Student Spotlight: Mitch Vandenborn

Mitch Vanderborn Student Spotlight

What’s your background?

I’m originally from a small town in southwestern Ontario called Chatham. I moved to Ottawa almost 6 years ago to attend university.

What did you study?

I studied journalism at Carleton University. The program covers all different aspects of the industry. In this four year program, you study how to write and produce stories for print, TV, radio and the web. I also studied journalism in the Netherlands for a semester. I believe studying abroad is one of the most valuable educational experiences you can have.

What kind of work are you in/looking for?

I love working in digital communications/marketing, and it’s where I want to keep developing my skills and career. Currently I work in online communications at Carleton University. My various roles in this position include:

  • Managing the website and developing new content
  • Social media management
  • Web analytics
  • Graphic design
  • Photography and videography
  • Preparing weekly e-newsletter

Where would you like to be (career wise) in 10 years?

I would like to be working with a small team doing interesting creative work. I’m not sure if that’ll be with an agency or an in-house communications team, but I’m excited to find out as I go.

What tips do you have for other students looking to get a job in the industry?

1. Never stop learning. When you finish school and get your first “real” job, you’ll likely be asked to do things you’ve never done before, so take those opportunities to dive in and really understand them. Communications is an industry that’s constantly changing, so try to spot skills that are becoming valuable, like web analytics or basic programming knowledge.

2. Volunteering is a big boost on your resume and can also be hugely rewarding. Small community groups and organizations often don’t have the expertise or time to dedicate to communications activities, so volunteering with them lets you pitch ideas and strategies you’ve learned at work or school. Volunteering can also help you develop skills you’re unfamiliar with or don’t do regularly. For example, I learn a lot about event planning and internal communications through volunteer work.

What do you value most about being a part of IABC?

Attending IABC events connects you with people at every stage of their career, from students to managers to senior executives. Everyone I’ve met has been so willing to share their own experiences and offer advice to people just starting out.

Aside from the networking opportunities, IABC Ottawa also does an amazing job at bringing in people to speak about topical issues and trends in the industry. When you’ve finished school, these events are great for continuing your education.