First and foremost, breathe. We’re living during a time in which the world, in many ways, has turned upside down. As a young professional and recent college graduate, I am overwhelmed by case numbers and a career that has not started off the way that I planned. But what I’ve learned during this time can be expressed in a quote from Emily Blunt in her role as Mary Poppins, “when the world turns upside down, the best thing to do is to turn right along with it.” Here are five tips that I’ve curated along the way from some of my own experiences and mentors at PRSA Nashville about how to make the most out of your time at home.
At a time when we’re living six feet apart, technology allows us to connect more than ever before. Instead of a meeting at your local café, try a coffee Zoom call with your mentor, peers, or a professional that you want to learn more about. Also, don’t underestimate the significance of a LinkedIn or email check-in with a professional during this time. Register for PRSSA/PRSA webinars or attend a local Chapter’s virtual meeting (I tuned in for a PRSA Young Professionals online meeting and it was great!). By creating these virtual connections, young professionals will not only attain valuable insight into the public relations industry but gain insight to help navigate this new world.
Are you interested in learning more about design, social media, analytics, media relations? Right now is a great time to take a deep dive into skills that you want to develop or get certified in. These are the courses I would recommend: ‘The All-in-one Adobe Creative Cloud Suite Certification Course Bundle.’, ‘Hootsuite Platform Training’, ‘Google Analytics’, ‘Muck Rack’s Fundamentals of Media Relations.’ Adding these new ‘apps’ to your PR phone will help to set you up for the career you want to move towards.
Right now is an amazing time to develop a professional brand that reflects who you are and who you’re aspiring to be. During this season, take some time to really think about what makes you unique and then create branding for yourself based on those qualities. What does that look like? Create a logo with a signature color and design that is consistent throughout your professional documents. If purple is your color, then go for it. Incorporate it within your professional materials so that when a potential employer sees it, they already have a taste of who you are and what you’re going to bring to their company. From there, build a website and LinkedIn with that visual branding as well as language that clearly represents who you are as a professional.
When the world changes, new opportunities for innovation and creativity come to light. This is a great time to channel the entrepreneurial spirit of Walt Disney and try out some freelance work or even start your own business. Reach out to local businesses and offer your services or connect with nonprofits in your area. Do you have a passion for the music industry, travel and tourism, or mentorship? Start a blog, write articles, create a YouTube channel, or even design a social media account. Wherever that creative spark leads you…follow it.
This is a challenging season, so most importantly create the space that you need to unplug and take a break. Spend some time reflecting on where you’ve been and strategize where you want to go. Also, don’t forget to celebrate all that you have accomplished! If you graduated from college then celebrate. You had a great conversation with a mentor? Celebrate it. You discovered a new passion? Celebrate it.
I hope these tips will allow you to see your time at home from a new perspective. I know that all of you have bright futures and careers coming your way and I can’t wait to see you out in the field!
Chelsea Lomartire is a December 2019 graduate of Belmont University (Nashville, TN) with two Bachelor of Science degrees in public relations and entertainment industry studies. During her time in college, Lomartire served as the executive director of Belmont’s PRSSA Nationally-Affiliated Student-run Firm, Tower Creative Communications. She was also the recipient of the PRSA 2019 Nashville Scholarship and PRSSA 2019 Gold Key Award. Today Lomartire is a PRSA Associate Member and continues to cultivate her passion for creativity and innovation within the public relations industry through exploring new ways to bring stories to life. Connect with her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn.