As some Illini hit the beaches down south or binge-watch Netflix shows they missed while studying for midterms, I decided to do something different with my break.
In January, I saw that the College of Media was offering a spring break job shadow program. Currently a sophomore Advertising major, I thought it would be a great way to get ahead on my future job search and see what kind of companies I would want to work for as an intern and post-graduation. All I had to do was go to an informational meeting one afternoon in January. Then in February I went onto I-Link, a job board just for Illinois students, and I started to apply for the shadows.
What’s cool about the job shadow program is that Illinois grads are willing to host students for an afternoon or even a full day at the companies they work at. It made me want to do the same once I have a career in the advertising field, because it would remind me of where I came from.
I ended up getting job shadows at Starcom Mediavest Group, Groupon, and Scranton Gillette Communications.
Starcom is a media agency that helps brands decide where to put their ads, whether it’s Facebook or ESPN. Located in downtown Chicago, it was such a cool office space, and there were lots of young people working there. This would make for a fun time, meeting lots of cool, fun co-workers who share the same passions as you.
Groupon was my favorite job shadow. Groupon’s headquarters are also in Chicago. The office was huge, and tons of Illinois grads worked there who were willing to give advice to Illinois students like myself. They spoke highly of their time at Illinois and said they wouldn’t be where they are now without it.
Finally, for my third and final job shadow, I went to a Chicago-area communications agency called Scranton Gillette Communications. They help publish trade magazines for home builders, among other countless industries. The Illinois grads there loved their jobs and explained what business to business agency is like.
Job shadows are great because if you do like a company you shadow at, you’ll now have a contact in the company, making it easier to get a job there. These job shadows gave me a better sense of what I want to do post-graduation and taught me how far an advertising degree from Illinois can take me.