By Lauren Garczynski
Anyone who knows me is aware of my passion for all things politics. So you can imagine how ecstatic I was this summer when I had the opportunity to intern at a research and publishing non profit in the center of all things political, Washington D.C. If there was any doubt in my mind that PRSSA did not apply to the real world, it quickly vanished after my first day of work.
Networking is important, and in a big city, you can find opportunities almost anywhere
As someone who is entering her third year of being a PR major, I have constantly heard how important networking is. However, this is something that I’m not fully accustomed to yet. To my surprise, D.C. was and continues to be a stomping ground for networking opportunities. During my time there, I found that I was able to take what networking experience and knowledge I had gained through PRSSA and put it into action.
One event in particular in late July, hosted by Lauren Berger – better known as the Intern Queen, introduced a variety of panelists representing Under Armour to the Smithsonian Museums. The event was an incredible networking opportunity where I was able to exchange business cards with tons of other PR majors from across the country, including a girl from California! This was incredible, because of this networking experience, I was able to connect and share stories with someone from a state I had never even been to.
So how did PRSSA apply to my internship? Well here are a just a couple of the many ways:
For example, there was no strict dress code where I worked, while you were expected to not come in looking like a mess, this was common knowledge among the employees. One day, a representative from Women Make Movies, a nonprofit that aims to support and facilitate media made by women, showed up at the office. I always tried to dress at least business casual for work, and because of this, I was able to communicate with her without fearing that my appearance was holding me back from making a good first impression.
Luckily for me, my mentor now works in D.C. and we were able to hang out, talk about work, and do exciting city explorations such as seeing a free show at the Kennedy Center. While you can’t exactly force a mentorship, programs like PR Pals are extraordinary because it helps facilitate the initiation of that mentee/mentor relationship.
Being in Washington D.C. this summer felt like a dream, and having been a member for a while now, I can say that I’m grateful that PRSSA allowed me and possibly you to be prepared for the PR professional world.
By Nicole Zahn
When students enter college, their first thought may be that they will be taking classes and doing school work….and that’s all. For some students, this may be the case; however, it may not be what’s best.
If there is one thing I’ve learned throughout my three years at Kent State is to GET INVOLVED. I cannot express how important this small piece of advice can benefit a student in the future.
For public relations students, our potential employers want to see our resumes filled with hands-on learning and experiences. They want to see that you did much more than simply go to class, study, pass an exam and eat Chipotle. They want to see that you utilized university resources available to you and took the initiative to get your foot in the door.
Not sure how to become involved? Follow these few tips:
Step outside your comfort zone
By doing this, you’re opening the door to a world of opportunities for yourself. My first week at Kent State I was eager to learn, meet new people and find out what this school had to offer. As fearless as this may sound, I wondered how I would eventually find my niche. I told myself to get my butt out the door and go join something! I auditioned for TV2 (nearly cried because I had no clue how to be a meteorologist) and to my surprise, became a news anchor. After that, everything was a breeze. I joined PRSSA, took on leadership roles, joined dance teams, and much more. Once I broke out of my shell and stepped up to each plate, I met more people and became known throughout JMC. If you want to break out of your shell, you can! Don’t be afraid because college is the time to meet new people and join new things.
Network, Network, Network
It’s not always about simply meeting people, it’s about continuing the relationships with those you meet. Meeting new people is the number one way to find new opportunities. Attend career fairs, go to networking events (Communications Connection and YouToo Social Media Conference are right around the corner!), join clubs even if you think they may not be for you because you never know who you will meet. I never really cared for career fairs because I’ve always thought “there are over 500 students here how could I ever stand out?!” but I decided to go last year and guess what…I now have an internship with FedEx! I also met the HR coordinator for the marketing agency, AKHIA, at a networking event and never thought much of it afterward. One day, I decided to reach out to her for a simple coffee. I now have a connection who checks up on me and informs me about upcoming job shadow or internship opportunities. Many students receive jobs and internships just by making connections and staying in contact with those connections.
Freshman can be leaders too
Just because it is your first year in college does not mean older students are any better than you are. We are all on our own paths at our own paces. My freshman year I ran for VP of Fundraising with no background of fundraising or event planning. I just wanted to learn more and not sit in the corner of a beneficial organization. After giving my nervous speech, I was elected the position and could not believe it. From then on, it’s as if more and more opportunities and tasks came my way just from that one decision. Taking on a leadership role sets you apart from many of your peers because you show that you have a willingness to learn and grow. You will stand out to your professors and learn more about your major outside of the classroom at an early stage.
I can truly say I’m grateful for every opportunity that has come my way. If I never joined PRSSA, went to Blastoff, joined dance teams, or applied for leadership roles, I wouldn’t have made half the connections I’ve formed. Always accept opportunities and tasks even if they don’t seem like they will be beneficial. By doing this, you will meet people, stand-out among your peers and professors, and most importantly, have the experience and skills to add to your resume for a stronger future.