From academics to extracurricular activities, college is a dynamic, amazing chapter in our lives. But what happens after we’ve crossed the graduation stage into the Real World? This week we will receive a glimpse into the life of Sierra Smith, a recent SSU graduate who is already dominating her career path. Her work ethic and beautiful soul make her a true inspiration to us all. Sierra has had a huge impact on my own life as my greatest support system, role model, and best friend.
Her Campus: Hi Sierra! Thanks for coming!
Sierra Smith: Thanks for having me!
HC: So you’re a recent alumni? When did you graduate?
SS: I graduated May 2016.
HC: And what did you study?
SS: Communications and media studies.
HC: That’s great! What are you doing now that you have that degree?
SS: I now work for a boutique public relations agency based in Santa Rosa called Nicole Osmer Healthcare Communications. Our clientele consists of medical technology companies mostly in the Bay Area.
HC: That’s so cool! So it’s like Grey’s Anatomy meets PR?
SS: Yes pretty much! Quite literally actually because one of our clients’ devices has been on an episode.
HC: That’s amazing! So what sort of work do you do in this position?
SS: I primarily do a lot of media monitoring for press releases that we issue out onto the medical trades that are online. I draft a lot of social media strategy documents and actual posts, as well as fact sheets. Right now I’m being trained for a lot of different things, but that’s the general overview. I have a very rare opportunity to learn firsthand from somebody who is extremely well known in her industry. Nicole Osmer is brilliant, literal life goals. I love my coworkers and the overall environment.
HC: That’s great to hear, it sounds very versatile.
SS: Thanks! Yes, it definitely is.
HC: What’s your favorite part about working in the medical technology side of the public relations industry?
SS: There is so much opportunity for me to experience what public relations is in this kind of industry because it’s very rare for there to be agencies focused on healthcare. The healthcare industry is about 10 years back in modern technology and marketing with modern media, so I have a lot of room to originally innovate ways to help market these companies in a way that they’ve never done before because healthcare is very limited in their ability to be able to market, especially social media marketing.
HC: It sounds like you’re gaining so much in the industry through your position. How did you find the job?
SS: I actually found it on Craigslist, I was not expecting to find the job and actually the position and the qualifications were the only things on the add, it didn’t say the company or industry or anything. It really felt like an authentic way to find a job because it wasn’t biased in any way, I just matched the qualifications and felt comfortable applying. Then when I learned more about the company and the work and how much I would learn and grow, it just felt right. The day that I applied, Nicole Osmer called me on her way home from work and we talked and she made me feel really comfortable. After that I had two additional phone interviews and two in person interviews before getting the verbal offer.
HC: In what ways do you feel like Sonoma State prepared you for the workforce, both in terms of academics and other activities?
SS: Well first of all, the communications major is absolutely incredible and very hands on in terms of giving students a very parallel experience of what it’s like to actually be in the field. I feel like my experience in the STAR newspaper and the connections that I’ve had with faculty have really given me the confidence and the resources that I needed to break into public relations. Also I had an internship that I got through the university that really helped me learn in an off-campus environment. And also being a part of a Greek organization shaped my social skills and gave me the ability to multitask, and learn to be a part of something greater than myself.
HC: I’m glad you had such a positive experience at SSU. What advice would you give to students preparing to enter the workforce?
SS: Take your core classes seriously. Utilize the notes and/or textbooks that you may still have because I’ve definitely referred to my intro to PR book for this job. And also maintain good relationships with your professors because networking and LinkedIn is a thing, and maintaining a good professional relationship with professors can really help you.
HC: Any last thoughts for our readers?
SS: When you’re looking for your first job just remember you’re not in a place where you can be picky. Take any job you feel like you can do. Even if it’s not exactly what you want to do, it can lead you to where you want to be, or even where you never thought you would be. Stay open minded and focus on what you’re good at.
HC: Beautiful! Thanks so much Sierra and best of luck to you in your future!
SS: Thanks Her Campus!
Interesting in keeping up with Sierra’s next career move? Follow her on Twitter @sierra_nicosmpr