Cierra Parks, The Robertson School's New Employer Coordinator + Tips for Navigating the Job Market

March 26, 2024

Author: Emily Richardson

Introducing Cierra Parks and 5 Tips for Navigating the Job Market

Cierra Parks, Employer Coordinator

A degree in mass communications is a pathway to a diverse range of career opportunities. Students in the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture have a unique resource at their disposal: a departmental career services center, offering career-based programming and dedicated employees to help students prepare for and find employment opportunities after graduation.

Last summer, Career Services welcomed a new staff member to expand its offerings for students: Cierra Parks, employer coordinator. A Robertson alumna, Parks’ main focus is to connect students with employers.

“I talk to different companies and see what kind of job openings they have,” Parks said. “What I’m really trying to do is get companies on campus and face-to-face with students. I want students to get real-world experience from someone who’s in the field they’re in.”

Parks graduated from VCU in 2021 with dual degrees in psychology and mass communications, concentrating in digital journalism. Before joining the Career Services team, Parks worked as a lobbyist and government relations specialist in Capitol Square. She is happy to share her personal career journey with students.

“As far as it comes to career stuff, I was a student and I did it,” Parks said. “I made my way all the way up to the governor’s office. My door is always open for any kind of questions that students have about careers.”

In her role, she promotes weekly job opportunities to graduating seniors and recent alumni, reaches out to companies to assess hiring needs and works to develop employer recruitment activities or information sessions. 

“The Robertson School is fortunate to have our own in-house employer coordinator giving students the best opportunity toward a career after graduation. Cierra’s presence in the school solidifies our commitment to help students get good jobs after graduation” said Peyton Rowe, Professor and Director of the Robertson School. 

Her work also involves staying on top of the state of the media industries Robertson students study for. She engages in industry research to stay up-to-date on trends and practices in recruiting to help Career Services better serve students.

“Her dedication to expanding and nurturing employer relationships aligns perfectly with the school's commitment to providing students with exceptional career opportunities,” said Maggie McDearmon, Robertson’s career development adviser and the other half of the Career Development team. “This appointment represents a significant milestone for the Robertson School, highlighting our unwavering dedication to supporting students in their journey toward successful careers.”

One of the ways Parks most directly helps students is through her tailor-made job searches. Every Friday, she sends out a “Feature Friday” email to seniors and recent alumni listing job offerings. But, if a student is heading to a specific city after graduation, she will create a list of jobs and contacts tailored for them and their career interests.

One such student was Hollyann Purvis, who graduated with a degree in mass communications, concentrating in digital journalism in December — but she had her sights set on New York City long before she had even walked across the graduation stage. Now, three months after graduating, she has a role as an assistant strategist at the largest privately owned media services agency in the world, Horizon Media, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Cierra.

“Once I shared my plans to move to Manhattan with Cierra, she provided me with a curated list of contacts based in the city,” Purvis said. “It took one brief, after-class meeting with her to get connected with people who would later become my coworkers.”

Though she is new to the Robertson school staff, Parks wants to help students and give back to the Robertson school in any way she can.

“Once I take on a student, I feel like it’s my responsibility to get them a job,” Parks said. “I’m always checking, like, ‘Did you get the job?’ It’s rewarding.”

5 Tips for Navigating the Job Market From Cierra

  • Find ways to make yourself stand out.

Employers don’t necessarily expect you to have deep knowledge of the craft or advanced skills. What they’re looking for in new grads is character, initiative, enthusiasm and consistency in pursuing your goals.

Additionally, don’t underestimate the utility of LinkedIn. Linkedin is often the first place employers look during the hiring process, so ensure your profile is professional, informative and includes active links to your website or portfolio (another essential element of showcasing your skills to potential employers).

  • Connect with industry professionals.

Reach out to people working in a role you’d like to have and ask if they’d be willing to let you interview them about what they do. This can be a great way to learn more about the industry, what did and didn’t work for them on their career journey, and to start making valuable connections. Many VCU alumni are excited to share their experiences with current students.

  • Leverage your wide range of experiences.

Don’t be discouraged by entry-level jobs asking for one to two years of experience. Experience doesn’t always mean paid experience. Your internships and the skills you picked up doing them count as experience.

The same goes for your classes. Robertson faculty do a great job of having assignments that can be included in your portfolio — it’s not always just busy work.

  • Engage with Career Services.

Robertson’s Career Services team is here to help you in whatever way you need, be it resume reviews or practice interviews. We also keep a calendar of all upcoming career fairs. When we have events, come and check it out and get valuable facetime with employers. 

Plus, did you know you can still utilize Career Services after graduation? 

  • Set up a one-on-one with Cierra.

I send out weekly job listings to seniors, but I’m always happy to create tailored listings for students who might be looking for something in particular. I’m here to answer your questions and help you break into your desired field.

To schedule an appointment with Cierra, contact her at