During my first Introduction to Public Relations class with Temple University Professor Bruce Hardy, the first thing he ever said was,
“If you learn one thing in my class let it be this: life is always fixable, you are your own and most important client and make the world a better place.”
Taking time to make yourself your best and most important client can be a difficult task if you are not sure where to start or what this even means. To sum it up, the best person to represent you is you ― so why not take the steps needed to make you stand out?
The best way to begin personal branding is online. Upon receiving your application, employers will search for you on Google. This is where you can show-off yourself and your brand. Create a website that includes a little bit about you to show employers who you are, your resume, your portfolio and writing samples. Some great websites to use are WordPress, Wix and Weebly.
Social media also plays a large component in a personal brand. Think of social media as a tool to connect with like-minded individuals and share articles and information that is relevant to your perspective field. Employers will find your social media when searching for you and you want to make sure there is nothing there that you do not want them to find.
Attend Networking Events
Networking events are not only a great way to meet others, but they exemplify your dedication to meet those who are in careers you hope to have one day. Attending networking events allows you the opportunity to sell yourself to different companies and agencies. Be sure to bring copies of your resume and business cards to hand out to potential employers. Even if there are no positions open at the time, they’ll have your information on hand should a position open. Although they may seem intimidating, networking events are a great place to impress employers with your dedication to your professional life.
Visit your professor during office hours
Professors have office hours for a reason and that reason is solely to help you. Whether you stop by their office to get clarification on a concept taught in class or want to review your resume, take advantage of the hours they have to help you. Office hours provide you with the opportunity for your professor to get to know you on a personal level. You never know when you will need a recommendation letter or help securing an internship. Not only does your professor get the chance to know you outside of class, but it also shows how dedicated you are to your academics and professional goals.
Join pre-professional clubs
Pre-professional student organizations such as PRSSA or PRowl Public Relations are great ways to meet other students with similar career goals and interests. Student organizations are often the easiest place to build connections. Meetings are full of students with similar interests, as well as guest speakers that can be resources in the future when looking for internships. Taking the initiative to join pre-professional organizations will show employers your dedication and commitment to the field.
Take classes outside of your major
Regardless of your major, there are mandatory elective credits you must fulfill in order to graduate. Diversifying your course load is a great way to expand your network. Taking a Media Studies and Production class will introduce you to future producers, while taking a Journalism class will introduce you to future reporters ― both are fields that you will have constant contact with as a public relations professional. Building your network now, will pay off in the future. You never know when you might need to contact a producer at a news station or send a pitch to a reporter. Taking classes other majors offer not only expands your network, but also shows your commitment to learn more about other fields which will make you a more valuable asset to the team you will be working for one day.