The end of October marks the end of this year’s PRSA/PRSSA Relationship Month. After connecting with your sponsor PRSA Chapters, I hope you fostered a better understanding of public relations in your local area while connecting with professional mentors. Now that you started, below are some more ways to meet public relations mentors
Public Relations Classes
While pursuing your degree in public relations, you are constantly surrounded by professors, teaching assistants and graduate students. These individuals have taken the initiative to further their education in the field. Having a mentor involved in academia ensures you will know a thing or two about the current and future state of public relations as a profession.
On-campus student organizations are prime places to find mentors that are more experienced than you but not too far removed. These people will have great advice about breaking into the quickly-changing job market. Obviously PRSSA counts as a student organization, but also try to find mentors in organizations such as student government, volunteer organizations, Greek life, your campus newspaper, etc. Having mentors in similar fields such as advertising, journalism and marketing can prepare you to be a more well-rounded public relations practitioner and train you to understand holistic approaches to campaigns.
Family and Friends
Wherever there is a business, there is a need for public relations. Ask your family if they have any connections to someone who owns a small business. While they may not have a specific position set aside for public relations within their organization, someone carries that role. Shadow them to see what public relations tactics are important to their business.
Internships are the easiest places to find mentors. Try to meet and learn from every person in the office — especially those in senior management. From personal experience, I’ve found that sending a short email to a senior manager you admire can result in a mutually beneficial mentorship that lasts far past your internship.
What are your suggestions for finding a mentor?
Dea Pennington, 2014–2015 vice president of public relations, is a senior public relations major with business enterprise studies and public affairs & administration minors at the University of Oklahoma. Connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @dea_pennington.