When I was six-years-old, I would have never imagined that years later I would be asking Santa Claus for a new AP Stylebook or a fancy new set of business cards. The truth is, being a young professional isn’t always easy on the wallet. For most college students, its a struggle to feed themselves anything other than Ramen, yet alone find the cash to invest in a suit. With the holidays (and graduation) fast approaching, I have assembled what I like to call the “Ultimate PR Student Holiday Wishlist.”
1. AP Stylebook: Every PR pro needs to stay up-to-date on the latest with AP style. The bound version will cost anywhere from $13-20, or you can get an online annual subscription for only $25. (http://www.apstylebook.com/)
2. Premium Business Cards: Looking to grow your network? You’ll definitely want to have some business cards ready to hand out at the next professional mixer. Vistaprint is a great resource for business cards. You can either purchase free ones (just pay shipping) or you can upgrade to Premium starting at $19.95. Vistaprint is almost always running a special on discounted premium business cards so subscribe to their email list to hear the latest about special offers. (www.vistaprint.com)
3. Padfolio: When you are heading to your next interview and you find yourself whipping out a neon pink Five Star notebook (sounds like a situation I found myself in last year), you know its time to invest in a padfolio. They are a great way to add an extra professional touch, helping to make an even better first impression. There are a ton of places you can find an affordable padfolio, however Staples is always a great place to start. They offer padfolios ranging from $7 for the basics to $75 for the ultimate padfolio experience.
4. PRSA Membership: As someone who has been a member of PRSSA for four years, I have every intention of becoming a PRSA member upon graduation. I have reaped the benefits as a student and know that becoming a PRSA member will only help enhance my career with the many tools and resources it offers. Luckily for recent graduates, PRSA offers a very nice discount for anyone who was a PRSSA member during their time as an undergrad. As long as you have graduated within the past two years, you can become a member for only $60. (http://www.prsa.org/joinus)
5. Business Suit: As a freshman, khakis and a sweater may have done the job, but as someone preparing to enter the workforce, first impressions are everything and often times those first impressions come in the form of a suit. Suits can be incredibly expensive, however there are always sales and remember, its a long-term investment. Macy’s is a great place to start and often runs several discounts and sales, offering name brand, quality suits for a fraction of the price. For ladies, suits start at $40 and for men, suits start at $50.
6. Thank You Cards: Whether you are interviewing for an internship or a job, having an informational interview or chatting with a mentor, you always want to leave a lasting impression by sending a thank you card. Target is always my go-to place because they sell them cheap and in bulk. Prices range anywhere from $3-25.
7. Starbucks Gift Card: You’ve heard PR is one of the top caffeinated professions, right? There is nothing more jolly than a Starbucks gift card in a PR pro’s stocking. The great thing about it? Its reloadable! (https://www.starbucks.com/card)
8. Yearly Planner: There’s nothing that I love more than writing down everything I have to do and keeping it neatly organized (and often times color-coded). Check out OfficeMax for a wide selection of planners, ranging from $8 – 150, depending on how generous Santa is feeling.
9. Reading Material: As young PR pros, we should be constantly educating ourselves on an ever-evolving industry. I know many college students scoff at the idea of “leisurely reading” (who has time for that during the semester?) however, there are definitely some great reads to make time for. One book that I’m asking for this year is Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR by Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge. Buy it at Amazon for a discounted price of $18.78.
10. A home-cooked meal and a good night’s sleep: That’s right. Sometimes its as simple as a comforting plate of your favorite meal and a good night’s rest over the holiday break that will help you clear your mind, relax a little and wake up even more prepared to conquer the world. Although many of us like to think we’re unstoppable, sometimes its important to stop once and a while and just relax. Put down the smartphone…Twitter will be there in the morning, and your inbox full of emails can wait. Take some time this holiday season to rest up, because I’m sure you’ll be plenty busy once the semester resumes in January.
Are there any items on your PR holiday wish list not included here? Please share and let us know!