Q&A with Lindsay Scarpello

Current Employer: Social Media Manager for Parallels in Seattle, Washington

Major: Magazines and Writing

Graduated: 2012 

By Chance Hoener

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What prepared Lindsay Scarpello for her career? Her experiences while she was still at college. Working on the Drake Magazine staff and interning at Meredith Corporation for three years gave her career a kickstart; her focus guided her to her job today.

Where are you currently working and what do you do there?

I’m currently working at a software company in Seattle called Parallels, which creates a program that allows users to run Windows on their Mac. I’m their social media manager, so I run social media for Parallels and other products they make.

What was your major at Drake University?

I was both a magazines and a writing major, though I would recommend anyone looking to write anything in their career to definitely make sure they have a journalism major. English was great, but there’s not a lot of practical application in English like you get in the journalism school at Drake.

How did your majors lead to being social media manager for Parallels?

Well, I never thought I would go work for a magazine after school because there are typically two places you can do that: Des Moines or New York. I wanted to move to Chicago. I moved to Chicago after college and started working in marketing for a different company, a non-profit. The thing about marketing is that it’s less business-y these days and it’s becoming more like editorial work. It’s like running a magazine, but it’s company focused. You write more about products and the industry and how that’s affecting your company or the customers. I moved into the marketing space, and that’s how I got into social media, which is a huge part of the content marketing machine. Drake definitely prepares you for that inevitability because the publishing industry is a fickle place and there’s a lot of competition. There are plenty of people, in my class at least, who have moved on to do social media or marketing or public relations. The great thing about the magazine program is that you get a well-rounded view of what life is going to be like after graduation, and you get the experience you need.

What role did Meredith play in paving the way for your career?

Jeff Inman was like “Hey, Lindsay, there’s someone looking for a new intern at Meredith. It’s not through the apprenticeship program, but I know you were looking for a job,” and I was like, “Yeah, totally!” I interviewed, and then I became the intern for the magazine Kitchen and Bath Makeovers. I did that for three years. I would say that it was invaluable to work at Meredith. It absolutely aided in my career search. It’s a huge, reputable company that everyone knows and respects, so getting to work there for a long time and getting my name in print a couple of times definitely helped me get my foot in the door outside of school.

If you could give your college-aged self one piece of advice on how to prepare for a career in the field of journalism and mass communication, what would it be?

I would tell myself that you don’t need to get your dream job to be productive and happy and fulfilled. You don’t need to go work for GQ or anything to have a good time. You picked this field because you’re happy writing about pretty much anything and strategizing what other people want to write. It’s not so much about, “Oh, this is a cool magazine to work for.” It’s more about delivering something that people want to read every day, serving a greater audience, or getting to tell stories that people want to hear. It’s easy to get caught up in the competition at Drake, which makes sense, but at the same time, you are all talented, otherwise you wouldn’t be there. You are all going to be fine after graduation. Just remember that things aren’t necessarily going to look the way you think they’re going to look, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be great.

Keep up with Lindsay on LinkedIn.

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