While students struggle to find a place in the communications industry, PRSSA guides young professionals to their communications careers
Like most students, when Andrew Cook, PRSSA National immediate past president, joined PRSSA, he had no idea where his career path would lead. Using his PR skills and his PRSSA network, he found his path. With his suggestions and a few of my own, these tips will get you to the places you want to go with PR.
The first step in any strategic campaign is research. Think of your future career as the strategic campaign of your life. To start your research, visit PRSSA’s internship and job board. Does your school have an internship/job website? Have you visited it in the last few weeks?
Ask professors how they found their career paths. Visit their offices so you can get to know them. Parker Strong, BYU PRSSA Chapter president, landed an internship with General Motors because of his relationship with his faculty adviser. “Dr. Wilson told me of an amazing opportunity on the PRSSA website and helped me apply,” Strong says. Become friends with your faculty adviser because their network is larger than yours.
Andrew Cook got his job at Edelman by networking at a PRSSA conference. “A girl from my school and I flew to the conference together. After the flight she told me she sat next to a professional. I asked her who it was, and she said, “just someone from an agency. I think it was Edelman.” Cook chased the young professional through the airport to meet her. She is now his supervisor in Chicago.
Take advantage of PRSSA conferences to network. Don’t spend all your time with your Chapter; meet new people and spread your network—it may lead to a job.
Formal mentors can review your resume, practice interviewing with you and open up job opportunities for you. Utilize PRSA’s Fellows program. Season practitioners are inducted as a fellow and make themselves accessible to students. You can find a PRSA Fellow on our website. For me, some of the best mentors are recently graduated alumni since they were just in my place.
Take classes outside of your major in design, videography, coding or business. Additionally, find internships where you can network. You can also volunteer with clubs and organizations to get experience. I’m sure most clubs would be happy to let you take over their social media or create a campaign for them.
Finally, if your campus does not have a nationally affiliated firm, I highly recommend getting one. Student-run firms are a safe space to fail. They are the perfect place to branch into different aspects of communications since you can work with different clients and industries. Learn more about how to start one here.
To review, do your research, talk to professors, network like crazy, get a formal mentor and try new things. Start now on the strategic campaign of your future and PRSSA will take you incredible places. So, where will PRSSA take you?
Amelia Mecham studies Public Relations at Brigham Young University. She serves as Chapter Firm Director. In her free time, she enjoys photography, intramural soccer and cooking. Follow her on twitter @ameliamechamor Instagram @ameliamecham27 or connect on LinkedIn.