FOXTALK Winter 2014 - page 54

54 Winter 2014
One of the defining characteristics during
your college career is your major. You’ll
spend hours learning all about it, with
the end goal of working in that field after
graduation. But what happens when you
can’t seem to find a job related to the major
that’s listed on your degree?
I graduated from Marist in 2011 with a
Bachelor of Arts in Communications and
a concentration in public relations. Upon
graduating, I applied to every job under the
sun, focusing mainly on public relations and
marketing gigs—after all, that’s what I went
to school for. I didn’t have any connections
like many of my friends, so I scoured every
job site known to man, cold-called agencies
and even applied to jobs I was overqualified
for. After a couple of months with no luck,
I became discouraged and wondered if I
had made the wrong choice by choosing to
study PR.
Then in August I received a phone call
from a small online marketing agency about
a job I had applied to. The job was in a
field called “search engine optimization,”
also known as SEO. In short, SEO is the
practice of making a website become more
visible in search engine results. It’s crucial to
any company with a website and many of
the job duties are similar to those in public
relations and marketing. Although it wasn’t
specifically a PR gig and I had no clue what
SEO was, the position seemed very interest-
The skills required for the job were having
an excellent writing portfolio, a background
in marketing and PR and a knack for
everything web-related. Sure, I wouldn’t be
building media lists and organizing press
clippings like most entry-level PR majors
were, but I would be using a similar skill
set I learned from my Marist courses and
internships. Working
in a new field was both
exciting and challeng-
ing, which was just
what I was looking for
I spent almost two years at that first job
as a SEO copywriter and online market-
ing specialist and have now found what I
believe to be my future career path. Since
then, I have moved on to a larger company
where I work as a SEO analyst. My daily du-
ties include creating and executing a content
strategy for our clients, helping to manage
our social media efforts and connecting
with the public/media—all of which are
similar to, and work hand-in-hand with,
those working in PR.
I’m a firm believer that the courses I
took, internships I completed and lessons
I learned in my PR classes (thanks Tim
Massie for stressing the importance of
social media!) helped me to excel in the field
I’m in now.
For current Marist students or recent grads,
I have some words of advice for you. You
leave college with so much more than a
degree with your major on it, and it’s impor-
tant to focus on that during your job search.
You are not tied down to work in one
specific field and you most certainly are not
a failure if your career path doesn’t match
that which you went to school for. Spend
time researching different career options,
intern at a variety of settings and learn to
embrace failure. As cheesy as it sounds,
eventually you will find your true calling.
From PR to SEO //
A Marist alum proves that your major does not matter as
much as you’d think.
Rachel Maleady is currently working in
search engine optimization in the higher
education field. In her spare time she is a
freelance writer and runs a lifestyle blog.
By Rachael Maleady, ’11
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