By Meghan Caprez
PRSSA National Conference is an amazing opportunity to explore the different industries you can be part of as a public relations professional. A lot of people tend to be unsure where they want to end up after graduation, but I’ve known since I decided on public relations as my undergraduate major that I wanted to work in the entertainment industry. Thankfully, I was able to attend a session entitled, “Y’allywood: The Hollywood of the South” at National Conference, where two incredible professionals offered advice about preparing for a career in entertainment PR.
Nikki Barjon of The Barjon Group and Nicole Garner Scott of The Garner Circle LLC made it clear that working in the entertainment industry is tough, and they offered the following three tips to break into the career of your dreams.
While your formal education is important, Garner said an internship is the best way to train for your career. The more internship experience you have in the industry you’re looking to enter, the bigger the leg up you’ll have when you get to the “real world.”
Don’t be afraid to go for the big internships, either. If you want to work at Disney, intern at Disney or at a company that does something similar to it.
2. Take the Right Courses
It can sometimes be difficult to deviate from your program’s roadmap, but use your elective credits to your benefit. Want to work in the fashion industry? Take some classes in Kent State’s fashion program, ranked fourth in the nation. Want to work in performing arts PR? Take a theatre management class. Set yourself up for success by laying your foundation of knowledge in the industry you’re most interested in.
Networking is critical to our success in public relations. We hear this all the time, but what does it really mean? Networking means building give-and-take relationships, and Barjon reminds students that it is important to give.
Barjon said a good example of a student wanting to network will say, “I know Martin Luther King III is your client, and Martin Luther King Day is coming up. Can I volunteer at any events to learn more and see what you do?” That way, they are helping her at an event as well as making connections with her and her team.
In entertainment, it is easy for egos to get in the way of learning and growing. So when you’re approaching professionals in the industry – whether it’s at an internship, in the classroom or while you’re networking – take everything you think you know more than other people, and throw it out.
“Empty yourself like a cup full of water,” Barjon said. “If there’s so much of you in the cup, it will overflow.”
To see the full presentation of “Y’allywood: The Hollywood of the South,” visit http://prssa.prsa.org/events/Conference/Program/2015Presentations/GarnerPresentation.pdf.