As a student you commit a large amount of time and energy to get a degree that sets your course for the future. Many variables affect your potential success–exposure to the profession you’re pursuing, what you learned in college, and how you apply real life experiences to your job search.
Bottom line, graduates who have been involved in relevant PR activities move up the career ladder much faster than those lacking such experience. And individuals with networking skills and experience have far better chances of being discovered. Here are five ways students can gain an incredible amount of experience in the PR field:
- Familiarize. Read blogs and take in all the information about PR that you can get your hands on. Allow yourself to take advantage of social media and follow key industry influencers on Twitter and Facebook. Knowledge is power and the more you know about PR and its effect on organizations will allow you to engage in a better targeted job search campaign.
- Build a portfolio. A portfolio will give you something to put together to utilize your very best work. The more interesting you can make your work, the more likely you will impress potential employers or clients. E-portfolios are replacing traditional hard copy ones, but both are still necessary.
- Internships. Internships are the single strongest contributor to success in the PR field. An internship doesn’t guarantee a job afterwards, but it allows you to get the qualifications and a strong reference that can lead to potential work. There is nothing that shows people that you are capable of sacrifice like a non-paid internship where you go and make a huge difference by the time your time there is finished.
- Comment on articles. Find articles that are relevant to your field of business and begin to engage with them. Interact with the community, don’t just observe. The more you have to say, the more feedback you will gain.
- LinkedIn. LinkedIn has become the essential networking tool. It’s a one-stop center for employers and employees alike. You’re able to network directly within a particular job category. Groups are established in which you can post directly to them with the chance that your words and opinions are noticed by the right people.
PR is a career that requires a strong network, so start early to develop your personal contacts. By investing time in building your network, you’ll develop contacts, friendships and mentors that will help you achieve career success.
Richard McMunn writes about careers and recruitment.
4 thoughts on “5 Ways Students Can Gain Experience in PR Field”
I recently created a LinkedIn account and am applying for internships now. What is the best way to get my name out there and become noticeable on these networks and in a resume for an internship?
Start by connecting with people you know well, then expand to those you have met. Forget about connecting with peopole you don’t know. In all cases, avoid using the generic “Please add me to your professional network” message. Personalize your invitation. Many professionals don’t accept LinkedIn requests from people who fail to personalize the invitation message.
I am wanting to build a portfolio but I don’t a lot of experience. Could I include some of my projects and papers from school?
Yes, by all means, your portfolio can include school projects. Most intern and entry-level candidates include a considerable amount of class projects in their ePortfolios. Of course, it also helps to have “real world” examples of volunteer work and other relevant projects.