Young Alum Profile: Sara Davis ’12 Enters PR World Through Dream Fellowship

Sara Davis ’12 recently began a position as a Fellow with LEVICK, a Washington, DC-based communications firm.  She began her career as a Recruiting Analyst with Aon Hewitt in Charlotte in May 2012 and talked to us about how she landed her first dream job less than a year later.

 CCD: Congrats on the new position! How did you make the move from HR to PR?

SD: Upon deciding that I really wanted to make the transition from Human Resources into Public Relations/Marketing, I realized I would need to learn a lot more about these industries. I spent the first few months of 2013 using AlendaLinks and LinkedIn to connect with Davidson alumni, all of whom were extremely receptive to helping me out by chatting on the phone, sharing their advice and experience in these industries, and even revising my resume. I can’t say enough about the incredibly helpful and kind Davidson alumni network. My job search was specifically focused on Washington, DC and the Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations industries.

Through a mutual LinkedIn connection (and Davidson alum), I was able to connect with a Senior VP at LEVICK.  We were able to chat about the company, DC, and public relations in general. I was definitely interested in the firm after speaking with her and having scoped out their company website. I applied for their Fellowship position the next day, and interviewed and received an offer for the position as a Spring 2013 Fellow in May.

CCD: How has the experience gone so far?

SD: I have absolutely loved my first month here at LEVICK. The program itself has been heralded as perhaps the best (and most intense) introduction to Public Relations in DC. I’m in a class of four Fellows, all of whom are 2011 – 2013 college graduates eager to delve into the PR industry. We have three great supervisors who monitor our workload, give us advice, and schedule weekly Lunch & Learns for us to ask questions and learn more about PR. Additionally, given that this is a mid-size firm of about 50 employees, I’m able to work directly with all employees ranging from Account Coordinators to Senior Vice Presidents, which has been a thrilling experience. No workday is ever predictable here. As a Fellow, I can be tasked with anything that needs completing, which is great for getting a holistic view of the PR world.

CCD:  What are your responsibilities as a Fellow?

SD:  My general responsibilities include pitching media stories to reporters to give LEVICK executives and clients an opportunity to comment in top-tier news outlets, conducting and presenting research, reporting social media metrics, summarizing and analyzing the day’s media  for clients, developing new business ideas, and providing administrative support to all LEVICK employees.

The program is highly selective, paid, and for college graduates only. Fellows are hired seasonally.  LEVICK’s Fellowship program has a proven record of training its Fellows so quickly and comprehensively that they have no trouble finding positions at any premier PR firm following the Fellowship, if not a position at LEVICK itself.

In sum, it’s a fast-paced introduction to life in a highly-successful, full-service communications firm that covers many areas including crisis, strategic communications, public affairs, finance, and digital communications.  I’ve loved how open and encouraging everyone at LEVICK has been, and hope that this will be the start to a great career!  I spent 5 long months searching for an opportunity to transition into PR, and have been thrilled by how this has turned out.

CCD:  If you are interested in connecting with Sara, you can do so through LinkedIn or by e-mail at  She would be happy to share tips on how to network effectively during a marketing-related job search.

Iris Leung, Class of ’12, Talks About Her Internships and Job Search

Iris Leung
Major: History    Minor: Chinese
Davidson Class: May 2012

What internships have you had while you have been at Davidson?
During my freshman summer, I interned at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, assisting the museum’s Education Department in creating and leading interactive tours for summer camp visitors. I also translated their “Journey to the Stars” planetarium show from English to Chinese.  The following summer I taught English in Xian, China to kindergarteners using bilingual classroom exercises, drama performances, and songs.  During my junior summer, I interned with Emanate PR, a public relations firm that specializes in consumer, healthcare, and business communications. Not only did I create a business pitch proposal for a mock client, I also assisted in a product launch, blogged for the company website, and helped facilitate a social media contest for one of our products.

What are your plans after graduating this May?
After graduating in May, I will begin my first job as an Account Associate at Emanate PR—the public relations firm where I interned during my junior summer.

How did you find your internship?
To find my internship my junior year, I talked with my career counselor who suggested I use a variety of measures for seeking opportunities, such as LinkedIn and Alenda Links (our Davidson alumni networking system), as well as word of mouth.  She explained that by proactively demonstrating interest and seeking advice from alumni, professors, and even family friends, they could provide me with great tips on finding an internship. I connected with an alumna who recognized my great interest in the PR field and recommended me to the HR Director of the firm as an intern candidate, where I landed the internship and ultimately my full-time job.

What resources in Career Services have helped you the most?
Two resources that were helpful to me in Career Services were, first, the one-on-one sessions with career counselors who showed a genuine interest in helping students find not only jobs, but careers that match their passions and strengths. I did not know what I wanted to pursue when I first started my search, but after I listed my interests and  described my ideal workplace, my counselor helped me narrow down a list that allowed me to realize my dream job.

Second, the annual Etiquette Dinner was extremely useful. Since all Davidson students will undoubtedly have meetings or job interviews over meals in the future, this experience really helped me sharpen my table etiquette as well as the necessary communication skills for such stressful situations.

What other resource has helped you with internship searches?
A resource that helped me learn about opportunities is, surprisingly, Google. While students may know what they are capable of and interested in doing, many do not know what is available. When I wanted an internship that allowed me to interact with many people while constantly learning, I ran Internet searches seeking names of museums to get me started. I would never have been able to work at my favorite museum where it not for Google.

What advice do you have for fellow students?
If you know what you want, don’t be afraid to search online for something related, but more exciting. We’re Davidson students—the world is our oyster!

Using Twitter in the Communications Job Search

Are you interested in pursuing a career in communications?  Start tweeting!

A recent study indicates that 76 percent of American and Canadian communications professionals use Twitter daily, compared to 32 percent of the general public.  Twitter usage among these professionals has grown by 100% over the past two years.

If you are interested in a communications-related career–whether in marketing, advertising, corporate communications, nonprofit fundraising, or a host of other fields–we recommend using Twitter to network and learn from this growing network of professionals.

To get started, sign up for a Twitter account if you don’t already have one.  Do a search for “communications,” “public relations,” or other areas of interest.  Twitter will pull up “people results” on the right sidebar: typically industry experts who already have large followings.  These results will give you a place to start.  Once you find individuals of interest, see who they are following to get more ideas.  You should also follow the Twitter accounts of your favorite publications and news organizations.

There are some Twitter accounts devoted to informing the public about communications jobs:  follow @nyprjobs, for example, and get updates about PR job openings in New York City.  However, note that those who have the most success using Twitter as a networking tool actively tweet themselves, rather than simply following others of interest to them.  You want to build your knowledge base to the point that you are comfortable actively contributing to the professional community.  For example, if you run across an interesting article or statistic about your communications field of interest, you can tweet a link to it with a brief line of commentary.  This June 2011 U.S. News and World Report article  focuses on how to use Twitter effectively to change careers, but it also has some great advice for anyone looking to build a strong brand on Twitter by sharing expertise and resources.

Still skeptical?  Take a look at this blog post by Kelly Giles, UNC alum and Assistant Director of Sales and Marketing at a company called Optimal Resume.  I met Kelly at a recent conference, where she shared that by being an “active and authentic” blogger and Twitter user, she ended up with a fantastic job.  It’s a testament to the potential power of “140 characters or less”!