George Mason Alumni, CUM LAUDE BA Honors Communication with a concentration in PR and minor in Sport Communication
Hometown: Vienna, Virginia
Throughout our college careers we are told what we need to do to make ourselves more prepared and marketable for life after college. Whether it’s because of age, gender, differences in job markets, or sociological background, it seems like we are always getting this advice from someone that we cannot really relate to. George Mason Alumni and former student body Vice President Jacky Yoo, tries to fill that void for Mason students by sharing her journey from college to the “real world.” She not only exposes some challenges she faced as she got ready for graduation, but she also highlights a variety of programs, organizations, and resources that she took advantage of during her undergrad years. Jacky hopes that through sharing her story, that Mason students will become more aware of the opportunities provided on campus and use them to their advantage.
What did you do during college to gain experience for your field?
“I studied abroad to England for public relations, had an internship with a public relations agency, an internship with the Director of Communication for Mason’s Athletics Department, was the Assistant Director of Advertising for the Office of Student Media, had an internship with ESPN, worked a couple of government conferences with an events company, I was an officer for Lambda Pi Eta National Communications Honor Society and through that, had the opportunity to work and attend the National Communication Association’s National conference in New Orleans, did public relations and outreach work for Student Government, and I participated in Public Relation Student Society of America’s (PRSSA) informational sessions and opportunities.”
What other things were you involved with on campus before you graduated?
“I began getting involved the first semester of my freshman year and participated in Fall Rush for Pan-Hellenic Council. I joined a sorority then wanted to do more, so I joined International Justice Mission (IJM), Amnesty International, Students Helping Honduras, Patriot Leader, became an Resident Advisor, MasonLIFE, LEAD Team, LeaderShape, LeaderShape Student Leader, School Of Embodied Leadership (SOEL), Peer Advisor, Student Transition Empowerment Program (STEP) Mentor, Program Board, VA 21, Korean Student Association, Anointed Voices of Unity gospel choir, Rotaract club, completed my honors research project, and Student Government.”
What were some challenges you faced as it got closer to graduation. How was applying for jobs? What jobs did you apply for?
“I didn’t apply for grad school but if I were to go back to school, I would go to law school for something like entertainment or sports law. I applied for jobs ranging from entertainment public relations, sports public relations, marketing, advertising, sales, and event management positions. Applying for jobs is not something I don’t look forward to doing. Ask anyone and you’ll be lucky to find someone who enjoys putting themselves out to be judged solely off of a single-sided piece of paper. Although this may be true, when you finally land that job you’ve been eyeing, the feeling is worth all the work and stress in the end.
Is there anything you wish you would have done before you graduated to help you get a job after undergrad?
“I wish I had built stronger networks with people outside of Mason. While at school I focused so much on building networks and working with people on campus that I didn’t have as strong of a network in the corporate world where as at this point, it really counts for my . The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that 70% of people got their job through someone they know and let me tell you that through my experience, it’s more like 99%...”
What are you currently doing? Does it tie back to any networks you made in college during undergrad?
“I’m currently a Business Development and Marketing Fellow at Hill and Knowlton Strategies in the D.C. office. My good friend invited me to a public relations fair where we had to submit our resumes beforehand so the companies could select who they wanted to interview. I had an interview with the representative with Hill and Knowlton as well as interviews with multiple agencies, but unfortunately, they didn’t have positions open. A few months later, I received an email asking for a formal interview and was hired! Praise God for my friend for looking out!”
Do you think your involvement in undergrad helped you get your job? If so how?
“Definitely. Although I thought I didn’t have a ton of “real world” experience because of my heavy involvement on campus, I actually did. Through all the leadership positions I had, I was able to utilize and practice my mass communication and public relation skills to create and gain experience my own way.”
What advice do you have for current undergraduates at Mason whether or not they are communication majors or not?
“Definitely have drive and passion for what you want to do with your life. Jobs will come and go- do not be so picky to land the perfect job from jump. I think that’s something that held me back. Also, always do 100% even if something doesn’t have your name on it and of course… Don’t chase money. Be happy and do something you love and the money will follow.”
It is clear to see through Jacky’s story how drive and determination can lead to success. By taking the initiative to figure out what opportunities were available on Mason’s campus, Jacky was able to take her future into her own hands. Like Jacky, it is important that we all take advantage of these opportunities.