Our public relations team welcomed York College of Pennsylvania (YCP) students to the office yesterday for a Lunch and Learn session to share professional tips on all things PR, from interviewing and getting started to creating media relationships and understanding the overall ‘PR life.’ A huge shout-out goes to YCP Alumni for hosting the event and for giving us the opportunity to provide some inspiration and direction to our future PR professionals!
If you’re a college student studying public relations, marketing or anything in the field of communications … take notes. We’re highlighting some of the key secrets to success, when it comes to interviewing, landing a job and getting started as a PR pro.
Before graduation …
- Network. Intern. Volunteer. Take opportunities to get out in the community, to gain experience and to meet industry professionals who are already out in the ‘real world.’ You never know who you’ll meet and what relationships you’ll gain when putting yourself out in the public.
- Check your social status. We’re talking social media. Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? Is your Facebook profile photo one you’d want an employer to see? Do your tweets reflect your everyday language and how you communicate with others? Social media platforms can serve as first impressions of yourself before you’ve even had the chance to meet an employer in person.
- Double proof that cover letter and review your resume. Before applying for a position, whether it’s an internship or for employment, make sure (and then make sure again) your cover letter and resume are good to go. After all, you aspire to be a communications professional. You wouldn’t want grammar mistakes or funky formatting on these documents, would you?
When interviewing …
- Make it known that you’ve done your research. Throughout conversation, bring up company highlights that inspired you to apply or that assure you the company would be a pleasure to work for.
- Be passionate. Show your enthusiasm for the position and what you do through your communication. You’re not just trying to get a job. You’re trying to reach a career goal and work with a company that you truly believe you can make contributions to.
- Have questions prepared to ask a prospective employer. When an interviewee has a few strong questions ready to ask about the position or the agency, they are more likely to leave a memorable impression.
After you land your first PR position …
- Establish positive relationships with media contacts whom you’ll be working with and to whom you’ll be pitching news stories. Come off as a true PR pro. Communicate well and efficiently.
- Be mindful of journalists’ time – they are on tight deadlines. The more considerate you are of their time, the more they will respect you and appreciate your added insight on stories you pitch them. Prepare releases, media alerts, etc. in time to get on their schedules.
- Remember the ‘confidentiality’ rule. Before you go talking to family and friends about the clients you work with, make sure you’re not breaking any promises to remain confidential. The information you know may be private and need to be kept under wraps. Avoid both client raving and venting to play it safe, if you’re not sure how ‘confidential’ a client really is.