Yesterday during Temple PRSSA’s general meeting, members were given the opportunity to ask questions to former chapter members who have found great success in their post-graduate careers. The panel featured former PRSSA presidents Lindsay Bues (Public Relations Coordinator at Philabundance) and Jessica Lawlor (Internal Communication Coordinator at Cancer Treatment Centers of America) as well as former PRowl Account Executive Brianna Fisher (Account Coordinator at Vault Communications) and former PRowl Assistant Firm Director Melissa Marsili (Partnership Marketing Associate at The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce).
Sitting in the same seats that these graduates were sitting in only a year or so ago, the panel provided students with invaluable information about what to expect after college life and how to prepare for our future careers. Topics discussed included social media, job searching advice and important tips after securing your first job. Although everything discussed was valuable, I will provide some of the key concepts I took away from the panel:
Social Media (and its many uses):
– Although we are taught in class how quickly social media is evolving, it is still important to understand that not everyone is evolving with it. Future clients may be apprehensive about establishing themselves on these networks and it is important to not only understand how to use social media but to be able to explain the importance and investment social media will have on their business.
– It is important to look at your own social media sites as a form of personal branding. Professionals are looking into potential prospects via Facebook and Twitter, therefore make updates and posts that will make yourself look more valuable to professionals. A great way to do this is participating in Twitter chats where you are able to establish yourself as a voice of knowledge and authority while connecting with voices of influence in the field.
Job Searching Advice:
-Always stay in touch with previous internship contacts and professors in order to build your networking base. Whether it is sending an occasional email or meeting up for coffee, building your relationship with these professionals will not only allow you to continue expanding your knowledge of the field but it will also help to have a strong network when looking for employment.
-In your resume, avoid listing assignments that you were responsible for. All professionals in the field of public relations write press releases, pitch stories, compile media lists and manage social media channels. Instead of listing responsibilities, highlight achievements and provide specific quantifiable data that will show your potential employer your success with various assignments.
-Even if a job listing states that it requires 2-3 years of experience, submit your resume and cover letter anyway, explaining and highlighting in detail through your internship and work experiences why you are still qualified for the position.
Tips for Your First Job:
-Deadlines are crucial in the field of public relations and often times it is easy to become overwhelmed with the large amount of work that needs to be accomplished in a short amount of time. Make organized to-do lists that prioritize what tasks needs to be accomplished first, ensuring that you are managing your time most effectively.
-Always follow-up with supervisors about tasks and assignments that have longer-term deadlines. Send an email at the beginning of each week to inform your boss about what projects you are currently working on, what projects you will be beginning in the near future and asking any questions to clarify assignments that you may not have fully understood.
-Become familiar with reporters and the stories that they cover. This will make it easier to pitch a story when you are aware of the writer’s interests. Additionally, work to develop symbiotic relationships with these reporters for future pitches and stories.
Thank you again to all of the wonderful alumni that attended yesterday’s panel for sharing great insight and advice!