One of our newest alumni, Jasmine Clayton, is a May 2016 Grady College graduate with a bachelor’s degree in public relations, minor in Spanish and certificate in New Media. She currently works as a communication specialist at Aon Hewitt, a human resources consulting firm. Through her role at Aon, she provides collaborative strategic consulting on client teams to help engage readers and drive behavior for employees. Before joining Aon, Jasmine had five communication-based internships during her undergraduate career and studied abroad with “UGA en Buenos Aires.” She interned with the Grady College
Department of Experiential Learning, Southern Company, Goodwill of North Georgia and completed two internships with Open Hand Atlanta.
AdPR Department: How did you secure your job at Aon Hewitt?
Jasmine Clayton: My current position was posted in the Grady Jobs & Internships Newsletter at the time, so I applied through the exclusive job posting. I had been interested in human resources (HR) communication for about a year, and when I read the job description was a communication role within an HR consulting firm, I couldn’t help but think it was tailored just for me. So, I applied and made sure my cover letter and resume were tailored just for the job. To prepare for my on-site interview, I compiled some of my best writing and design work into a tangible portfolio and printed out a copy for each interviewer. I also practiced behavioral interview responses, made sure I was familiar with the role and how my past experiences could contribute, and researched the company. Afterward, I sent my follow-up thank you messages and received the great news a few weeks later.
AdPR: What are some of your everyday duties?
Clayton: As a content creator on health and benefits enrollment projects for our clients, this often means that I either write or edit content for benefits enrollment materials (guides, newsletters, etc.) to ensure that the language used will engage the reader and influence behavior among employees. I also provide and compile feedback from my team’s rounds of review to relay to the designers or other content creators.
AdPR: What are some concepts or skills you would consider essentials for for AdPR students to grasp before they graduate?
Clayton: My top three would be interviewing, editing and networking skills. A lot of students may know about behavioral interviewing questions, but it is essential to look up the STAR approach, practice these out loud and tie in past experiences that relate to the specific internship or job. Also, it is one thing to know how to write, but for me it’s been important to be able to provide solid feedback through editing a lot of my colleague’s materials. As you critique other people’s work, you start to learn how to enhance your own. Lastly, networking is more than just meeting new people at busy networking fairs, it’s maintaining the professional relationships you already have. You don’t want to only contact people when you need something. Don’t forget to thank the people that are helping you get where you want to go, and maintain that gratitude and relationship once you get there. This could be as simple as sharing an article that you think they would appreciate, sending a hand written thank you note with a life update, or catching up over lunch.
AdPR: How did Grady help you prepare for entering the job field, specifically at your current job?
Clayton: Grady helped to heighten my natural curiosity by teaching me that there is always more than meets the eye – you just have to be curious enough to explore. In my case, this innovative thinking cultivated in new media and journalism classes inspired me to explore the nooks and crannies of Grady, and is now playing into my experience at Aon. Within Grady, my experiences ranged from shadowing and conducting research with some of the top professors, interning with amazing career mentors and travelling to top companies in Atlanta. Every organization has outreach and experiential learning opportunities that can take you outside of your comfort zone and introduce you to people you can learn from, and this is crucial to find when you enter full-time work. At Aon, so far I have joined committees outside of my department, attended professional development conferences and scheduled lunches to get to know people in different business units – and I’m not finished yet. There is always a way to get involved past your daily responsibilities and you never want to remain stagnant, so I’m making my work experience work for me.
AdPR: What is one of the biggest things you’ve learned so far in the professional world?
Clayton: I’ve learned how to make a big company feel small. During my first few weeks on the job, my manager set up lunches for me with the colleagues on my team. From her example, I started setting up my own lunches with people in different business functions. By reaching out to people outside of my division, not only am I learning more about the company, but I’m building relationships and making this big company feel a little smaller. It’s a ripple effect: The more people you know, the more comfortable you are and the more comfortable you are the more you feel like you belong. It’s important to feel like you have a place in a company (especially one with tens of thousands of employees) and not like you can be easily replaced. Put your face out there to build your brand and relationships, and people will not only see the value of your work but they’ll also see the value of your presence.