate returned to Elon to speak with the new class – the class of 2017. Jenna was a wealth of information regarding her personal experiences as an iMedia student, the career path she has been on since graduating, and her detailed explanation of specific roles she has taken on with her new job. Jenna is currently the Public Relations & Marketing Director for the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation.

Upon graduation from JMU, Jenna attended Elon University’s Interactive Media Master’s program in Elon, NC. Focusing on further honing her skills and determining her career path. With guidance from her mentors, she landed in Charlotte, NC pursuing a career in motorsports, one of her greatest passions. After working in the industry as a graphic designer, project manager and digital marketer, Jenna returned home to Virginia to learn more about non-profit, government and ultimately develop her home region of Southwest Virginia. https://www.myswva.org/

Jenna spends her days on relationship marketing and promoting Southwest Virginia as a tourism destination. This includes graphic design, social media marketing, website development and event management.

After Jenna spoke about her present title she then listed, “what else I do.”

Marketing strategy | Social media strategy & execution | Focus groups | Relationship building and marketing | Website development | Content generation (photos, videos, etc.) | Graphic design | Budgeting | Grant writing | Storytelling | Asset Management | Event management & promotion | Merchandise | Database management |

Jenna’s enthusiasm was contagious. Her advice and reflections could not have been more clear. The hard work today will pay off tomorrow.

 

 

Meet Our #iMedia17 Bloggers

It’s nearly a month into the fall semester and students in Elon’s eighth Interactive Media class are well on their way to discovering all the program has to offer. And just as in previous years, they want to share their details about their journey with you here on the Eye on iMedia blog.

As you can imagine, the 10 months in iMedia go fast and a lot can (and does) happens. From alumni visits and class projects to winter flyins and career exploration, the year will be full of amazing experiences and we look forward to bringing conversations about those things to the blog. In case you’re wondering which students you’ll be hearing from, check out the bios below – but don’t be surprised if a few other post from time to time.

aanderson

Ashley Anderson

mbrown

Marquita Brown

kcarpenter

Katie Carpenter

gmerrill

Ginny Merrill

bpandone

Beth Pandone

krivera

Kristen Rivera

 

 

 

For more information about this year’s bloggers and the entire #iMedia17 class, visit the “Meet the Class” page.

Along with the students’ reflections, you’ll read posts from staff. Maggie Mullikin, Coordinator of Graduate Outreach & Special Programs, will discuss happenings and careers with iMedia alumni; Amber McCraw, Assistant Director of Career Services, Communications, will discuss career development; and Tarah Holland, Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions (that’s me), will discuss a variety of topics related to iMedia admissions. We may also have a few guests posts additional staff throughout the year.

Please subscribe to the Eye on iMedia blog to stay up to date on #iMedia17 this year.

For more about the iMedia program, visit elon.edu/imedia.

Learning from those who came before us

Today, two of our capstone classes had the pleasure of hearing from former alum, Brenna Mickey ‘14 who now works as an Interaction Designer with Centerline Digital of Raleigh, NC. Centerline started as a small production company focusing on video production, animation and motion graphics. Today, they house nearly 150 employees and focus on content marketing for Fortune 500 companies around the world.

During the presentation, students were given the chance to pick Brenna’s brain about her time in iMedia and how to handle the next three months as we approach graduation. She had a lot of great advice for putting yourself out there and finding the job that is best for you, but summed it up in these five things to consider when looking for a job:

Show your hybrid-ness

  • Building connection points across disciplines makes you more valuable
  • Shows you are open for new ideas, opinions and perspectives
  • A well-rounded “specialist” is hard to find!

Save your process documents

  • They could serve as jumping off points for other projects
  • Reference your “thinking-out-loud” artifacts during interviews (e.g. wireframes, storyboards, sketches)

About those portfolios

  • Speak directly to the work that you did
  • Clearly document or explain the overall business value of the creative work
  • Link to process documents
  • Nix inflated language, like “guru, expert, moguel, rockstar”

Be open-minded to the possibilities

  • Freelance vs. agency vs. teaching vs. professional services
  • There’s more out there than you think.
  • Nothing is permanent!
  • Focus on job descriptions, not titles
  • Same title means different things to different companies

You know more than you realize

  • Confidence! (But not arrogance, you guru, you.)
  • Knowledge gaps exist everywhere: just because you understand something doesn’t mean someone else will

We’re lucky to have so many talented iMedia graduates out there who are willing to help our current students grow. However, no matter the industry, these points can be helpful to anyone looking for a job. So, take note and put yourself out there. Something amazing is sure to come along.