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?