By Emily Glatt
Heather Harder, Account Executive, Prosek Partners
Brian Price, Digital Marketing Manager, Starwood Retail Partners
Nick Lucido, Senior Accountant Supervisor, Krispr Communication
Moderator: Jessica Noonan, Group Manager, Weber Shandwick
Have you ever wondered where the PR degree can take you? What is it like outside of college in the "big bad world?” At PRSSA National Conference, four professionals sat down and gave all the attendees insight on what it’s like after college and where a PR degree can take you. Also, they gave advice on how to manage in the world and how to step out of the bubble of college. The entire session was about making our own agenda and allowed students to go up and ask questions to the professionals.
How do you network to find a job?
Brian Price, Digital Marketing Manager for Starwood Retail Partners, suggested to always follow up on your networks and possibly try to network through your network. By getting them to introduce you to other people in the field, you have more networking opportunities.
How do you find a job that you love?
Heather Harder, an account executive at Prosek Partners, gave advice to always try new experiences and opportunities. She had talked about a personal experience when she had gone to a non-profit agency and how she was not excited about it. However, she learned from that experience that she actually loved non-profit. She also learned that starting small and building up a reputation can go a long way into getting those bigger corporate jobs. Heather stated that you should be inspired and never stop dreaming big. By always being inspired and willing to better yourself, you can make those changes. She said, "Don't be afraid to admit that what you want is not what you have--- make the change." Never be okay with settling and always try and try to be happy with your career. Never feel discouraged if you are not immediately in that place, but rather work hard to get to where you want.
How has your experience in PRSSA helped you after graduation?
All four professionals had talked about how PRSSA has really helped that move ahead in the world and how it has helped them get internships and networking experience. Nick talked about how you should always take advantage of that membership. Use it as a tool to get the one up in a very competitive world. He says that PRSSA can help you get any job by contacting other PRSSA members or alumni and getting internships through that.
How do you go from a small school in Ohio to a big city like New York, LA, Chicago etc.?
First the professionals said that big cities mean big agencies and to be ready for competition and rejection. However, they said it was very doable to move to a new city right out of college.
The tips they gave to make it better was:
Do you need a master's degree?
Nick Lucido had reassured all our fears when he said NO YOU DO NOT NEED A MASTERS DEGREE IN PR. He talks about how employers look more for experience rather than how many years you’ve gone to school. However, he did suggest that if you are financially capable and feel that graduate school is your calling, then go for it. Though, to get a first job, you will not need more than a bachelor's degree. He also went on to say that maybe when you are done with your first job then you can go back, but it is not expected of you.
Do you have advice for job interviews and moving into the business world?
The pros said that you should always try to talk about the things you learned from an old job and not about what you did. They also suggested to never say anything negative in a job interview. You don't need to tell them about the secrets and the "behind the scenes" of a program that you were a part of.
When should I start looking for internships or jobs?
Brian Price said to look for jobs right before the summer and, if you are graduating, right before graduation. He meant that you should be doing so a month ahead of time. He says this is the most beneficial because those are hiring right away. If you try to get a job too early, you may not be hired because the company or agency is looking for someone who can work immediately . They also said only to send out three applications to places because you do not want to be overbooked. You really should focus on your one main job that you want; to give all your time and energy to ensure you can get it.
The pros also advise to never be scared to apply for a job because of the experience requirements. They quoted the old saying of "It is quality over quantity". However, they did bring up the harsh reality that you will not always get the job and try to not get to discouraged about a job you didn't get. This is because many companies may be asking for a job that requires you to have loads of experience and some are much more strict about this than others. You can still go for it, but be ready for any answer.
Their final tip was to always seek out mentors and mentees because someday a mentor will help you in more ways then you know. They can help with your resume or they can go as far as helping you get a job. Also, you should try to have multiple mentors to get multiple pieces of advice and insight. This many insights can only help you. Another thing they encouraged was for you to become a mentor to younger people especially when you have left college and gone to a new job. Teach others the things your mentors taught you and help them. When asked where to find a mentor, they said they could do it through PRSSA and PRSA. In PRSA, they have a mentor program. They also talk about how anyone signed up for that is more than willing to help PRSSA members get to where they want.
Do you have any final thoughts or advice?
Emily Glatt is a freshman public relations major at Kent State. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.