Wouldn’t it be nice if someone you knew could give you tips for what to put on your resume, connect you to professionals in your field, teach you skills that match the ones under “job requirements” and help you build your career while you’re still in college?
Many people may not be able to help with all of that, but your PRSA Sponsor Chapter can.
Connecting with your PRSA sponsor Chapter is potentially the most valuable thing you can do for yourself, your Chapter and your members. PRSA created PRSSA in an effort to help pre-professionals gain the skills, insight and guidance needed to build successful careers.
At Wayne State University, we have a strong relationship with our sponsor Chapter, PRSA Detroit. Here are a few ways you can build that relationship and an endless amount of reasons why.
Starting the Relationship
The first step in building a relationship is determining who your sponsor Chapter is and contacting one of its board members. Each year, the new PRSSA executive board should introduce themselves to their sponsor Chapter.
This year, we plan to send a media kit to our sponsor Chapter complete with an introduction to our board, copies of our bi-annual newsletter, our goals for the upcoming year and a letter thanking them for all that they do. If a relationship has not yet been established, you can write a letter explaining all the ways both organizations can benefit each other.
Maintaining the Relationship
As with all networking, saying “hi” once a year is not enough. Ask if your Chapter can attend PRSA events and subscribe to their event updates. Most PRSA Chapters welcome students with open arms (and often complimentary registration – hint, hint). Remember, PRSA members learn just as much from us as we can learn from them.
You can practice your public relations skills while staying in touch by sending press releases of recent accomplishments or upcoming events. When attending PRSA events, stick around and network with the members. Building personal relationships will also help you build relationships for your Chapter. PRSA members have a variety of backgrounds and skills that they can teach your Chapter. Almost always, professionals will host a workshop or speak at your event when asked.
Strengthening the Relationship
Strengthening your relationship with your sponsor Chapter is a continuous process that only brings greater benefit to your Chapter. Here are a just a few ways to get started:
1. Let PRSA help you fund educational experiences. Remember, they know that we are the future of the job market and they want to make sure we are well equipped. Aside from providing us complimentary or discounted access to their events, PRSA Detroit awards our students with over $4,000 in scholarships each year, helps our Chapter fund events like PRSSA National Conference, sponsors individual members for various other conferences and provides a list of local internships made available from its PRSA members. Ask your sponsor Chapter for these opportunities.
2. Encourage your PRSSA alumni to transition to PRSA. Not only will PRSSA members receive a discounted rate for the first two years after graduation, but they can become your liaison to your sponsor Chapter. They can become an inside advocate for your PRSSA Chapter.
3. Utilize your Faculty Adviser. Our Faculty Adviser is very involved in PRSSA (and other professional organizations). This is helpful because she is able to keep us informed on upcoming events and maintains our Chapter’s relationship when executive boards change each year.
Building, maintaining and strengthening your relationship with PRSA can seem like a large task, but it can actually help minimize your responsibilities and build greater value for your members. A strong relationship gains you access to events you will not have to plan, provides a myriad of professionals who can host workshops/tours that you do plan and eases the ability to find and apply for scholarships, funding and internships.
This October during Relationship Month is a perfect time to reach out, so mail a letter, send an email or pick up the phone and call.
What are other creative ways that you reach out to your PRSA sponsor Chapter?
Amanda Knaebel is the Chapter president of Wayne State University PRSSA. You can connect with her on Twitter @knaebel0412 or LinkedIn.