Congratulations to all recent graduates and soon-to-be-graduates!
I know this is a time to be both excited and terrified, but it’s okay. I went through that myself when I graduated from Cal State Fullerton in December 2011, where I was a member of the PRSSA Chapter and served on the executive board during my senior year. Ah, those were the days.
As you currently figure out where you’ll find yourself post-graduation, keep in mind that there’s a valuable resource by your side that’ll help you every step of the way.
Becoming a member of PRSA should be that first step you take while plotting your career course. While you’re at it, get involved with your local PRSA Chapter and become a member of the New Professionals section. Whatever you do, there are always abundant learning and networking opportunities that’ll give you a better sense of what you can expect in this field and help prepare you to become a new public relations professional readily willing to take on the challenges ahead.
As new professionals, you’ll also bring something with you to the working world that is as valuable as any skills and experiences you might have—your unique attributes. This ties in to the theme of diversity, a topic often talked about in both PRSSA and PRSA. Even for an increasingly diverse country, the PRSA Foundation revealed ethnic groups make up 30 percent of the U.S. population, yet only 10 percent of minorities work in public relations.
When most people hear about diversity, they might usually think of one’s race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. The definition goes far beyond that, ranging from disability to socioeconomic status to your level of education among many others. Your own unique attributes and experiences help define the meaning of the word “diversity.”
As you make that progression into the post-graduate life and delve into your first job, I would like to hear from you. What are some of your unique attributes that could help define diversity in the public relations field? How do you believe your personal and professional backgrounds tie in with your role as a new professional? Every month on The Edge, a PRSA New Professionals blog, I look for new professionals to speak from their hearts, get their take on what they have to bring and how it all fits into what they are doing in the field.
If you’re interested in sharing your story, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I hope to post your stories on The Edge. As public relations professionals, we are storytellers. It’s having those stories to tell that allow us to better understand one another and truly appreciate the differences we possess.
Best of luck to every one of you. See you on the other side!
Simon Oh is the diversity liaison for the PRSA New Professionals executive committee. He is currently a graduate student at San Jose State University, studying transportation management. His professional background includes public affairs and community relations within the transportation field. Visit his blog and connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.