Summer is over. Time to get back to work—especially if you are a student or young professional pursuing a career in public relations.
This time of year provides endless opportunities to engage in events, activities and organizations that expand your network and future job prospects.
If you are in college, there is no excuse for not joining PRSSA – Public Relations Student Society of America. If there isn’t a chapter on your campus, start one. Recruiters and hiring managers tell me that PRSSA involvement catches their eyes when reviewing resumes. If you’re a recent graduate, join your local PRSA chapter—even if you have to drive to a nearby city to attend a meeting. In Chicago, there are other organizations you should check out, such as Publicity Club of Chicago and Business Marketing Association. Every major city has similar organizations that provide regular educational programs while encouraging networking opportunities.
Don’t wait to be invited. I was impressed to meet students from Northern Illinois, Valparaiso University, DePaul and Indiana University at recent PCC meetings. And several of the students made great impressions as they met potential future employers and other pros. And those students wisely followed up with personalized, non-generic LinkedIn requests where they mentioned meeting us at the meeting, resulting in a guaranteed memorable impression.
Finally, branch out and attend events hosted by business organizations that are mentioned in your local newspapers or business magazines. You score points by showing interest in the topics and your presence usually draws favorable impressions from regular attendees. Find extra-curricular activities that interest you and get involved. Both you and your career will benefit from the experience.