As a budding PR professional who is still in school, I have quickly learned some of the characteristics that set one person apart from the rest. In a profession where an outgoing personality is vital and connections give you an advantage, here are some top tips that I’ve found public relations and communications students can use to break through:
1. Get Involved:
Clubs within the communications community offer a great deal of benefits. The Florida Public Relations Association Tallahassee Student Chapter provided me with networking opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise, as well as insights from Tallahassee’s finest PR Professionals. I have met so many professionals in the PR field who ultimately led me to my internship at Sachs Media Group. Whether your forte is writing, advertising, public affairs, or any other aspect of communications, there is a club for it – so join it! Being a member of these prestigious clubs does more than look great on your resume, it also teaches lessons that aren’t offered in the classroom.
2. INTERN, INTERN, INTERN:
Internship experiences are priceless. Whether you work at an agency or in-house with an organization, you will learn skills that aren’t typically taught in a classroom setting and you will get a realistic look at what life will be like post-graduation. By interning, you gain connections that will help provide you with opportunities in the future. Always apply for internships, even if you feel under-experienced, because there will always be a company willing to take a chance on you. (Thanks, SMG, for taking a chance on me!)
3. Take Advantage of Opportunity:
Whether it’s networking, a club meeting, or a career fair… do it! RSVP for the luncheon seminar, talk to your professor after class, whatever. Always go above and beyond. Going the extra mile in the field of communications can make all the difference. I had the opportunity recently to attend a networking trip through FPRA where we met with a variety of PR agencies in Tampa. On these trips, professionals at each agency and organization would share their success stories and give us tips on how to thrive in the field of communications.
4. Discover What You Love:
Communications has an endless number of opportunities and fields that will provide you with the challenge you want. With everything from government to fashion to health care, and in-house vs. agency positions, there is a plethora of opportunity. By interning at different firms or organizations and joining clubs, you can really get a feel for the niche you’re most interested in.
5. Believe in Yourself:
Confidence is key in the field of communications. A person who is ambitious, personable, and outgoing is what employers are looking for. Interviewing and networking with professionals deep into their careers can be intimidating, but learning to look past that and talking about yourself in the most positive, professional way can set you apart from the rest.
Mackenzie Greene is a public relations intern at Sachs Media Group. She is a junior at Florida State University studying public relations and serves on the board of the FPRA Tallahassee Student Chapter.