Words of Wisdom from a Former Fox: Kristen Domonell

Graduation: The scariest word in this college senior's vocabulary. | bredgur/Flickr

As May nears and the Marist countdown clocks’ ominous numbers get lower and lower, the anxiety of finding a job seems to be building; How is this semester nearly over? How is it that I have to start thinking about job applications? If need be, will I be able to relocate? You get the picture. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The Class of 2011 is not diving into unknown territory. Entire groups of people have been in our shoes and made it from college to employment, sanity intact. In fact, some of those people actually graduated from Marist and were happy to share their trials, tribulations and words of wisdom for our benefit. This series will highlight recent graduates and it’s through their stories that we can learn some important lessons; how to deal with graduation, how to get a job, and how to make do with living in the in-between.

Kristen Domonell
Class of 2010
Journalism, Political Science, Global Studies

“During the spring semester of my senior year I was obsessed with finding a job and really, really wanted to have one upon graduation even though I knew it wasn’t likely,” Domonell said.

“I started noticing when applying to newspaper and magazine jobs that I often would never even hear back. Journalism students have extra awful odds when it comes to finding a job – we have the economy to deal with as well as the “dying” of print journalism. This means people with a lot of experience who have been laid off are applying for the same jobs as us.”

Domonell’s perseverance paid off in the form of a post-grad internship with a tourist newspaper on Martha’s Vineyard. She moved into her grandparent’s cottage on the island and began working, for free, at the paper.

“I applied and got it and decided that, even though it was unpaid, it was worth living at the beach all summer and gaining some experience,” Domonell said. “It was a lot of work for no pay and no college credit, but again, I’m glad I got to do it for the Martha’s Vineyard experience. I also worked in the dining room at a yacht club so I was making pretty decent money to save up for paying off loans.”
After returning to her home in Connecticut, Domonell received a phone call from an editor at the Republican-American newspaper, a regional paper out of Waterbury, C.T. Domonell had interned there for two summers and a winter break during college. She e-mailed the executive editor explaining that she was looking for work, and a few months later she received word that there was an opening for freelance correspondent covering three small towns.

“I decided to accept the position even though it is not very well paying because it is in my field and I can live at home and save up money for when the dream job comes knocking, hopefully,” Domonell said. “As a freelance correspondent, I am not technically employed by the newspaper so I get paid by the inch and photo instead of a salary. I also work entirely from home — think Carrie Bradshaw but 5,000 times less glamorous. It’s a pretty decent and flexible part-time gig that is giving me valuable experience handling a beat.”

While being technologically savvy has not been a requirement for any of the positions Domonell had held, she said that it certainly pays off to have a grasp on what is up and coming in the world of social media.

“During my summer job I proposed setting up a Twitter account for the paper and managing that, which was a pretty good initiative to take,” Domonell said. “It’s always good to show you are up on the latest technology, and many of the jobs I’ve applied for have preferred proficiency in social networking.”

Domonell stressed the importance of being active with journalism-related extracurricular programs such as Marist’s The Circle and gaining as much experience in real world situations as possible through internships.

“I learned the most valuable journalism skills through my internships and since most jobs require experience, I have a little more than my classmates who did not have as productive internships– let’s hope it pays off eventually,” Domonell said. “Writing for and being a news editor for The Circle was also a valuable tool since the journalism program does not teach page layout or anything like that.”

Domonell thinks the main thing upcoming graduates need to anticipate is the need for “A LOT of patience.”

“You likely won’t get the first handful of jobs you apply for, or even hear back from many of them,” Domonell said. “Take the initiative while you’re still in school to take advantage of internships and extracurriculars that are relevant to your field. Try to maintain contacts from internship supervisors who can put in a good word if a job becomes available at the company. Eventually persistence will pay off.”


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