An Underclassman’s Perspective of Com Day 2012

Before I joined PRSSA, I was unaware of the many resources available to help me launch a successful career in the communications field. After attending a few PRSSA events, including Purdue University’s Regional Conference, Com Day, I realized these resources represented many of the important reasons to be a part of PRSSA.

At Regional Conferences such as Com Day, speakers from all backgrounds provide advice that is essential for young professionals. Below is some of the most important advice I received at Purdue’s Com Day, which addressed the topics of résumés, internships, interviews and networking.

Résumés Must Be Relevant and Specific

• Demonstrate experiences that are relevant to the job.
• Attract attention with your résumé to make it stand out from others.
• Use space on the paper efficiently, to help you keep to a one page limit.
• Don’t just list but elaborate experiences in detail. Involvement and impact matters.
• Absolutely no errors allowed.
• Tailor and make appropriate changes to your résumé for different jobs.
• Leave out all information prior to college.

Interview Etiquette is Vital

• Arrive five minutes early.
• Impressions are made in the first 30 seconds.
• Formal attire and good hygiene are necessary. Women watch for skirt length, heel height and cleavage.
• Speak confidently. Maintain eye contact when appropriate, smile and show passion.
• Present your portfolio and business card.
• Have potential answers to interview questions mentally prepared. Also, have a few questions for the interviewer about the job and company.
• Know general information about the company and be up-to-date on recent news before the interview.
• Ask for company’s next steps in the interview process before leaving.
• Send either a thank you card or email to anyone you interview with.
• Wait two weeks before following up (after the thank you).
• Ask for feedback if turned down for the opportunity.

Networking Will Open the Doors

• It’s not what you know, but who you know.
• Start your networking with family and friends; they are likely to have professional contacts that could help.
• Be involved and active in your organizations.
• Build a social media presence through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and/or blogging.
• Find a variety of mentors for advice in different situations.
• Give back to mentors by thanking them and becoming a fellow mentor.
• Consider reaching out to smaller agencies first. Volunteering at a non-profit jobs can be a gateway to a public relations position.

At Com Day, speakers motivated PRSSA members by relating their own personal experiences and giving advice the speakers wish they had known when they were in college. Speaker Jeff Bodzewski quoted a simple yet very appropriate encouragement when he suggested PRSSA members to, “Throw yourself at situations; you will only get better.” Special thanks to all the speakers who took their time to come out and participate in Com Day.

What advice do you have for students for their resumes and interviewing skills? How do you use networking to stay in touch and progress in the industry?

Jourdej Peszek is currently studying communications at Purdue University. In addition to PRSSA, he is also involved in Lambda Chi Alpha – Psi Zeta at Purdue.

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