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Build a Career on Real Work Experience

stephen A. smithSteven Smith, nationally known sports talk guru and Journalism graduate from Winston-Salem State University, shared some career insights with HBCU students on the value of getting real work experience in college.

Smith said that when he graduated from a non-accredited Journalism program at Winston-Salem State University, he was “at a considerable disadvantage” compared with students from other colleges with stronger, accredited journalism programs.

To compensate, Smith said he looked for opportunities early in his college experience to develop real professional skills. Smith sought after and applied for early career development programs that developed his skills as a journalist outside of the classroom.

One such program was the Met-Pro Internship Program, a unique diversity program designed to help beginning journalists to build a career in the Chicago Tribune newsroom. When Smith was chosen to be a part of the elite Met-Pro Internship Program, he beat out other candidates from large journalism schools because of his experience. “I was one of 24 finalists selected, and while they had these grades from prestigious universities, I had 250 published clips — I had valid evidence for what I could do.”

Smith’s story is good evidence that HBCU graduates are no different from other college graduates.

Career success is no accident for college graduates who are willing to build a career by being resourceful and strategic.

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