Advice for PR and Journalism Students

Advice for PR Journalism StudentsI recently heard from an old friend (a former CMO) who is now a lecturer at a university up in British Columbia. She dropped me a line to let me know she was happy to see I was blogging again, because she thinks my posts are relevant for her students. I believe they had to take a quiz about one of my recent posts. Nothing makes me want to write more than hearing somebody learned something from one of my posts. For that, I thank all of you.

Over the course of the past couple of years, I’ve heard from a dozen or so other professors who have done the same thing – encouraged their students to read Journalistics. That’s nothing short of awesome in my book. Since my friend reminded me of this all-too-important audience segment, I figured it only fitting to write a post just for you (the college student reading this post right now).

Here’s a list of the things I wish somebody had told me when I was studying in college (or not studying if you want to know the truth). The list also includes some new additions – things I wish people would tell students today, that weren’t necessarily relevant when I was in school (but are more appropriate for this generation). Finally, there are some things on this list that I was probably told, but didn’t listen to at the time. If you suspect you fit into this last category, I encourage you to pay attention this one time to what you are reading. [Read more…]

Skills Entry-Level PR Hires Should Have

starting lineThree months from now, the class of 2013 will walk across the stage to collect their diplomas and immediately have a panic attack when they realize it’s time to look for that first job out of college. First, let me give you a piece of advice – you have the rest of your life to work, take the summer and explore the world if you have that luxury. That’s something I wish I had done (I started my first job the day after graduation).

For those of you that need to get a job – you know, like yesterday – I thought it would be helpful to share my perspective on the skills I believe most employers are looking for in a PR hire. The reality is, if you’re a recent grad and don’t have these skills, you’ll have a harder time finding that first job. If you’re an undergraduate, learn from this post – so you’ll be in a better place 2, 3 or 4 years from now. [Read more…]

What Led You to PR or Journalism?

how did you end up in pr or journalism?Time for some reminiscing. Think back (for some of you, think way, way back). What led you to PR or journalism? Did you know you wanted to work in PR or journalism before college, or did you discover the field later in life? If the latter, what did you do before?

If I’m asking you to share your story, it’s only fair I share mine. I wrote for my high school newspaper and loved it. I edited our class yearbook in high school and loved it. I even spent my free time at home working on an underground newspaper (much harder in the days of typewriters) – which I also loved. [Read more…]

What to Do At the End of Your Internship

Did you do an internship this summer? If so, congrats, you’re a smart cookie. Internships are 100% the #1 thing you’ll need on your resume to get that first job after college. The #2 thing you’ll need is proof you can write – guess where you get that writing experience? Yep… internships. To round out the list – and some will disagree with me on this – the #3 thing you need to get a job after college is connections. Again, if you play your cards right, you get some through internships.

If you did just put your internship to bed, or you’re about to, there are a few things I’d like you to do on your way out the door: [Read more…]

How PR Students Can Improve Their Marketability

You want to get a job after school, right? Well you need work experience, which often comes in the form of internships. In case you haven’t figured this out yet, it’s not easy for undergrads to find the right internship – or any internship for that matter.

For those of you lucky enough to find internships, you’ll often find yourself working for little or no pay. Since most of us need money during and after college, that can be pretty tricky. It’s a catch 22 that plagues undergrads and recent grads – you need work experience to get a job, but that experience is hard to come by.

Regardless of your level of success finding and landing internships or that first PR job, there are always ways to add to your resume and portfolio and make yourself a more marketable public relations professional. Here are a few suggestions I have found helpful so far: [Read more…]

The Best Four Years: Advice for College Students

It is often said that college is the best four years of your life. In my opinion, the “best” years of anyone’s life are something that is left to self interpretation.

As I enter my senior year, I find myself thinking a lot about what I’ve accomplished so far, and the things I wish I had done so far in college.

I know I can’t do everything, but I’ve never regretted a decision to take on a new opportunity.

The best decision I made in college was to join my campus chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). I have been able to network with the best and brightest students in the field, learn from knowledgeable and distinguished professionals, gain experience through internships, and enhance my leadership skills.

If I could give one piece of advice to any college student, it is to join a professional organization that relates to their major. The commitment of a few hours a week will pay off in so many ways when it is time to enter the real world. [Read more…]

Student Run PR Firms: The Dos and Don’ts

When I heard about the opportunity to join Penn State’s first and only student-run public relations firm at our first PRSSA meeting last fall, I jumped at the chance. The opportunity has paid off. Doing public relations for businesses in downtown State College has been a great experience that has not only built up my resume, but also has given me more confidence in my current internship because of my experience working with real clients.

However, my first year working with a student-run PR firm as an account associate definitely wasn’t always easy. We had clients who didn’t have enough for us to do, didn’t respond to our calls, or simply decided they didn’t need us after all.

Next fall, I’ll take over as Director of Business Affairs for Happy Valley Communications and am looking forward to the increased responsibility.

For those of you thinking about getting involved with a student-run PR firm, here are some dos and don’ts based on my experience thus far: [Read more…]

The Undergraduate’s Guide to Landing a Job in PR

In today’s economy, your odds of landing a job could be comparable to winning the lottery. Five years ago, landing a decent job after college was not that hard, as long as you had a degree. At least that’s what a lot of us think. Today, recent graduates are struggling to land not only a decent job, but any job at all.

In discussions with other graduates who have successfully landed a job after college, here is a guide to some ‘hidden secrets’ you may find useful when you begin searching for your dream job: [Read more…]