By: Macy Jo Byerly, Vanessa Haro-Miracle, and Maggie Sutton
Three #bsuenglish students’ take on employer site visits
Macy: Our career center offers a few employer site visits every semester. I’ve gone on two so far—both were jobs that would not necessarily be something that I thought I could do with my English degree: Indianapolis Zoo and Greater Fort Wayne Inc., Ash Brokerage and Cyclone Social. So why did I sign up?
Who doesn’t love going to the zoo? And Fort Wayne is close to my hometown. But just because you don’t THINK a job site would work with your degree doesn’t mean it won’t! At every visit, you have a chance to ask questions. I always lead with I’m an English major and what experience I have, and they usually tell me where I could fit in–which isn’t always where you’d think it would be.
On the most recent visit to Fort Wayne, I went because I was interested in Cyclone Social, a social media marketing agency, which fits well with my skills and experiences.
Maggie: I signed up for the same site visit at the recommendation of my career coach, Eilis Wasserman. She was very excited that we were going to visit Cyclone Social, because it’s young and millennial focused, offering unlimited vacations and an open office plan structure.
I decided to do this to try to network with potential employers, and to feel like I was making some concrete steps toward preparing to find a job.
Vanessa: I heard of the site visit because my professor Cathy Day encouraged our whole class (Jacket Copy) to go. I looked into it and saw that was geared more towards marketing and business, which aren’t my real interests but decided, why not. They’ll give me a free lunch, a free ride to Fort Wayne on a fancy bus that has wifi, and an excused absence from all my classes that day.
Our first stop was Ash Brokerage, an insurance agency that shares a building with a chocolatier shop and a law firm. I thought speaking to the people of Ash Brokerage was going to be a real snooze, because how interesting can insurance be? But it was actually very informative. I learned a little bit about what Ash Brokerage does, and I also feel like I learned a few little secrets about the insurance world. The HR specialist even suggested I speak to him afterwards if I was interested in working with them.
I briefly fell in love with the idea of working in this beautiful building shared with DeBrand Fine Chocolates. I saw myself making over 30k a year working less than 40 hours, paying off my student loans, and living a wonderful life in Fort Wayne where they have a low cost of living and where I can have time to volunteer. But I’m not sure if I want to give up my dream of working for a nonprofit.
We then made our way to Cyclone Social, a newer social media marketing agency that works with other companies. The CEO met up with us and told us the company’s philosophy plastered on their wall: Be REMARKABLE or Be Ignored. He explained that he kept hearing from his companies that no one posts good reviews and he told them, that is simply not true. Customers LOVE to post about their positive reviews, about remarkable experiences, not the run-of-the-mill experiences they expect.
The CEO gave us some great advice. He suggested we take advantage of alumni and of our student email to just say hi to these companies, or do something different to gain their attention instead of simply submitting a resume. Be remarkable, not ordinary.
Macy: Although I came on the visit for Cyclone Social, I left with newfound interest in Ash Brokerage, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Don’t get me wrong, the site visit reaffirmed that Cyclone Social would be somewhere I would fit in–skills, culture, and atmosphere-wise–but it also opened my eyes to options I would have probably never even considered or known about.
I also realized that I could see myself living in a really cool city close to home–which I previously would not have even considered.
Maggie: What surprised me is how much I saw myself working at a place like Ash Brokerage.
The company is older and more traditional, but the creative services team was smaller, which I liked. This is the team with graphic design, printing, social media, copywriting, and digital marketing skills–abilities that many English majors have! Lunch and coffee are provided there every day, and the building is beautiful.
The visit showed me that almost every company is going to have a “creative team” that needs skills I have.
So why go on a job site visit with the career center?
- You are excused from class for a whole day.
- Free lunch!
- Free transportation — The bus also has wifi to catch up on homework (or Netflix) on the way there and back.
- Ask all of your questions, and get honest answers.
- Get really helpful career etiquette advice from potential employers.
- Find options you didn’t know were available.
- It allows you to picture yourself in the physical space of “a job,” and it’s no longer this abstract, intimidating place where you may work.
- You can see the inner workings of different businesses and professions.
Are you sad you missed out on this last site visit?
Don’t worry—there is another employer site visit next Tuesday, November 13th, actually geared towards us Humanities majors!
Indiana Humanities is a statewide nonprofit dedicated to promoting the public humanities. In short, Indiana Humanities encourages Hoosiers to think, read and talk by creating its own programs, such as Quantum Leap, Next Indiana Campfires, INconversation, Novel Conversations, Chew on This and more; by providing grants for humanities programs throughout the state; and by providing a space—physically and digitally—for people to connect and converse.
On this site visit, you will:
- Learn about internship opportunities.
- Network with professionals.
- Gain an understanding of how various fields make up the organization and how your career interests could fit.
- Gain insight from employees in leadership positions at the organization.
- Receive a tour of the facilities.
- Explore career paths, if you are undecided.
Register for November 13th’s Employer Site Visit to Indiana Humanities here.
Great article Macy, Vanessa and Maggie! Yes people can call me biased because I plan these trips, but they really are remarkable learning and networking experiences. Regardless of major, site visits are for all students. You do a wonderful job of articulating the value these trips can add to a student’s academic experience. Thank you!