Hilligoss able to span professional world using editing skills
By Zachary Penrice
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Wade Hilligoss is young but already has the experience of a seasoned communications professional.
Hilligoss has had several media or communications jobs at several different companies in the few years since he graduated from college. In all of them, Hilligoss said, he was able to establish himself as an asset by using editing skills he learned through years of self-discipline.
Hilligoss, 27, works at Hudl as a coach support specialist, a job he’s had for the past year. He also is an adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
“The ability to come into any job, regardless of whether they want you to be a writer, and be able to write and command language makes you a huge resource,” Hilligoss said. “People will want to run things by you before they publish them, making you more valuable as an employee.”
Hilligoss grew up in Lincoln and chose to study at UNL for his undergraduate education. He graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, broadcasting and film. Hilligoss then earned his master’s degree in media studies and public relations from UNL in 2014.
“I’m young, but I have had a lot of different jobs,” Hilligoss said. “I continue to move around because I enjoy the new challenges offered by each job.”
No matter where Hilligoss works, however, it’s clear to him what types of skills are necessary in order to be an asset.
“At UNL, I learned how to interact with other professionals, along with understanding the importance of AP style.” Hilligoss said. “When you have those skills, it’s like you’re a level above everybody else.”
Hilligoss has made a name for himself as a “go-to-guy” around Hudl, a sports software company. He is often asked to look over material from other departments or check to make sure everything is correct on a document.
“It gives everyone around the office the ability to reach out to me and say, ‘hey, will you contribute to this or will you take a look at these things?” Hilligoss said. “There are also times where we need things written internally and I’ll be one of the first people they look to, which is just because of my background and wide range skillset.”
Hilligoss reminisced about a class he took at UNL when he was a freshman called, “The Art of Writing.” He said that it may be the most relevant class that he took because of the things he learned and how he applies them to his job.
“To this day, I think it was the most important class I took here,” Hilligoss said. “It ran us through the ringer of how to use and command AP style and all of the different rules that go along with that.”
Whether it was being a communications assistant with the Round Rock Express triple-A baseball team or being the manager of media relations for the Iowa Cubs, Hilligoss has experience indifferent phases of the industry. Hilligoss said that he knew he could communicate well and wanted to use that in the professional world.
“Prior education and skill set pointed me in the direction of being able to communicate,” Hilligoss said. “Being able to communicate, whether it’s ideas or stories or whatever; a lot of those skill sets required are the same throughout the industry.”
Editing skills can set your apart once you get to the professional world.
“The ability to work your way up within the profession is crucial, whether that’s making yourself a better writer or whatever it may be.” Hilligoss said. “Being able to edit yourself makes you a more valuable employee because your copy editor or whoever else doesn’t need to spend as much time looking at your material.”
As for advice to future professionals, Hilligoss stressed the importance of writing, no matter what it is that students do.
“No matter what you’re doing, the ability to write is so huge,” Hilligoss said. “I’ve had four different branches of career already and I could get into all four of them because of my ability to write in addition to whatever it was they were asking me to do.”