If I have learned anything about public relations thus far, it’s that the most important tool for success in this field is networking. Building and maintaining relationships with public relations specialists not only gives you exposure to the field, but for a college student like me it also helps develop connections that can be invaluable when I transition from student to professional.
That’s why I spent time during my first semester as a public relations major at Florida State University writing for the FSView & Florida Flambeau campus newspaper, interning at Sachs Media Group, and joining the student chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association, or FPRA.
Sachs Media Group has a reputation as being among the best integrated communications firms in Florida – a well-earned reputation, I have learned. Through my internship, I have honed my public relations skills so that I am able to network more confidently knowing I am gaining the skills to back up my resume.
My Sachs Media colleagues are the ones who encouraged me to make a point of getting more involved with the FPRA student chapter, an organization many of them were a part of during their time as undergraduates. Their encouragement and dedication to my professional growth pushed me to attend biweekly FPRA meetings and eventually sign up for a chapter trip to visit the public relations community in Atlanta.
The Atlanta trip could not have come at a more ideal time; I had already developed a solid network in Tallahassee and had been interning for two months at Sachs Media, whose strength is its diverse team of professionals who are experts at so many different essential skills. Working with them gave me a good understanding of my strengths and weaknesses as a beginning PR practitioner, and now it could all be put to the test visiting a variety of agencies in Atlanta.
From boutique agencies where one account manager might have up to 20 clients to huge agencies with only a few big-name clients, the FPRA Atlanta trip exposed me to the many possible rhythms of a public relations office. Experiencing the dynamic of a variety of agencies is essential to finding out how you fit into the industry, and after the Atlanta trip I know I’m one step closer to figuring that out for myself.
Since the start of the fall semester, my network has grown exponentially. Through my involvement, I am able to regularly take advantage of opportunities to connect with alumni, professors, and members of the Tallahassee community, both within the public relations field and beyond.
Where I was an unknown to the public relations sphere just a few months ago, I now have the confidence and skill set to see how public relations can benefit people who need some assistance – and to see how I will be able to play a role in making that happen.