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.
By Latisha Ellison
When you land an internship you expect several, basic things to happen: you will improve and refine your skill set, you will expand your knowledge and you will be challenged with new and exciting opportunities. Something I didn’t expect to learn was that even though you may be the intern, you shouldn’t act like one.
From the moment I walked in the door at my summer internship, I felt like a part of the team. Yes, I was the intern, but I didn’t necessarily feel like the intern. I remember the first time my supervisor told a client, “I’m here with my coworker, Latisha,” and how important it made me feel. It was a small thing, but it made a huge impact on the way I continued to look at my role and the manner in which I conducted myself. Now, I may have just gotten really lucky to work at an amazing agency with great coworkers, but I think the three takeaways I learned can be used in any setting:
Don’t downplay your role
I remember saying to my friend, “Whatever, I’m just the intern,” and immediately wanting to slap myself because I was not “just the intern,” and neither are you. Interns are an important part of the team and we should acknowledge that. The work we do as interns is work that someone else would have to be doing if we weren’t there, so it is a big help to the supervisor. Sure, you might get stuck stuffing envelopes or transferring files one day, but someone has to do it, and that someone might be you. The company wouldn’t have an intern if it didn’t have work that needed to be done. You are valuable, and your work is valued and appreciated.
Work like an entry-level employee
People always tell you that you should treat your internship like a three to four month long job interview-- and they’re right. Show up to work with a smile on your face, ready to do your best work. Every assignment you turn in should be a reflection of your time and energy spent working on it. Show your supervisor you care about the work you’re doing and are applying her critiques with each new assignment. Take the initiative to ask those who might be on tight deadlines if they could use your help. When you work hard and show you care, people will notice.
Use your voice and be yourself
Like I said, treat your internship like a three to four month long job interview for not only yourself, but for the company too. Talk to your coworkers and ask questions to really understand what it means to work at your company and where it is headed. Speak up in team meetings when you don’t understand something or have an idea to share, it shows you care about understanding the company and its vision for the future. Most importantly, be yourself. Let your team know who you are and build relationships with those around you. Sure, they can be great connections down the road, but they could also become good friends. Ask those questions and build those relationships to help determine if this is somewhere you would want to be after graduation.
Internships are crucial to your professional development and it’s very important to complete at least one before graduation. Show up, speak up, work hard and show your team that you are more than “just the intern.”
By Audra Gormley
We see it everywhere. Brands are all over social media. It has become a key element in the success of companies’ branding, advertising, marketing and sales functions. As society increasingly embraces the use of social media as an important business channel, many more Business-to-Business (B2B) companies are jumping on board. I had an internship opportunity this summer with a global industrial/engineering based B2B company as a Social Media Intern. I was tasked with doing social media platform audits, building out its Instagram channel, and researching social media for business best practices.
After a whole summer working on the company’s profiles, I picked up some important lessons that I thought were important for my own personal profiles and thought I would share these more broadly.
Use these business tested best practices to boost your personal profile.
Bonus Tip: Just be sure that you are active on all of the social platforms that fit into your life or career. Example: If you are a photographer, it is probably a good idea to be promoting your work on channels like Instagram or Flickr.
There are always new things to learn about how to better your personal profiles. Creating an identity for ourselves online, in this digitally driven world, is vital to promoting our abilities, talents and skills. So maybe it’s time to reevaluate how you use your profiles using well tested practices from business.
By Taylor Pierce
Becoming a Victoria’s Secret PINK Campus Representative for Kent State is easily one of the best things to happen to me during my college years. I served as one of two Campus Reps for the 2016-2017 school year, and will continue to serve as one for this upcoming year. I am thrilled and so grateful for this experience, because it is truly unlike any other.
Victoria’s Secret PINK is a company that I’ve loved my entire life, and somewhere I could see myself working after graduation. Getting to be a PINK Campus Rep has been a dream come true, and has allowed me to learn about the brand in a whole new way. Being a rep allowed me to see how much work it takes to promote a new trend on campus and how much passion and creativity goes into everything the brand does. I have had so much fun hosting events, creating social media posts and engaging with girls on campus. This year I’m planning even more fun and new PINK ideas with my amazing new co-rep, Samantha Arslanian.
Samantha and I just attended the Victoria’s Secret PINK Brand Certification training in Columbus, Ohio last week and it truly was a dream. We got to attend a PINK Festival equipt with a ferris wheel, bounce house, ice cream and hair and face paint stands. Not to mention we all received PINK gift cards to shop the beautiful Easton store and snag the latest PINK styles. Oh and PINK model Zuri Tibby was there to hang out and take photos with. Totally casual.
On the second day of training we learned everything we need to know to be the best PINK Reps ever. I really valued this training, and found it very rewarding. It was great to hear from different PINK employees along with former PINK reps and interns. I always feel so inspired leaving this training, and valued beyond belief. That night we attended our very own PINK graduation, and shopped the PINK bus to score even more exclusives. Everything about brand certification felt like a dream.
Samantha and I will be recruiting a Campus Team this fall and will be looking for girls that are passionate about PINK to help us plan events and execute fun activities all school year long. We will post all about this on our social handles for those who are interested!
We are really eager and ready for the school year to start and are already planning fun ways to get Kent girls excited about the brand. We plan to have a super creative new way to get girls excited about PINK during Welcome Weekend, so be on the lookout for some cool surprises from us on campus. We are so happy to rep PINK this year and we can’t wait to be back on campus.
You can stay updated on everything PINK by following us on social media. Find us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat through the username ‘KentStatePINK’ to make sure you don’t miss out on all the fun events during the 2017-2018 school year.
By Charleah Trombitas
This year, PRSSA National Conference will be held in Boston, Massachusetts and runs from Oct. 6th to 10th. National Conference is open to all PRSSA members and even those who are non-members. It brings all of the chapters across the nation together to meet one another and talk about PR best practices. So, if you’re not sold already, here are five reasons you should attend conference:
All of the networking opportunities
Not only are there many successful professionals to network with, there are thousands of PRSSA members from across the country at your disposal. This is a great time to make friends and share expertise. You never know who may be able to help you in the future. If you’re a younger student, this is a great opportunity to shake some of the networking jitters and start shaking some hands!
The ability to bond with other PRSSA Kent members
It can be hard to form strong relationships with peers in your classes. Everyone is busy and always running to the next thing. Going to #PRSSANC is a great way to get to know your fellow classmates. This is a support system that will take you past graduation and into your first career.
Professional development is great for interviews
Being able to show an employer, whether for an internship or first job, that you care enough about your field to put in efforts to attend a conference is a big deal. Employers will see you as a go-getter and feel good about your capabilities. This is especially great if you are a freshman or sophomore. Professionals are blown away when they hear about ambitious young students taking the initiative to learn and grow as much as possible.
The programming for 2017 is amazing
If you haven’t already checked out all of the enriching programs planned for conference, take a look. If you’ve been to conference before, this year will be a whole new experience. So many influential PR professionals are taking time from their jobs to speak to students, it’s not an opportunity that should be easily passed up.
The planning support offered by PRSSA Kent
PRSSA Kent is lucky to have a chapter surrounded by supportive faculty and a supportive e-board. It’s easy to plan to go to conference with the help of fellow students and professors. Reimbursement for some travel expenses is also offered to members with 15 membership points. This helps take the financial burden out of the equation for students deciding whether to go to conference or not.
If National Conference sounds like something you’re interested in, please reach out to Charleah Trombitas at firstname.lastname@example.org. The registration deadline is SEPTEMBER 8TH! Remember to reach out and chat about conference whether you’re set on it or not. I hope to see you there!