By Christina Gordon

In February, the Media Management Association hosted a meet and greet with Megan DeMilia, a UM School of Communication media management graduate and account executive at WPLG Local 10. DeMilia sat down with communication students to share her unique journey from undergraduate student to full-time employee at a top TV station in Miami.

DeMilia entered UM’s School of Communication when media management was a new major. Though her classes in her major focused on such topics as media programming and economics, none provided skills or information related to entry-level positions. The question she soon faced is a familiar one for many upper-class media management students: “How do we, as undergraduates, actually break into the field?”

As DeMilia approached her senior year, she became hard pressed to find a job. She used unique self-marketing tactics in order to stand out from her fellow students. “I was a senior with no internship experience,” she reminisced. “So I wore a button during Parents’ Weekend and Homecoming that said ‘I’m graduating. Hire me!'” To her surprise, her inventive idea served as a great conversation starter with possible employers.

Although she made quite a few connections, none of them related to her interest in radio and television. Wisely, DeMilia created personal connections with professors in her major to help her get a foot in the door. First, DeMilia secured a receptionist position with WPLG Local 10. She did everything in her power to keep this job. “I quit my job at the Rathskeller, rented a car and put a sign that read ‘Student Driver’ on the trunk so that Miami drivers would stay away from me,” said DeMilia recalling her eagerness to succeed. She even went as far as telling her professors that she would no longer be able to attend class because she had secured a job. Her professors obliged on the condition that she would complete all her exams and projects before the end of the semester.

After a year, DeMilia was granted the opportunity to try her hand in sales at WPLG and was promoted to account executive shortly after. Her advice to students is to “stay buttoned up and never get comfortable.” She communicated how important hard work and creativity are and how many times these qualities can help compensate for a lack of knowledge. “Showing that you need and want it more than anyone else is how you’ll get where you want to be,” concluded DeMilia.