By Cassidy George, PRSSA Member
First and foremost, national conferences are a must. There is no other place a PR student will get the tips, advice and networking opportunities like the ones offered at the PRSSA 2017 National Conference. As a senior, I took advantage of these opportunities to add more tools to my belt and better prepare myself for life after graduation. I’d like to share some of the key takeaways and tips I learned from the PR professionals in Boston to help any other seniors who may be in my position and inspire more students to attend industry conferences.
Beyond the PR Stunt
Laughter and cheer filled the room when Michael DiSalvo, vice president of healthcare at Ogilvy, entered the stage. He was my favorite speaker at the conference; he not only captivated the audience with his humor, but also offered good tips to remember when pursuing a career in PR.
1. Build your PR muscle with internships. Getting hands on experience in the PR world is beneficial for all students. Whether it’s at an agency, organization or nonprofit, getting out of the classroom will better prepare a future practitioner for his or her day-to-day activities. It also looks great on a resume.
2. Experience gets you in the door, your personality gets you the job. Those internships come in handy when applying for jobs, but the important thing to remember is to just be yourself. You offer something unique to the table and embracing your individuality will help you determine if that place or organization is the right fit.
3. You have a lifetime of work ahead of you. As PR students, planning becomes a skill and figuring out what comes next becomes a habit. DiSalvo reminded me that knowing what you want to do is important, so take your time and try to learn from your current responsibilities — whether it be at school or an internship. The amount of years spent working is far more than those dedicated solely to school, which is why it’s important to figure out your likes and dislikes to pursue a field that fulfills your interests.
7 Tips From New Professionals
Who better to hear from than the people who were sitting in our shoes not too long ago? Four PRSA New Pros gave great tips to those of us who will be starting out in our careers.
1. Know two things you want and stick to them. For example, I want to work for an organization that will allow me to travel and is also invested in sustainability. Those two things are my ultimate goals that I will make a part of my future.
2. If you move to a new city for a job, connect with the PRSA chapter in that region.
3. Learn more about a company or how an agency works by conducting an informational interview even before you apply.
4. After being hired, ask to talk to someone who also joined recently. You can get insight on how their transition into the company went or other information to know as newcomer.
5. Use real resume paper and tailor your resume to each job or organization.
6. Write handwritten thank you notes after an interview, networking or meeting a new client. Sending a thank you note is meaningful and can go a long way for another person.
7. Find a job that lets you shine in your niche. Become an expert in your field and people will know to come to you for your advice.
These are just a handful of the great tips I learned at the PRSSA 2017 National Conference. I highly encourage all PR students to attend a national or a regional conference to not only learn more about this industry, but to make connections with students and professionals around the country.
Cassidy George is a senior at San Diego State University. She is majoring in journalism and media studies with an emphasis in public relations and minoring in international studies. Her goal is to work for an organization that has global ties and opportunities to travel and meet people from all over the world. In her free time, she is either planning her next excursion or eating at the vegan bar in Whole Foods.
Twitter handle: @CassidyGeorge13