Preparing for a Communications Career – Advice from the PR Pros: Part Two

Editor’s note: This is part two of our series on preparing for a career in PR/communications – read part one here. For more information from Lauren, reach out to her on Twitter @lauren_ashley86. Attending a college with only 2,700 students means that you know almost everyone – and their business. It also means that you […]

Editor’s note: This is part two of our series on preparing for a career in PR/communications – read part one here. For more information from Lauren, reach out to her on Twitter @lauren_ashley86. Attending a college with only 2,700 students means that you know almost everyone – and their business. It also means that you […]

Editor’s note: This is part two of our series on preparing for a career in PR/communications – read part one here. For more information from Lauren, reach out to her on Twitter @lauren_ashley86.

Attending a college with only 2,700 students means that you know almost everyone – and their business. It also means that you walk away with lifelong relationships with not only students, but with professors who will look to you in the future to come back and share your experiences and knowledge with current students.

Over the past two months, I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak to several groups of college students at my alma mater, St. John Fisher College, in Rochester, NY.  It all started when two of my past professors asked me to come into their classroom or speak on panels to share the path I took to get to my current position at Text 100 and to offer advice to students on how they too could become young PR professionals.

My first thought when staring back at the classroom of students was, “Oh my gosh – what on earth do I have to offer these kids? I was in their shoes just two years ago!” But after I started spewing my story on how I got to where I am today, I realized that I actually had some pretty decent advice to offer and I should be proud to share it. So here I go!

  • Intern, intern, intern – Internships are the single most important thing you can do to propel yourself into a career in PR. There is a lot of truth to the statement that “there are just some things that you can’t learn from a text book.”
  • Learn to manage your time – Managing two classes and a trip to the dining hall is a lot different managing client meetings, daily reports and tracking for coverage. Learn your organization and self-management style now before you’re up to your knees in unfinished work.
  • Embrace social media – Social media isn’t going anywhere so do yourself a favor and jump on the bandwagon already. Knowing Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other online communities is a requirement for most entry-level PR jobs and you need to be able to show that you understand them. Even if you aren’t someone who posts on these sites every day, at least keep an eye on the conversations that are happening and stay current with the industry.
  • Write…a lot – As a PR professional, you need to have strong writing skills across all areas. If I could have taken any extra classes in college, I would have taken more writing classes – business writing, PR writing, creative writing, blog writing – the whole nine yards. There will be situations where you need to adjust from writing a casual blog post to a bylined article from your client. Being able to adapt is key.
  • Network – Many students dread events that force them to go out on a limb and talk to complete strangers about their job and if their company is hiring. Attending PRSA meetings, social media events and young professional gatherings may seem scary or not important, but you never know who you’re going to meet and when that stranger’s business card is going to come in handy.

Photo credit: Text 100.

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