Communications Connection, a networking event planned and hosted by PRSSA Kent and AAF Kent, lured more than 60 students and nearly 20 area professionals ready to engage in conversation. PRSSA Intercampus Liaison Cindy Deng and AAF president Caitlin Kelley took the lead in planning the event with the assistance of PRSSA/PRSA Liaison Madalyn Etzel and AAF Communications Director Kacey Hocking.
Professionals led roundtable discussions sharing career guidance with students based on his or her experience and interests. PRSSA member Samantha Tuly said she loved attending the event.
“It served as an incredible opportunity for students looking to make beneficial connections,” Tuly said.
Some topics covered were Using Social Media for Business, Building Your Personal Brand Online & Offline and How to Shine In An Interview. PRSSA and AAF officers and members shared a few of their own key takeaways from the event.
Students also participated in an résumé review session. Account manager Mike Campana from Hitchcock Fleming & Associates; and vice president of Human Resources Lori Hedrick and management supervisor Jason Schafer from Marcus Thomas shared valuable insight on how to improve one’s résumé.
Chris Baldwin, principal at True Digital Communications, said he was impressed with how Communications Connection continues to grow each year.
“One of the biggest benefits to Kent State communication students is the school's close relationship to Northeast Ohio professionals,” Baldwin said. “It's great to hear their questions while explaining the opportunities and challenges we face as professionals every day.”
Deng said most of the attendee evaluations rated the event a solid ‘5,’ which was the highest rating available. She said nothing is more satisfying than seeing students eager to learn more about their careers just like she did when she first attended the event as a freshman last year.
“There’s always something new every year,” Deng said. “I’m glad I could personally share that same awe-inspiring experience I had with the new crowd this year.”
Five PRSSA Kent officers attended the 2012 PRSSA National Conference in San Francisco, Calif. this year. Trenton Chavez (VP of Membership), Stephanie Black (VP of Public Relations), Christine Morgan (President), Hallie Pendergast (Secretary) and Ryan Collins (Online Media Manager). Learn more about the attendees and all of our officers here.
We'll be periodically posting key takeaways from our experience in San Francisco, and our fourth post is from Ryan Collins:
What’s not to love about San Francisco?
SF is teeming with energy. It’s a positive, diverse place, and PRSSA could not have picked a better place to host this year’s national conference! PRSSA Kent stood out nationally and made its mark by winning awards and live-tweeting the sessions we attended.
With five officers in the city for five days, we came back to Kent brimming with takeaways to pass along.
As PRSSA Kent’s online media manager, I’m in charge of our Web presence and making sure our Twitter account is a beneficial resource for all PRKent students. To that end, I made sure to attend the social media ethics session.
The industry experts taught the attendees to:
This conference was certainly a highlight of my time as a PRSSA officer and PRKent student. I hardly slept, but I learned so much and grew closer to the officers who traveled with me.
Thank you PRSSA and San Francisco!
Meghan Caprez is a sophomore public relations major hoping to minor in both business and theatre management. She has worked as a public relations and marketing assistant in the College of Communication and Information's Dean’s office since January 2012. Caprez previously interned as a communications assistant at the Akron Civic Theatre, and she was the performing arts reporter for the Summer Kent Stater. One day, she hopes to be a public relations practitioner for a major theatre company.
Caprez worked with the PRSSA Kent homecoming committee during the fall 2012 semester. She was in charge of making calls to local businesses to remind them of the event and ask if they would donate to the chapter’s silent auction. On homecoming weekend, she helped set up and run the auction Friday evening. She also took photos and video.
She is also on the Communications Connection committee, and she is currently in charge of the social media subcommittee. With six helpers, her team is generating buzz about the event online.
“Being on committees like these really enhances my college experience. I think 50 percent of what you learn is in the classroom, and 50 percent is what you learn through experience. Fundraising and event planning are two aspects of public relations I hadn’t necessarily explored before joining these committees, and I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to dive into them in college. It gave me a better idea of what area of public relations I’d like to go into when I graduate,” Caprez said.
“PRSSA helps foster relationships between Kent students and professionals we will work with in the future,” Caprez said. “It also gives students the opportunity to gain out-of-the-classroom, real-world experience in certain aspects of public relations through the different events and committees open to us.”
Learn more about joining a PRSSA Kent committee here.
Five PRSSA Kent officers attended the 2012 PRSSA National
Conference in San Francisco, Calif. this year. From left:
Christine Morgan (President), Ryan Collins (Online Media Manager), Stephanie Black (VP of Public Relations), Hallie Pendergast (Secretary) and Trenton Chavez (VP of Membership). Learn more about the attendees and all of our officers here.
We'll be periodically posting key takeaways from our experience in San Francisco, and our second post is from Trenton Chavez:
5 Tips for Breaking into the Professional World
Transitioning from a student to a full-time position in your industry can be daunting, but there are steps you can take to help make it easier, a Public Relations Student Society of America National Conference panel
Although these tips were from a public relations conference, they are applicable for all career paths.
1. Don’t “live in a box”
Students often go into the professional world with a fantasy of working in a specific sector, such as fashion. However, this limits the opportunities that they may find valuable, said Sarah Siewert, senior account executive, Public Communications Inc.
E. Ronald Culp, senior vice president and managing director, Ketchum Midwest, said young professionals should learn
all the tasks in public relations, not just the “glamour jobs.”
Although your local not-for-profit organizations may not be as “glamorous,” don’t discount them. These organizations usually offer awesome experiences for entry-levels.
2. Realize the job search is not about you
While starting their careers, students often apply aimlessly at many companies and organizations. However, you have to realize that the position that needs filled is about the companies’ needs, not yours. Also, make sure it’s a good mutual fit, or you won’t be happy.
Because the position is about the company, it may not be a good immediate fit. Therefore, get connected and stay connected. You can never have “too many contacts!”
“A public relations professional is only as good as his or her contacts—media, vendors, and peers. Sitting in an
office won’t get you where you need to be if you want to impact your business,” said Gary McCormick, APR, director of public relations, Scripps Emerging Networks. “Reach out, find a mentor and become a part of the community, the industry and the profession.”
3. Know your worth
Realizing your worth can help you dodge opportunities that won’t help you in the long run. During a
presentation during the 2012 PRSSA National Conference, a student asked when it was the right time to disregard unpaid positions and pursue paid positions.
“Know your worth. Know your characteristics that make you stand out. Don’t settle, and don’t sell yourself short,” said Brandi Boatner, digital experience manager, IBM Global Technology Services.
On the contrary, don’t be greedy, either. Remember, it’s not all about the money.
“Money isn’t everything. You have to love what you do,” said Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora.
4. Make effective goals
Making professional goals can help you stay on track and motivated, Boatner said.
For example, make a promotional goal. Boatner made a goal of becoming a manager within five years, and she did. She
said the goal helped her accomplish that.
5. Embrace change
Public relations, along with other industries, is a field that will rapidly change for years to come.
Keep up on the news of the industry to remain competitive. This will help you support the changes of your organization.
According to McCormick, the one leading the change will be the true public relations professional.
Also, don’t disregard positions in other cities. Although it may be scary to move, there will always be other
young professionals in the area to network with.
Do you have any tips for emerging professionals? How are you preparing for the working world?