Naomi Leak is a 2018 Professional Writing and Information Design graduate. She recently started working for Sparkbox, a web design and development company located in Dayton, Ohio. In this interview with Naomi, she describes her position as Communication Specialist and explains how she landed the job. She also offers advice for current PWID students who are preparing for internships and full-time jobs after graduation.
How long have you been at Sparkbox?
I’m new—I’ve been at Sparkbox for about two months.
What are your responsibilities as Comm. Specialist?
- I manage content marketing on The Foundry, Sparkbox’s blog, which has a lot of responsibilities tied into it:
- Scheduling publications and maintaining the editorial calendar
- Contacting writers/keeping them on track for deadlines
- Meeting with authors to strategize topics
- Editing blog posts
- Writing blog posts that announce Sparkbox’s events, promote their work, etc.
- Writing social media posts
- Publishing posts to the content management system
- Since it’s a fairly small company, I also serve as the editor for anything that needs it, so from time to time, I work on projects like proposals, project briefs, and conference abstracts
- I send out email campaigns and newsletters
What does your life as a full-time employee look like in and outside of the workplace?
My workplace is very relaxed. We all have the opportunity to work from home if we need to. I work 40 hours a week, but I get to choose how I arrange those hours throughout the week.
The culture is very education focused—everyone is always wanting to learn more and teach me something new. Team building is also really important to Sparkbox. We have office events for that (for example, once a month a team member cooks a meal for the rest of us).
The office space is really open, so while I spend a lot of time at my desk working on documents and calendars, I don’t feel at all isolated. Since lots of people do work remotely pretty often, I usually spend lots of time messaging authors about their work and getting the information I need. The communication team is small, but I talk to pretty much everyone in the company at one time or another because every employee writes for the blog. So, collaboration is a big part of my job!
I really like working full time (as compared to school) because it naturally comes with clear boundaries. When I’m done working for the day, I’m done! I don’t have homework constantly hanging over my head. So, I’d say that outside of the workplace, my life is more balanced.
How did you land the job? Any tips for current PWID students?
I did lots of searching on job sites and had a lot of interviews from that, but I ended up hearing about this job from Professor Carrington. A graduate had contacted him about the job, and he mentioned it to me. I would just recommend really putting yourself out there. Apply to LOTS of jobs. Tell lots of people that you’re job searching and ask them to keep an eye out for you. I ended up talking to several friends of friends about jobs before I landed this one.
What is something you wish you could tell yourself as a PWID student that would have helped prepare you for where you are now?
Mostly, I wish I could tell myself to calm down about job searching and worry about doing my best, not being perfect. I got so nervous that trying to apply for jobs or update my resume was a huge ordeal. Applying felt like so much pressure to me because I never got feedback about why people chose someone else, and I didn’t know how to improve. And honestly, it is super hard. But I wish I could tell myself to do my best and just consistently make small improvements when I did learn something new about resumes or interviewing. In the end, God worked it out better than I could have imagined. He brought a job to me at the right time, and I was actually qualified for it.
As far as preparing me for my job, I would tell myself to just look into things I’m interested in. You don’t have to take a class to learn something. If there’s something you feel classes aren’t covering well, take a little time to learn about it. Find an online class, watch videos, or just read about it. I’m doing a lot of that now, but I definitely could have started earlier.
About the author
Karina is a 2020 graduate.