Essential Advice from GVSU Alumni

By: Griffin Platto

What better way to prepare for your future career than learning from people that were in your shoes a couple of years ago? This last week, Ad Club hosted a panel of GVSU alumni ready to give their two cents on how to get a job in the industry. A diverse roster of advertising professionals attended including Christine Melvin (Marketing Specialist/Graphic Design), Rachael Watson (Senior Communications Professional), Elizabeth LaPointe (Media Strategist), Madeline Schafer (Copywriter), and Dan Goubert (Copywriter) who shared their unique thoughts on how they got to where they are today.


Get Involved Outside of the Classroom

The alumni panel all said that Ad Club is a crucial piece to building an outstanding resume, and if you are already involved, you’re in the right place! If you aren’t, it’s not too late to sign up! They also suggested joining the National Student Advertising Competition, or NSAC— a group of GVSU students that create an ad campaign for a real-world client, and compete against other schools.
Finally, it was suggested to start applying to internships. Job experience is crucial to understanding the industry, and there’s no better way to familiarize yourself than an internship. They build a strong resume and the more you have, the merrier. All the alumni highly recommended starting a LinkedIn or a Handshake account to help find job opportunities.

Network, Network, Network

The graduates said they received their current position by simply, making connections with people. A common expression in the ad world is to say, “it’s who you know.” The majority of graduates got their job from networking with others, which goes to shows that it’s crucial to make connections. A common misconception is that you have to network with ad professionals to find a job, but your peers can help connect you with job opportunities as well.



Important Skills to Learn 

A skill you need to work on is being able to take criticism. You will be told “no” many times in your career. It’s best to start developing it. Keep in mind, if your ideas get shot down, it’s not personal!
Since advertising requires discussion with your co-workers, another skill you need to develop is working well with others. The foundation of any proper group is interdependence. Each person is vital to the executions of your plans. You must be willing to accept opposing opinions on a project, while also being able to contest their ideas respectfully.

Passion Projects 

Aside from joining Ad Club, the panel mentioned that it’s crucial to have “passion projects,” or activities outside of class that utilize your creativity. The alumni suggested creating YouTube channels, blogs, and podcasts. It shows employers creativity outside of a professional setting while also getting your mind in a project that you enjoy personally.


It’s important to note that the alumni were, at one point, nervous about their future careers too. It takes time to build your resume, so seize every opportunity to make your resume shine! We want to give a big thank you to the graduates for speaking at our event and giving valuable advice to our students. We will have a speaker at our next meeting on September 26— we hope to see you there!

Stay connected and follow us on our twitter @gvadclub, Facebook, and Instagram. 



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