HOW I LANDED MY ON-CAMPUS DREAM JOB
You might know me from some of the YouTube videos I created for Northern Michigan University. This is my story on how I was able to combine my passion for creativity with resources available on campus to land my dream job as a college student.
I’ve produced videos such as an “NMU Dorm Tour,” “What It Means to ‘be Northern,” and “Day in the Life of a Wildcat”, which have been used in university-wide recruiting and admissions campaigns and have been seen by students, faculty and staff on campus and alumni all over the world (so cool!)
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Hi, my name is Josie Hodges, I am currently a sophomore, and this is my experience in becoming a student employee in the University Marketing and Communications (UMC) department. I came to Northern as a freshman majoring in Marketing and minoring in Spanish. I have since changed my major about five times and added a minor onto my course load. Currently, I am majoring in Public Relations with two minors in Spanish, and Art & Design. Throughout this persistent indecisiveness on my part, one thing has remained the same, my love for all things creative.
My creative journey began my freshman year of high school, in a class called Introduction to Videography. I spent a majority of middle school on YouTube and when I learned how to use different editing softwares in this videography class, I finally understood how some of my favorite creators were able to produce their content. Sophomore year I asked for a camera for Christmas and started working so I could afford a basic level editing program. The rest of my high school experience consisted of videography, photography, and Spanish classes; I even started my own photography business.
I brought my camera and microphone to college, hoping to continue my small photography business and capture some memories with new friends. On a walk to Subway one warm night in September, my new friend sent me a link to the University Marketing and Communications website. They were hosting a vlog (video blog) competition titled “A Day in the Life of a Wildcat.” I spent that night reading the rules of the competition; the video had to be five minutes or less and needed to cover some main points. I spent the next week developing a layout of what I wanted to film and more importantly how I could embody a true day in the life of a Northern student, when I hadn't been one for that long myself. In this vlog I went with friends to a coffee shop downtown Marquette, provided a room tour and a quick tour of the library and The Woods residence hall complex lobby, went to a thrift store, a pizza shop, played some flag football, went on a hike, and to a hockey game. The five-minute video was packed with well-edited, visually appealing video content that I was very proud of when I hit submit.
The video was due early November; I hit submit and put it out of my brain, for a while at least. After a month of not hearing back, I became pretty annoyed. For some reason I ended up checking my spam folder, and was shocked to see an email from UMC, “We are writing to inform you that you are the winner of our ‘Day in the Life of a Wildcat’ Vlog Competition! Let us know when works for you to come pick up your prize.” I apologized for my late response and set up a meeting.
The Cohodas building, across from the Northern Center, houses the University Marketing and Communications department and is where I went to pick up my prize. I met with the Social Media Manager, Carley Herro, who gushed about her appreciation for the vlog. I used this as an opportunity to muster up the confidence to ask if the office was hiring any creatives. Carley said she wasn’t sure, but made sure to mention she would let me know if anything changes. She did not disappoint, and eventually I was hired as a Social Media Assistant/Content Creator for UMC.
This position began early January, my primary role being to create content for our YouTube channel. My position has definitely changed over the past year with COVID and my employer supported me through struggles I have had professionally and personally. I did not initially realize the access that this job would give me to the student body and it has been wonderful to have been able to make some sort of impact on so many students! I love when students come up to me saying that they recognize me from my videos and that I helped them to feel more comfortable on campus. I am always open to conversation, so if you have any questions don’t hesitate to come up to me on campus or reach out through my Instagram.
TAKEAWAY: On a college campus made up of other competitive go-getters like yourself, it is important to constantly be on the lookout for opportunity. There are an infinite number of resources at Northern Michigan University designed to guarantee your success, but it is up to you as a student to actively search for them. My on-campus job was not handed to me, but because of the friendships and mentorships that I had built, I had the confidence to ask for what I wanted.
Keep an eye out on Handshake for on-campus job opportunities in the future. Make sure to attend career fairs and look for flyers that are posted throughout campus with time, date, and location. If my job interests you, make sure to stay connected with NMU on social media and remember that it never hurts to ask!