Alumni Spotlight: Natalie Abouk
Moody alumnus, Natalie Abouk, graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2017 with a degree in Advertising. She was also part of McCombs Business Foundations Program and part of the TexasMedia sequence. She now works as the Assistant Negotiator at Blue 449 on the Pizza Hut account. Since having full-time jobs is just around the corner, we wanted to ask Natalie about job-hunting and networking. Read more to see what she what advice she gives!
1. When do you think the best time to start the job searching process is?
I don’t think it’s ever too early to start thinking out where you want to begin your career. It’s good to have an idea of the type of work environment you want (large or small agency/company for example), the department you want to work in, etc. However, based on my experience you typically don’t start applying for position until 4-6 weeks before you intend to start working.
2. What is a sure fire way to land a job interview?
I don’t think there is a direct answer for this – I think a lot of things can come into play to land an interview. For example, networking and building connections can lead to so many opportunities. In this case, you have more than just your resume speaking for you, there’s also the professional opinion of others that can vouch for you.
3. How did you land your job?
I took the opportunity of visiting agencies in NYC during the Texas Exes NYC Seminar over spring break. I extended my stay in NYC to interview at Publicis Media and was offered a position.
4. What are the things you always do to prepare for job interviews?
I personally like to know a little about the company and people I’m interviewing with. So I’ll do some research on any recent news coverage the agency may have and learn a little background on the client I would be working on (if that information is available before the interview). I also like to look over my resume, in order to be able to speak to every point effectively.
5. Everyone always says to have questions at the end of an interview. Do you have any go-to questions?
Depending on the vibe of the interview, I like to ask the interviewer what keeps them up at night. I feel like it’s a good indicator of possible work/life balance and what is most important to the person. Someone asked me this once and I thought it was really interesting!
6. What’s the best advice you’ve gotten about job searching or networking?
Networking is so important! I think what has stuck with me the most is several people assuring me that everyone else is using their connections and I shouldn’t be afraid to do the same.
7. Being a Stan Richards alumni, you’ve probably seen that Moody gives students a template to write resumes and cover letters. How do you set yourself apart when writing these?
I think it all depends on the job you’re applying for. Obviously, if you are in the creative field your resume is going to need a little pizazz, but I would say just to make sure your resume shows some of your personality as well.
8. I think a lot of people fear to admit that they will choose the wrong job – what advice do you have if this happens?
Two points here in my experience and from conversations I’ve had with others: Most people don’t love their first job. Your first job will not be your last job! Movement is not uncommon in the advertising industry. You will see several people move from one agency to another to pursue better opportunities or make a career shift.
9. What are some pros and cons you’ve discovered about relocating for your job?
I moved to NYC roughly 20 days after graduation and there have definitely been some ups and downs.
Pros: A new city means new things to explore, new people to meet and new experiences. I have met so many new people, some with different views than my own, which has allowed me to grow.
Cons: Adapting to a new job and a new city at the same time can be hard. It is not cheap. Worst part - No good queso. ☹
10. What do you find is the hardest thing to overcome when transitioning from being a student to being a full-time employee?
Your actions can be connected to larger things than a grade or your GPA. But on that same note, it's a lot more rewarding to know your work is being implemented for a real campaign and/or being directly sent it the client.
11. What is the biggest factor that you feel was most important for you when considering working for a company?
Aside from being located in NYC, I considered the size of the agency and the atmosphere. I really wanted a company with an open floor plan and a sense of community. I also tend to question the amount of work/life balance the agency/company preaches.
12. What’s been the most exciting part of transitioning out of college?
Having the opportunity to move to a new city, getting to see my work actually implemented and having weekends to myself!
13. If you had the chance, which class would you go back and pay more attention in?
I wish I would have paid more attention in my digital graphics elective. I don’t use any of those tools in my day-to-day, but it definitely would be nice to have that skill set as a personal creative outlet. I suggest taking advantage of the resources you have as a student (professors, electives, Lynda.com, etc.)
14. On average, how many happy hours do you go to with coworkers?
Depends on the workflow, but including team lunches and holiday parties, I would say roughly four per month. If you work on the investment side, there are several lunches and after work events with vendors ☺
15. Any advice for our young Longhorns in terms of preparing for a career?
Enjoy college!! But also take the time to think about the work you’re doing in classes and consider if that’s something you could see yourself doing in 10 years.
Use your connections and don’t be afraid to network - chances are the person you want to reach out to also needed a helping hand at some point and will be more than happy to help you!