Lessons Learned from MTV

Disclaimer: The “lessons” referred to above are in no way related to Jersey Shore.

Today we met with three young Media Studies Alumni who graduated and found success at MTV Networks. Below are some of the great tips they passed on to the majors:

1. The cliché is true. It’s all about who you know. Use UVA alumni connections! Ask your professor who they know. You might be surprised. Each professional we spoke with today has benefited from past alumni connections. Getting your foot in the door is about luck and persistence.

2. Be aware of the 30-second impression. Sarah McKee of MTVN Kids (CLAS ’03) told students that interviewers will often decide whether they like or dislike you in that first impression window. Make the most of it! Be articulate, confident, and passionate.

3. Always follow up. It’s an art form. When you pass out a resume or make a new contact, always follow up with an email a few days later. Maintaining relationships is important. After meetings and internships stay in touch, even if it’s just a short email update. Make sure people remember you! This will make reference and recommendation gathering much easier.

4. Round out your resume with basic software knowledge: Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, and html. A helpful hint from recent alum Meghan Knoll: employers often keyword search your resume, so make sure that you include these software names in them. It might seem silly to add Microsoft Office Suite as a computer skill, but not doing so could cause your resume to be overlooked.

5. Do not be afraid of freelancing or interning – even after graduation. With this economy, you have to be willing to do anything. Unfortunately, that sometimes means dipping into savings or crashing on someone’s couch. Do what you can and take risks after graduation because you can afford to take these positions now. With unemployment, freelancers are so important and interns are given amazing projects. These positions can be great stepping stones.

6. Keep your Facebook page clean! Enough said. Your employer doesn’t care what you did over Spring Break.

7. In the end, people want to hire someone smart. Be prepared. Walk in to interviews knowing the network and company. If you can write well (apparently this is rare) and communicate effectively you are golden.

Attention students: make sure to check out the MTV Associates Program. Both Meghan Knoll (CLAS ’09) and Mark Serrano (CLAS ’02) were summer associates at MTV Networks and continue to work there! If you’re a 4th year interested in advertising, marketing, and television make sure to check it out. Applications are due THIS FRIDAY.

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