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Thursday, August 19, 2010

A look at an up-and-comer: Sarah Anderson

1. Tell me about the jobs that you held while at the University of Minnesota.
Last year, I was the campus representative for, an academic network that provides study resources for high school and college students and professors. I like to call it the academic Facebook. As the sole representative for the University of Minnesota, I oversaw brand development and communications on campus. Through social media outreach, presentations to students and faculty, and street promotions, I recruited over 2,500 students and professors to join the
StudyBlue network.

Before this, I was a local titleholder with the Miss America Organization. This opportunity was instrumental in developing me not only as a strategic communicator, but also as a young woman of character. I created and executed a campaign advocating for character education in high school students, travelling over 25,000 miles on a public speaking tour. With this position, I gained experience in media relations, community relations, and event planning.

2. Which accomplishment in your professional career are you most proud of and why?
My highest measurable accomplishment occurred during my time with StudyBlue, when I recruited over 2,500 students to join the network within 8 months while managing a 20-credit schedule. This busy schedule gave me the perfect opportunity to strengthen my abilities to problem solve, think creatively, and take initiative. Being the first and only representative on campus also taught me the value of a can-do attitude and pioneering spirit. It also made me hungry for collaboration.

3. How did your education from the University of Minnesota prepare you for a public relations career?
I love that my University of Minnesota education has provided me with knowledge of theory, writing, campaign work--essentials I'll need to know as a professional. Everyday, I learn from some of the sharpest
thinkers in the industry. Many of my professors bring in professionals to speak industry wisdom to the class. I must say, my most prized lessons have come from mentor relationships I've cultivated using the resources of my professors. Because of these connections, my U of M education has not only prepared me for a great public relations career, but also set it into action.

4.  How is your job search going?

Thank you for asking! I've enjoyed digging into the Twin Cities business community--there's so many great people who have helped me understand its intricacies along the way. LeeAnn Rasachak (@UptownGirlMpls), Arik Hanson (@arikhanson), Allison Janney (@allisonjanney), and Katie Schutrop (@kshoop), to name a few. Publicly, I thank you all for answering my questions and appealing to my curiosity.

I'm currently looking for internship experience. Intern-seekers: I am resourceful, responsible, quick to listen, and eager to learn. Pile that on top of my previously-mentioned U of M education, and you just may have
found your all-star intern that comes with zero fine print.

5.  What would be the optimal employment opportunity for you?

Beyond college, I'm looking to start with an agency/company that values honesty, service, and strategic development. I believe these three values hold power to recruit the best teams and attract the best clients. I want to be a part of a company that casts big vision and creates meaningful culture.

With a cherry on top: Fast-paced, collaborative, creative, related to food and/or nutrition, driven and passionate culture. Tweet @sarahjander to suggest a company that fits these criterion!

6.  What advice do you have for fellow job seekers?

20-somethings like top-5 lists, so here we go.
  1. 1. Get a professional mentor. I know we younglings like to think we know everything, but we don't. We need to learn from those ahead of us professionally.
  2. Develop your strengths. Take the StrengthsFinder test! ( If you know your strengths, you'll be able to develop and market yourself with clarity. You need to know yourself before you can.
  3. Read blogs, news-sites, do your research. This three-part piece of advice is jam-packed with work. It's worth it! Check out what your potential employers are writing about, and become an expert in those areas. Research companies and agencies to figure out what you want.
  4. Blog. Establish your writing online so you have a nice, plump record of your work when you need to reference it to someone.
  5. Be who you say you are.
Contact Sarah Anderson:

Twitter: @sarahjander